An Overview of the Education System of Malaysia

Education in Malaysia is overseen by the Ministry of Education which falls under the Federal Government of Malaysia. The school system is broken down into four categories – the pre-school, primary, secondary and post-secondary. As valid for most countries, education up to the post-secondary level is free in public schools. In this blog, we look at the various aspects of the school system in Malaysia to give you a general overview:


The Educational Philosophy of Malaysia is as follows:

Instruction in Malaysia is a continuous exertion towards further fostering the capability of people in a comprehensive and incorporated way, to create people who are mentally, profoundly, sincerely, and actually, adjusted and amicably, in light of firm confidence in and commitment to God. Such an exertion is intended to deliver Malaysian residents who are educated and capable, who have high good principles, and who are mindful and fit for accomplishing an undeniable degree of individual prosperity to add to the advancement of the country, family, and society. 

Types of Schools is available in Malaysia 

  • Public Schools – which follow the Malaysian National Curriculum
  • Private Schools – which follow the Malaysian National Curriculum
  • Chinese Independent Schools – They follow the Unified Examination Certificate pattern for testing; they also follow the Malayan pattern of education since the Malaysian Government does not recognize the UEC.
  • International Schools – The international schools offer international curriculum options such as Cambridge (CLSP and IGCSE) and CBSE. Such schools are further divided into the following categories.
  • Original Expatriate Schools – An original expatriate school is where the curriculum, the teaching staff, and the students, all belong to the same nationality.
  • International Group Schools – Except for belonging to a country, these schools work under the same management. They are almost like a chain of schools, with a presence in multiple countries.


Broadly International Schools – These broadly international schools accept students belonging to all nationalities. The management might or might not belong to one country structure of the Schools.


Level/Grade Typical age
Pre-school playgroup 3–4
Kindergarten 4–6
Primary school
Year 1 6–7
Year 2 7–8
Year 3 8–9
Year 4 9–10
Year 5 10–11
Year 6 11–12
Secondary school
Form 1 12–13
Form 2 13–14
Form 3 14–15
Form 4 15–16
Form 5 16–17
Pre-university (Sixth form college or selected secondary schools)
Lower Form 6 17–18
Upper Form 6 18–19
Post-secondary education
Tertiary education (College, Polytechnic or University) Ages vary


How to Enroll my Child in a School in Malaysia? 

Typically, the registration period for the upcoming school year begins in March of the previous year.

Some documents you may need to enroll your child in one of the CBSE schools in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia include:


  • Birth Certificate
  • Copy of Birth Certificate
  • Copies of siblings’ Birth Certificates (if attending the same school)
  • Mail or a bill to confirm the parent’s address
  • A copy of the parent or guardian’s ID
  • For any child born outside of Malaysia, you’ll also need school transcripts, a copy of the parents’ visa(s) and work permits, and vaccination records.


It is best if you choose one of these broadly international schools if you want your child to have a multi-cultural and diverse academic experience.