The Types Of Education Institutions

By Cindy Png

30 Apr, 2021

The Types Of Education Institutions: What You Need To Know When Considering Malaysia As Your Study Abroad Destination

Public institutions are government-funded higher education institutions under the purview of the Ministry of Higher Education. They can generally be divided into three major categories as follows:

  • Public universities offer undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, and sometimes pre- university foundation year and diploma courses. They can be divided into 3 major groups i.e. Research Universities, Focused Universities and Comprehensive Universities. There are currently 20 such institutions.
  • Polytechnics and community colleges which offer programmes at certificate and diploma
  • Public colleges which offer certificate and diploma level programmes


There are currently 41 private universities you can choose from that offer programmes at every level of studies, comparable to their public counterparts. Compared to university colleges and colleges, universities often have bigger campus and student facilities, conduct extensive postgraduate research programmes, and award degrees in their own names.

Compared to universities, university colleges usually have smaller-sized campuses and lower student numbers. Private university colleges usually run programmes at all levels, although they usually have fewer faculties and have a stronger focus on undergraduate programmes compared to postgraduate ones. Students who choose to costs, you will still get the same qualification as those studying at the home campus abroad.

Accredited skills training centres are institutions registered under the Department of Skills Development that run training courses to equip students with specialised technical and vocational skills. Accredited by the Malaysian government, such courses provide pathways that enable students to gain internationally-recognised qualifications such as by City and Guilds (UK), Confederation of Tourism, Hotel and Catering Management (UK), LCCI (UK), TAFE (Australia), and other international and professional bodies.

Education institutions that fall under this category primarily offer language courses, although some of them also offer computer literacy training and other skills training.

Get the best of international education in Malaysia by enrolling at the Malaysian branch campus of a foreign university! Malaysia took a step forward in internationalisation of higher education by opening its doors for reputable foreign universities to set up their branch in Malaysia. Currently there are 10 foreign branch campuses that originate from Australia, United Kingdom, Ireland and China. These universities – some of which are in the top 100 of QS World University Rankings – offer programmes identical in structure and content to those at their home campuses. Enrolling at a foreign branch campus in Malaysia is good value for money where despite saving up to 40% on tuition fees and living costs, you will still get the same qualification as those studying at the home campus abroad.

Colleges in Malaysia are usually privately-owned institutions that do not have their own degree-awarding power. Even so, they are usually allowed to award qualifications from other institutions, including via twinning programmes with reputable foreign universities from the UK, Australia and USA. Some colleges also offer qualifications from professional bodies such as CLP, ACCA, ICAEW, CAT, and GCE A-Levels. Whilst the campus size and student numbers might be smaller, colleges usually come with excellent facilities comparable to that of universities and university colleges. Just like universities, colleges can only offer programmes accredited by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency.

When deciding the merit of each institution, you may want to look into its SETARA and MyQUEST ratings. Each rating employs a comprehensive and rigorous methodology to assess an education institution’s core functions or quality criteria. Compared to international rankings which are more outward-looking, SETARA and MyQUEST ratings do not provide ranking but rather detailed quality assessment following visits and in-depth inspections by auditors.

Known as the MQA, it is a statutory body established under the Malaysian Qualifications Act 2007 to accredit academic programmes offered by all higher educational institutions, which is compulsory. This provides another level of comfort of the quality of a course, especially in terms of its content and teaching materials, delivery mechanism and teaching staff experience.

With more than 30 years of experience in international education, Malaysia’s unique, well- structured higher education system offers you the opportunity to pursue an international qualification at competitive rates. Malaysia hosts more than 100 institutions – both public and private – including foreign branches of reputable universities from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, China and Ireland. The latter are offered either at their own overseas branch campus or in partnership with a Malaysian institution. You can choose US, UK, Irish, Chinese, Australian or Malaysian academic qualifications designed with flexibility and affordability in mind. obtain a degree awarded by a reputable foreign university usually have the flexibility to spend their time either fully in Malaysia or spend a year abroad at the awarding university’s home campus.


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