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Part II: Analytic Section


6.1 Profound changes in policies and approaches have been the result of continuous efforts aimed at guaranteeing the high quality of EFA in particular and the education system in general. This is also to fulfil national needs and to establish Malaysia as a centre of educational excellence. This section attempts to unveil the progress that has taken place in the strive for EFA in Malaysia over the decade based on analysis of data provided in the templates on indicators 1 through 18 attached.

6.2 Data on primary and secondary education utilised for the purpose of reporting EFA Year 2000 Assessment have been derived mainly from the database maintained in the Educational Management Information System (EMIS) established at the MOE. The EMIS managed by the Educational Planning and Research Division (EPRD) maintains data on school-age population, enrolments, schools and teachers in the public schools. Data on student achievement is from the MES of the MOE.

6.3 Data on ECD is derived mainly from the ministries and agencies concerned with ECD programmes. Data on private education is derived from the Private Education Department (PED) of the MOE.

Childcare Centres And Pre-schools

6.4 As stated earlier in paragraph 1.1, there are two types of institutions that cater to ECD, i.e. the childcare centres which enrols children below four years old and the pre-school which admits children between the ages of 4+ through 5+. However, for the purpose of this exercise, data drawn on enrolment into ECD programmes is only confined to the pre-school programmes available for 4+ and 5+ year old in the country. This is observed in the template on indicator 1 attached and presented in Figure 6.1a and Figure 6.1b. However, progress in ECD programmes for children below 4 years old can be concluded from Table 6.1a.

6.5 Table 6.1a shows the increasing trend in participation of children and number of childcare centres registered with the various public agencies between 1990 and 1998. The high level of participation into childcare centres as observed over the period between 1990 through 1998, is attributed to the increasing awareness among parents towards the importance of acquiring early childhood development. As more parents become increasingly affluent, the need to equip their children with skills to cope with the future also increases. This demand triggers off the overwhelming establishment of childcare centres

Table 6.1a Public Childcare Centres (1990 – 1998)



Number of Registered Centres

Enrolment of Children Below

4 Years Old





























Source: Legal and Advocacy Division, Ministry of Rural Development

6.6 The ECD programmes for 4+ through 5+ year old children of pre-schools can be observed in Table 6.1b. The largest proportion of pre-school centres is through the Community Development Division (KEMAS) of the Ministry of National Unity and Social Development (61.8 per cent) and the MOE (10.3 per cent). The private sector provides 18.4 per cent of the demand.

Table 6.1b Operators of Pre-school in 1995



Nat. Unity Dept.

Private Sector


10.3 %

61.8 %

9.5 %

18.4 %

100 %

Source: Country Report For Third East Asia And Pacific Ministerial Consultation On The Goals For Children And Development To The Year 2000 - Ministry of National Unity And Social Development, Malaysia

Source: Educational Management Information System, MOE

    1. Figure 6.1a provides a comprehensive picture towards the level of participation in pre-school programmes from 1991 through 1997 conducted by government agencies. The fluctuating trend observed over the seven-year period can be explained as follows.
    2. From 1991 through 1994, data collected from the various agencies conducting such programmes was unstable. A more efficient system of data collection applied resulted to a more stable data observed from 1995. In 1995, there was a steady increase in the gross enrolment ratio (GER). It is important to point out that percentage of enrolment in pre-school programmes as displayed in Figure 6.1a has been derived from enrolment in pre-school centres registered with the various public agencies only. It shows clearly the progress that has been made since 1991 towards achieving the goal of providing basic education for all children. The steady increase in GER trend sustained, Malaysia is expected to achieve a 100 per cent GER in two or three years time.
    3. An issue that UNESCO gives particular attention to EFA programmes is gender participation. In Malaysia it should be noted that gender is no longer an issue where admission to any educational development programme is concerned, ECD programme being one.
    4. Figure 6.1b details the level of participation in pre-school programme in Malaysia by gender. The figure shows that enrolment in pre-school programme is high among females from 1991 through 1997. There is no gender discrimination in terms of admission into such programme as in other educational development programmes provided by the MOE.
    5. Interestingly though, the figure indicates admission of females into pre-school programmes surpasses slightly that of males. However, the difference in percentage between both gender is minimal. This trend presumably can be traced to the incomplete set of data to encompass the whole scenario of pre-school programme.
    6. Source: Educational Management Information System, MOE

      Head Start in Primary Education

    7. At present there is no absolute data to indicate the percentage of new entrants to primary grade 1 who have attended some form of organised early childhood development programme as required by EFA Year 2000 Assessment. Presented in Figure 6.2a and Figure 6.2b and the attached template for indicator 2 is readily available data on pre-schools that was compiled between 1992 through 1998. Data from the - 'National Survey on Primary One Students Who Have Experienced Pre-school Education' conducted in 1997 by the EPRD of the MOE is also presented in support of the analysis of reporting indicator 2.
    8. Enrolment of new entrants into grade 1 with some form of ECD is derived from the number of children between the ages of 4+ and 5+ that were enrolled in pre-schools between 1992 through 1998. As such, it is not unusual that analysis of new entrants into grade 1 with some form of ECD at the state level sometimes show more than 100 per cent of new entrants to grade 1. The situation could also arise from the mobility of families migrating from one province (state) to another.

6.14 Observed in the Figure 6.2a is a high percentage of new entrants to grade 1 who have attended some form of organised early childhood development programme during at least one year (or one enrolment period). Percentage of new entrants with ECD experience have been at 80 per cent and above for the period between 1992 through 1998. A 'National Survey on Primary One Student Who Have Experienced Pre-school Education' conducted by the of the MOE in 1997 also shows that a high percentage (87.7 per cent) of the students have attended some form of early childhood education.

6.15 There is no significant difference in gender with regards to new entrants to grade 1. It is to be emphasised that there is no gender discrimination in providing opportunities for education. The breakdown by gender is observed in Figure 6.2b

Source: Educational Management Information System, MOE

6.16 The high percentage of new entrants to grade 1 with some form of organised learning activities is a testimony to the fact that parents are increasingly aware of the importance of early exposure towards education in the formative years of their children. It is widely recognised that any form of organised programme to prepare young children for formal education is a positive start in their future development. An impact study conducted by the MOE with the co-operation of UNICEF in 1997 supports this. The study revealed that primary school students who attended pre-school do perform better than their peers although these gains may not sustain in some cases.

Source: Educational Management Information System, MOE

Access to Primary Education

6.17 Figure 6.2c and Figure 6.2d represent indicators 3 and 4 that aim to show the extent of access to education at the primary school level. Data taken into account for these indicators was between 1991 through 1997 covering only the total number of new entrants in grade 1 in public schools. Data for private schools though available could not be utilised for this exercise since the data does not provide specific information as required under EFA Year 2000 Assessment. Even though private education has begun to flourish in the early 90s, a more comprehensive data collection for private education only began with the setting up of the PED in 1996. The involvement of private sectors at the primary education level is rather minimal. The establishment of private schools is more concentrated at pre-school, secondary and post secondary education.

6.18 In the case of Malaysia, admission age to the first year of primary education as stated earlier in paragraph 1.2, is 6+. Schools do not admit children who are below 6 years of age or those above 6+ as new entrants to grade 1. This explains the same percentage observed in apparent intake rate and net intake rate in primary education in the country as seen in Figure 6.2c.

Source: Educational Management Information System, MOE

6.19 At the national level, the period between 1991 and 1997 saw intake rates at around 90 per cent. The high intake rate as presented in Figure 6.2c, reflects the capacity of the education system to provide access to primary education. There was full intake rate (more than 100 per cent) into the public schools in 1995. A factor contributing to this phenomenon may be the result of the MOE's policy of providing education for all, citizens or non-citizens. In the early 1990s the flourishing economic climate in the country saw an influx of immigrants from neighbouring countries in search of employment and better living conditions. As a result, the MOE has to fulfil its obligation to provide basic education to children of these immigrants as well even if it gives rise to other implications. Another factor to account for this is that population figures that has been provided are projected figures based on the General Census carried out in 1991. Population figures have been rounded up to the nearest 1000 to facilitate calculation.

6.20 Table 6.1c that follows shows enrolment of children of non-citizens in primary schools at the national level in an attempt to illustrate the government's commitment in providing education for all.

Table 6.1c Enrolment of Foreign Students in Primary Schools (1995 - 1999)













Source: Educational Statistics EPRD

6.21 There is no significant difference between intake rates for male and female students. As emphasised earlier, there is no evidence of gender disparity in the intake of students in primary schools as observed in Figure 6.2d. This clearly demonstrates the country’s emphasis on equal access to education.

Source: Educational Management Information System, MOE

Enrolment Ratio in Primary Education

6.22 Data collected for the purpose of showing Malaysia's gross and net enrolment ratios in primary education were collected over the periods between 1991 through 1998. Data taken into account for indicators 5 and 6 will show that GER Ratio is also representative of net enrolment ratio (NER) because in Malaysia there is no incidence of under-aged or over-aged enrolment. For indicators 5 and 6, total enrolment (for all ages) was only available for public education as in indicators 3 and 4.

* Gross and Net Enrolment Ratio of Total Enrolment as against the Official Age Population

** Gross and Net Enrolment Ratio of Total Enrolment (Male) as against the Official Age Population (male)

*** Gross and Net Enrolment Ratio of Total Enrolment (Female) as against the Official Age Population (Female)

Source: Educational Management Information System, MOE

6.23 Figure 6.2e reveals a steadily increasing enrolment ratio from 1991 through 1995 with percentages recorded at around 93 per cent in 1991, around 94 per cent in 1992, 95 per cent in 1994 and peaking at over 96 per cent in 1995. A slight decline in percentage was recorded in the next three years that follow, presumably brought about by many factors, among which, is the inclination of parents to register their children in private schools and the recent aggressive policy of deporting foreign workers to their mother country. Nevertheless, both the gross enrolment ratio and net enrolment ratio is a testimony of a high participation rate in primary education in Malaysia.

6.24 Taking into account differences in percentage recorded between gender, Figure 6.2e displays a high level of participation of female students in primary education from 1992 through 1998. Only in 1991 was there a slightly lower rate observed in the female participation rate as compared to their male peers. However this is not a cause for concern as the official age population (between 6+ through 11+ years) recorded in 1991 shows a slightly lower number of females (1,319,700) over males (1,393,800).

6.25 In addition to what is observed from the data presented earlier, it would be worthwhile to also consider the increasing enrolment in primary and secondary schools in 1990 and 1995 and the projected enrolment for 2000 as shown in the Table 6.2a.

Table 6.2a Enrolment in Primary and Secondary Schools (1990 - 2000)

Level Of Education


Annual Rate Of Increase %

(1990 - 1995)

Expected Annual Rate Of Increase % (1995 - 2000)
























Source: Educational Management Information System, MOE/7MP

6.26 The table represents the rate of increase in primary and secondary education. The annual rate of increase of 3.1 per cent and expected rate of increase of 2.5 per cent in enrolments for primary education is explained by the achievement and maintenance of UPE and indicating that universal education was accessible to all. The annual rate of increase of 4.18 per cent and expected rate of increase of 25 per cent in enrolments at the secondary level reflects the successful implementation of the policy of basic education expansion from nine to eleven years.

6.27 Enrolment statistics as has been noted, represent the joint effect of demand and supply, i.e. the demand by parents for schooling for their children and the existence; or supply of schools the children can attend. The government’s concern for EFA and in meeting the demand for education is demonstrated in its commitment to provide new schools and additional classrooms to cater to the increasing enrolment in primary and secondary schools. Table 6.2b shows the number of primary and secondary schools from 1990 through 1999.

Table 6.2b Number of Primary and Secondary Schools (1990 – 1998)


Number Of Schools


































Source: Educational Statistics EPRD

6.28 It is the policy of the MOE to have single session schools. It has been observed that double session schools result in a reduction of instruction time, disruptions of curricular and co-curricular activities and cause hardship to students living far away from schools. It also has detrimental effects on the teaching/learning processes. As of June 1999, a total of 1219 of the 7164 primary and 831 of 1601 secondary are double-session schools. The MOE is stepping up efforts to turn all schools into single-session schools.

Expenditure on Education

6.29 Evident in both the 6MP and 7MP is the thrust placed on increasing accessibility and quality of education and training. Although faced with financial constraints, facilities have been expanded at primary and secondary education levels through cost-cutting measures and prioritising programmes. Disbursement of current operating expenditure may be observed in Table 6.2c.

6.30 The government provides basic educational infrastructure to all public educational institutions. The educational infra-structure includes the provision of physical facilities, teachers, support services and student welfare programmes which, among other things, include scholarships, textbook loan scheme, nutrition and health programme, education media services, educational resource centres, school hostels and special education.

Table 6.2c Indicators 7 and 8

Public Expenditure on Primary Education As per cent Of GNP and Of Total Public Expenditure on Education (All Levels); And Public Current Expenditure on Primary Education Per Student As per cent Of GNP Per Capita Public Current Expenditure on Education (1990 – 2000)


Public Current Exp. On Primary Ed. As per cent Of Total Public Current exp. Education


Public Current Exp. On Primary Ed. As per cent Of GNP


Public Current Exp. On Primary Ed. Per Student As per cent Of GNP Per Capita














































* Forecasted figure

6.31 Malaysia's education development and reforms have been characterised by the government's efforts to adapt education to national development needs. The MOE has been allocated a substantial amount for each financial year. The operating and development allocation for education over the ten-year period (1990-1999) was 18 - 20 per cent of total public expenditure and 5.0 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). The ten-year allocation reflects the commitment of the government towards education. This investment commitment is also based on the strong belief that the quality and efficiency of schools make a difference to educational achievement, and subsequent opportunities for employment and career development of the student.

6.32 Almost the entire primary education programme is financed and administered by the central government through the MOE. The private sector participation in primary education has been very minimal and has remained in pre-school and tuition sessions outside the normal school hours.

6.33 Expenditure on primary schooling in Malaysia is mainly funded through the Federal Government education programme. Over the past ten years the expenditure on primary education has increased by 97 per cent from about RM1.966 billion in 1990 to a projected figure of about RM3.881 billion in the year 2000. Although there has been an absolute increase of over RM2 billion over the period, there is a decreasing trend in the percentage of allocation for primary level education from 40 per cent in 1990 to about 36 per cent in the projections for the year 2000 due to the increasing demand for public expenditure for the secondary and tertiary levels. However, the general pattern of expenditure has remained the same.

6.34 Although there has been a decrease in the percentage of allocation for the primary level of education from 40.6 per cent in 1990 to about 36.5 per cent in the year 2000 due to the increasing demand for public expenditure for the secondary and tertiary levels, the general pattern of expenditure has remained the same. Over the years, almost 90 per cent of the annual funds allocated for primary education were expended on emoluments and staff compensations. The remaining sum was outright grants to schools for utility payments, academic/non-academic activities and the maintenance of school facilities. In addition to these, schools in Malaysia are provided the textbooks loan scheme and a supplementary food project to cater to the poorer students.

    1. The development budget operates on a five-year development plan and roughly one fifth (1/5) of the funds are appropriated annually for projects that are listed in the plan. In the 7MP (1996-2000), allocation for education and training amounts to RM10.1 billion or 15.4 per cent of the total public development allocation. This is an increase by 1.6 per cent from the allocation under the 6MP (1991-1995). Table 6.2d that follow serves to illustrate and compare development allocation for education and training in the 6MP and 7MP.

Table 6.2d Development Allocation for Education and Training (1991-2000)



(1991 – 1995)


(1996 – 2000)

(RM million)



Primary Education


Government & Government-aided Schools

MARA Junior Science Colleges

Technical & Vocational Schools

Tertiary Education

Teacher Education

Other Educational Support Programs


Industrial Training

Commercial Training

Management Training
































Source: Seventh Malaysia Plan 1996-2000

6.36 Of the total allocation for the education sector under the 7MP, 45.6 per cent is allocated for building new schools and additional classrooms for primary and secondary levels and another 35.1 per cent to expand the capacity for tertiary education, particularly at degree level. The remaining portion is allocated for the provision of training facilities and housing for teachers as well as hostels for primary and secondary students. Under the allocation for training programmes, RM1.3 billion or 78.4 per cent is provided for the establishment of new skill training institutes as well as upgrade and expand existing ones. The allocation for skill training which is double that of the previous Plan, is in line with the national training strategy to increase the output of skilled manpower, particularly at the advanced level in new skill areas.

6.37 Disbursement trends for primary and secondary education from 1994 to 1999 may be observed in Figure 6.2f. There is an overall increase in development expenditure for both primary and secondary sectors over the period. Physical development of projects at primary and secondary education have been focussed on new activities for example schools, hostels, teacher training, polytechnics, teacher accommodation and universities. Emphasis has been placed towards improving the quality of these projects to ensure standard quality delivery of teaching and conducive learning.

Source: Finance Division, MOE

Teacher Certification

6.38 Graduates of teacher training colleges with a certificate or diploma or post-diploma in teaching are qualified to teach both in primary or secondary schools. University graduates with a post-graduate diploma in teaching are appointed to serve in the secondary schools only.

6.39 Currently there are two categories of teachers in primary schools, untrained teachers in category one and trained teachers in category two. For the purpose of this exercise, teachers with academic qualifications are those who are appointed to teach but have not undergone any teacher-training programme. They are referred to as untrained teachers. Teachers with academic qualification and who have attended teacher training will be referred to as trained teachers.

6.40 Certification of primary school teachers is through the teacher training centres that are under the responsibility of the TED of the MOE. However, the appointment of untrained teachers is by the State Education Department (SEDs). The SEDs apply a stringent vetting of academic qualifications of untrained teachers to ensure quality of delivery is maintained at all times.

6.41 Untrained teachers who are employed to teach in primary schools belong to 3 categories. The first is teachers who have the academic qualification and have undergone teacher training but are waiting to be commissioned into the teaching profession. The second are those who are employed to fill up temporary vacancies created by teachers on maternity leave or are medically boarded out, and the third, being the group filling up vacancies in the remote areas or hard-to-access areas where trained teachers are not available.

6.42 Data on teacher certification as presented in indicators 9 & 10 attached covers the period between 1991 through 1998. Figure 6.2g shows the fluctuating trend in the percentage of untrained primary school teachers.

* Percentage of Untrained Primary School Teachers against All Untrained Primary School Teachers

** Percentage of Untrained Primary School Teachers (Male) against All Untrained Primary School Teachers (Male)

*** Percentage of Untrained Primary School Teachers (Female) against All Untrained Primary School Teachers (Female)

Source: Educational Management Information System, MOE

6.43 Figure 6.2g also shows that the percentage of untrained primary school teachers in Malaysia is quite minimal. Percentage level is around 30 per cent at the high end decreasing gradually over the years to 5 per cent in 1998. This is because trained teachers or those that are certified to teach are gradually replacing untrained teachers in primary schools. This statement will be attested when a comparison between Figure 6.2g and Figure 6.2h is done.

6.44 Figure 6.2h shows a steady increase in the percentage of trained teachers in primary schools in the country over the period between 1991 through 1998. By 1998, the level has reached almost 100 per cent indicating the high level of commitment undertaken by the MOE to provide quality delivery system at the primary level.

* Percentage of Trained Primary School Teachers Against All Primary School Teachers

** Percentage of Trained Primary School Teachers (Male) Against All Primary School Teachers(Male)

*** Percentage of Trained Primary School Teachers (Female) Against All Primary School Teachers (Female)

Source: Educational Management Information System, MOE

6.45 Observed from figure 6.2h is the high percentage of female teachers as against their male counterparts. This trend apparently exists in most countries around the world. Nevertheless, the MOE is stepping up efforts to make the teaching profession more attractive to encourage more male candidates to take up teaching as a career.

6.46 Figure 6.2i shows percentage of untrained teachers as opposed to trained teachers across provinces (states) in Malaysia in 1998. Sabah recorded the highest number of untrained teachers that is around 20 per cent followed by Kelantan, which recorded between 5 to 10 per cent of untrained teachers. These two states are vast and as such a large number of schools are located in hard-to-reach areas and unpopular places. Nevertheless, efforts are underway in getting more trained teachers to serve in these two states such as providing teachers with staff-quarters.

Source: Educational Management Information System, MOE

6.47 Wilayah Persekutuan follows next in having recorded slightly more than 5 per cent of primary teachers who are untrained. This situation is quite similar to Kelantan except that Wilayah Persekutuan, which is the capital city of Malaysia, is noted for its high cost of living. This accounts for it being unpopular postings among new graduates from teacher training colleges and universities. A sharp contrast to this situation is observed in Figure 6.2j.

Source: Educational Management Information System, MOE

6.48 The number of trained teachers rose steadily from 1994 with an overall percentage of 88.4 through 94.9 in 1998. This is due to awareness of the need for a qualified teaching workforce if the country's aim of a world-class education is to be realised. The serious effort of the MOE in providing quality in the delivery system at the primary level is evident from Figure 6.2h with the percentage of trained teachers stable at 80 per cent and above.

6.49 An issue to contend with in the teaching profession is gender disparity. The imbalance in the ratio of male to female teachers in Malaysia is brought about by a relatively lower number of males interested to take up teaching as a career. The disparity is evident in teacher trainee intakes for courses such as Chinese and Tamil Languages where the number of male applicants to female is remarkably low.

6.50 To address this imbalance, the TED is conducting a promotion drive to attract more male applicants into the service. This programme will include explaining the broad self-development opportunities available in the teaching profession.

Student-Teacher Ratio

6.51 The implementation of the 6MP and 7MP saw efforts undertaken by the government to improve and expand basic facilities necessary for quality delivery of education. Among the objectives of this strategy is to improve on the student-teacher ratio.

6.52 Figure 6.2k presents student-teacher ratio in public primary schools in Malaysia. At the national level, efforts have been undertaken to maintain the ratio at 21:1. In 1998, there was a slight dip with a level recorded at 19.

6.53 However, this ratio may not be representative of the real situation throughout the classrooms in the country today. There still exist schools, which are under-enrolled small schools and those in bigger towns, which have high concentration of students. As such student-teacher ratios in these two differing conditions vary.

Source: Educational Management Information System, MOE

6.54 The expansion of physical infrastructure carried out with substantial budget allocation under the various 5 year development programmes and the mid-term development programmes has led to an increase in enrolment in primary schools. It is not uncommon to still find class -sizes of over 40 and double session schools in high-density areas such as in the urban areas.

6.55 Policy changes have taken place in that additional posts have been created over and above the norms. The existing norms with regards to class teacher ratio are 1: 1.5. With the additional new posts such as school counsellors, remedial teachers and media teachers, to name a few, student-teacher ratio is improved.

Retention, Attrition and Transition Rate in Primary Education

6.56 It may be observed from the template attached as indicator 12 that repetition rates are zero (0). This is brought about by the fact that Malaysia practices the policy of automatic promotion at the primary level of schooling.

6.57 The template on indicator 13 reflects the percentage of a student cohort actually reaching grade six in the primary school level. The analysis of data for cohorts 1989 through 1993 on the indicator is represented in Figures 6.2l. The figure shows a high percentage in retention rate at the primary education level.

6.58 A factor to account for the high retention rate is the provision of free primary education for children between the ages of 6+ through 11+ years. Under the programme, access to and equal opportunity for free education is provided to every child, regardless of gender and locality. In addition, the MOE has extended support services such as scholarships, textbook loan scheme, boarding facilities, and supplementary milk and meal programmes for underprivileged students.

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