The National Education System & the Classification of Educational Institutions

Statutory Regulation of Private Education

All private educational institutions are required to register under the Act and observe all its provisions and the provisions of all regulations issued under the Act. (s. 79)

The Act does not attempt to regulate or control the type of education that may be offered in private institutions except in three situations. First, private institutions teaching primary and secondary or any one level are required to comply the National Curriculum and prepare pupils for the examinations prescribed by the Act. Secondly, private institutions offering post-secondary education may be required by the Minister to teach the following subjects in addition to any subjects or courses of study offered by the institution:

  1. the national language, where the medium of instruction is other than the national language;
  2. Malaysian studies;
  3. the English language, where the medium of instruction is other than the English language;
  4. studies relating to Islamic education for pupils professing the Islamic religion; and
  5. moral education for pupils not professing the Islamic religion,

based on the prescribed curriculum (s.75).

Finally, under s. 77, private institutions must obtain the approval of the Minister in writing before conducting any course of study or training programme jointly, in association, affiliation or collaboration or otherwise, with a university or institution of higher education or other educational institution or organization within or outside Malaysia.

Section 77 touching as it does on courses being offered in affiliation with ‘ a university or institution of higher education’ raises an interesting question about whether a private educational institution established under the provisions of EA1996 may conduct higher educational courses, but it would appear that section 71 weighs against such an interpretation. Section 71 expressly prohibits the formation of a private higher educational institution except in accordance with any written law on higher education.

Apart from the above restrictions, it would seem that private institutions established under the Education Act 1996 are free to conduct training and education in any field they chose to do so. The Education (Registration of Educational Institutions) Regulations 1997 [P.U. (A) 534/1997] envisages private institutions being established for primary or secondary education or providing both levels of education, tuition centres and skills centres covering commercial, vocational, technical language or other skills. Institutions may be full time, part-time or delivering on a distance education mode.