Education in Malaysia is overseen by two government ministries: the Ministry of Education for matters up to the secondary level, and the Ministry of Higher Education for tertiary education. Although education is the responsibility of the federal government, each state has an Education Department to help coordinate educational matters in their respective states. The main legislation governing education is the Education Act of 1996. Education may be obtained from government-sponsored schools, private schools, or through homeschooling. By law, primary education is compulsory. As in other Asian countries such as Singapore and China, standardized tests are a common feature. Firstly, we must know about the history of education in malaysia. Sekolah Pondok (literally, Hut school), Madrasah and other Islamic schools were the earliest forms of schooling available in Malaysia . Early works of Malay literature such as Hikayat Abdullah mention these schools indicating they pre-date the current secular model of education. Secular schools in Malaysia were largely an innovation of the British colonial government. Many of the earliest schools in Malaysia were founded in the Straits Settlements of Penang, Melaka, and Singapore. The oldest English-language school in Malaya is the Penang Free School, founded in 1816, followed by Malacca High School, and Anglo Chinese School, Klang. Many English-language schools are considered quite prestigious. British historian Richard O. Winstedt worked to improve the education of the Malays and was instrumental in establishing Sultan Idris Training College. The college was established with the purpose of producing Malay teachers. R J Wilkinson helped established the Malay College Kuala Kangsar in 1905 which aimed to educate the Malay elite. Initially, the British colonial government did not provide for any Malay-language secondary schools, forcing those who had studied in Malay during primary school to adjust to an English-language education. Many Malays failed to pursue additional education due to this issue. Despite complaints about this policy, the British Director of Education stated: “
| It would be contrary to the considered policy of government to afford to a community, the great majority of whose members find congenial livelihood and independence in agricultural pursuits, more extended facilities for the learning of English which would be likely to have the effect of inducing them to abandon those pursuits.
representatives in the Federal Council as well as the Legislative Council of Singapore responded vehemently, with one calling the British policy "a policy that trains the Malay boy how not to get employment" by excluding the Malays from learning in the "bread-earning language of Malaya". He remarked: “
| In the fewest possible words, the Malay boy is told 'You have been trained to remain at the bottom, and there you must always remain!' Why, I ask, waste so much money to attain this end when without any vernacular school, and without any special effort, the Malay boy could himself accomplish this feat?
| To remedy this problem, the British established the Malay College Kuala Kangsar. However, it was mainly intended as a way to educate low-level civil servants, and not as a means to opening the doors of commerce to the Malays — the school was never intended to prepare students for entrance to higher institutions of education. Missionaries of various Christian denominations, such as the Roman Catholic Josephian order and the Lasallian Brothers, Seventh-day Adventist, Anglican as well as Methodist also started a series of mission schools which provided primary and secondary education in the English language. Most of these were single-sex schools. Although nowadays they had fully assimilated into the Malay-medium national school system and most admit students regardless of gender and background (some single-sex schools remain), many of the schools still bear...
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