The Regulatory Formula of the Act
The primary regulatory approach is to prohibit the running of any educational institution that is not registered under the Act or any other written law. The Registrar General is given wide powers under s. 102 of the Act to close down any educational institution that is not registered under the Act or any other written law. Under s. 2 of the Act, a very wide meaning is given to the term ‘educational institution’ - as “a school or any other place where, in the carrying on of the work of an organization or institution, persons are habitually taught, whether in one or more classes and includes a kindergarten and a distance education centre but does not include—
- any place where the teaching is confined exclusively to the teaching of any religion; or
- any place declared by the Minister by notification in the Gazette not to be an educational institution for the purposes of this Act.
A “school” means a place where ten or more persons are habitually taught whether in one or more classes, but does not include any place where the teaching is confined exclusively to the teaching of any religion.
Not all educational institutions that are established in the country fall within the purview of the two ministries. One important area that falls outside the scope of the two ministries is skills training which is regulated through the National Skills Development Act 2006. Educational institutions such as the Akademi Seni Budaya dan Warisan Kebangsaan (National Academy of Arts, Culture and Heritage) and the Cooperative College, which are creatures of special acts of parliament, are not regulated by either the of the two ministries of education but the ministry for the time being responsible for the special area of education. Another category of educational institutions that do not fall within the purview of the Ministry of Education are colleges and educational institutions serving the needs of specific ministries or departments such as the police (Royal Malaysia Police College of Kuala Lumpur) and customs (Akademi Kastam Di Raja).
The three legislation that defines the scope of the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Higher Education are;
- The Education Act 1996;
- The Universities and University Colleges Act 1971
- The Private Higher Educational Institutions Act 1996
The regulatory arm of the Education Act 1996 extends also to teachers and pupils as well as to those responsible for the governing of the educational institutions. Schools, governors, employees of schools, teachers and pupils are all required to register under the Act.