Malaysian education which is also known as the pre-school

Malaysian Government is responsible to the education system
in Malaysia and it is dedicated to provide a fine education and rights to be
educated to all the Malaysians. Educations beginning from pre-school to
university are encompassed in Malaysian education system. Pre-tertiary
education which is also known as the pre-school to secondary education is under
the Ministry of Education (MOE). While the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE)
is managing the tertiary or higher education. Parents should consider about
what they stress on their children’s education before choosing whether to
register their children in a public school or a religious school because both
of these schools have their respective advantages and disadvantages. In our
context, we will be discussing education system after world war II, post
independent education system, current education system, relationship between
the educational policy and religion, comparison of education system between
Malaysia and Finland, advantages of public education and religious education, disadvantages
of public education and religious education.

Public schools do not teach the students on the religious
instructions in details. They can only teach the students about their religions
externally instead of the way of conducting and practising. However, the
government is not antagonistic or opposed to any form of religion. The
government do not prohibit religious expressions but the public schools are not
allowed to influence any person on any religion directly. In the form of
purposes, the benefit of the state and the society is of the aim of the
traditional public school system. The students are being taught to be a better
person who can contribute to the society.

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In contrast, the religious educational
system is just contradicted to the public education system. The religious
education is carried out to insert the deep-rooted religious teaching among
their students. While in public education, it is more to certain extent of traditional
public school system. Both religious education and public education system may
vary as to purpose, content and control. Religious education teaches their
student primarily on their respective religions like Christianity teaches for
the benefit of God, Islamic educates the forgiveness of Allah. The religious
schools believe that a good man must be nurtured according to their religions.

Education System after
World War II

The government during the British Colonialism realized that
there is a need to establish an efficient school system that would ensure a
quality education for all citizen in the country regardless of races, religion
and background. In fact, it was established to satisfy the interest of British
but not for the nation. In 1950, Barnes Report recommended to preserve and give
the priority to all Malay and English school while vernacular school should be
closed and replaced by the National School. However, the Chinese and the Indian
were not satisfied with the recommendation and insisted that their education
system should be emphasized too. Hence, to revise the Chinese community’s
education problem, Fenn-Wuu Committee was established. The recommendation
of the committee is that there should be integration of languages in the school
system by using the multi-racial languages as a medium of instruction at the same
time and all the school books should apply those languages. Such proposal was
rejected by the government and the Barnes proposal was carry out in the 1952
Education Ordinance amongst the Chinese protests.

Education System: Post

After the British colonialism era, several groups of
educated Malay reconstructed the old education system. The new national
education was to make the nation have its own identity. This movement had prioritized
the issue of education in the perspective of nation-building. Therefore,
a special committee had been set up the government and led by Tun Abdul
Razak. This special committee was to create a national education system
that would advocate the development of social, economic, cultural and political
which would be accepted by all the nation, besides informing that the Malay
language as the national language. Later, the component of the Razak’s Report
1956 had become the basis element to create the Education Ordinance 1957.

To faster the national integration, the Rahman Talib’s
Report was the first step to create the Education Act 1961 by reviewing
the policy of education in 1960. Because of this act, the national language had
become a subject that is compulsory in the schools and training centres. This
enforcement will ensure the Malay language been fully used in the society. The
act also stated that Islamic Education is provided if there are more than 15
Muslim Pupils.

Education System: Current
Education System

In 1979, Dr. Mahathir as the chairmen of the Special
Cabinet was finalized a report after a 6-year investigate. Upon providing
experienced and skilled manpower for the country’s development, this report is
to unite a multi-racial community and to ensure the balance of education in all
perspectives between the rural and urban areas. In 1995 and 1996, to
encounter the challenges in the future, the government amended the Education
Act and thus the pre-school education has started to play a vital role in the
formal system of education. Besides, there is a rule for this education which
is children in the age of five and six are necessary to get the pre-school
education. Additionally, to develop knowledge and skill of the country’s citizen,
they have come out with the new school education curriculums.

Relationship between the
educational policy and religion

First and foremost, the schools have made
Friday mornings compulsory Quran reciting days. It lasts for 30 minutes.
Non-Muslims have been placed to different rooms for moral classes which turn
out to be chit chat time and rushing to finish homework time. Besides, the
schools have made Friday classes end early and especially for the Kedah state,
they have made Friday, Muslims prayer day, as a weekend holiday.

Besides, the religious
subjects are compulsory in Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination. For
instance, Pendidikan Islam and Pendidikan Moral is necessary for students to
take in examination. The students are not allowed to drop or fail these
subjects or they will not get the certificate of the examination. Simultaneously,
the special events during Islamic festivals such as Ramadan, Maulidurrasul, and
Awal Muharram should be organized on the weekend so that the students will not
miss their regular classes.

Furthermore, there is a rule in
physical education and health class in Malaysia. Because of the Islamic
religion, the students have to be separated by gender during classes. The
reason for the gender segregation of girls and boy during the class is to avoid
any physical contact between boys and girls. In
addition, because of multi-religion in our country, there are also presence of the
religion schools. For instance, there are Christian schools. Their purpose,
content, and control of education are different from the public schools.

There are also times when the Muslim
students are compulsory to go for the prayer. It is usually at afternoon which
is the Asr prayer. Based on the school’s rules, the prayer’s break lasts for 10
minutes. However, it usually takes more than that. Hence, the teachers would
not start teaching once the Muslim students are not in the class and meanwhile,
the non-Muslim students cannot continue with their lessons. As a result, the
students both Muslims and non-Muslims will miss out their lessons and are
expected to catch up on their own.

Apart from that, there are special rules
for Muslims and non-Muslims during Ramadan. For an instance, it is compulsory
for Muslim students to participate in Quran recitation sessions at the mosque
during school hours. In addition to that, every now and then, there are also
additional fardu ain sessions for them. Besides, during Ramadan month, the
national schools’ canteens are closed as the Muslim food vendors are fasting
and thus non-Muslim students are required to prepare the meal themselves.

Comparison of Education
System between Malaysia and Finland

Finland is well-known for without banding systems — all students,
regardless of ability, will be taught in the same classes. Consequently, the
gap between the strongest and weakest pupils is the smallest in the world. Educational
philosophy in Malaysia is “results-oriented” but in Finland, they “create a
school system based on equality”. Basically, there will be division system for
the classes in primary and secondary school based on the student’s academic

The education governing authority in Malaysia is Ministry of
Education of Malaysia. Special Education Department manages Special Education
Schools. Sports Division is the management for Sports Schools. In Finland, the
Ministry of Education and Culture, Regional State Administrative Agencies, and
Centres for Economic Development oversee education. Similarly, schools in Malaysia and Finland are managed by the
principals, teachers, and staffs.

Besides, it is not compulsory for the children in Malaysia
to start their education early as at 4 years old in the pre-schools. In
Finland, , all children, includes the eight-months baby can access to free, kindergarten
and full-day day care. Pre-primary education which starts from 6 to 7 years old
is compulsory. The child who reaches 7 years old can start his primary education.  Primary education is compulsory for all
Malaysian children but parents are allowed to apply for conditional exemptions
from the education ministry. Government has provided free education for 6 years
at primary school and 5 years at secondary school. From the age of 7 to 16, all
Finland students must attend a nine-year comprehensive school from 1st to
9th grade. Home schooling is allowed but rare. The education textbooks and
other materials are free. Moreover, pupils also get a free school meal

In Malaysia, there are monthly tests and some mandatory
exams for the students to sit for. Before graduating from the primary schools,
the students have to sit for Ujian Pencapain Sekolah Rendah (UPSR). Other than
that, Form 3 students are required to sit for Pentaksiran Tingkatan 3 (PT3) as
a standardized test for them to choose streams in Form 4. Students are
compulsory to sit for the public common examination, Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia
(SPM) at the end of the secondary education. There are no mandated standardized
tests along the study life in Finland, apart from Matriculation Exam. Among
students, schools or regions, there is no rankings and no competitions.

In Malaysia, for individuals who have completed both lower
and upper secondary educations, there is post-secondary education. Graduates with
SPM qualifications can choose to acquire a pre-university qualification or
study for a foundation or diploma at higher educational institutions. The
duration of studying in the post-secondary education is normally 1 or 2 years
and it differs according to each pathway. In Finland, the youths can choose for general or vocational upper secondary
education which usually takes three years, before they are eligible for higher

At higher education phase, study opportunities include
undergraduate and postgraduate studies. There are public universities, private
higher educational institutions, polytechnics and community colleges in
Malaysia. These usually take 4 to 5 years according to what course has the
students enrolled. In Finland, there are polytechnics and universities. Both
public and private higher education institutions can be found in Malaysia and

Religions do not affect more on the public
education in Finland as Finland has freedom of religion. Most Finns are
Christians. Only a portion of Muslims belongs to Islamic communities in
Finland. However, in Malaysia, there are 4 types of Islamic education in
Malaysia which are the national schools, the religious national high schools
the state religious schools, and the popular religious schools. Different
schools have different curriculum, financial management, and resources. The
national schools and the religious national high schools are under the
responsibility of education organization. Meanwhile, the state Islamic
organization control the national religious schools. The popular religious
schools are managed by the local community. Their expenditures are paid by the
state institutions and personal charities. Other than that, International
Islamic University Malaysia offers Certificate in the Study of Major Religions
in Malaysia (CSMRM) which include the study of the teachings of Malaysia’s
major living religions, i.e., Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism,
and Chinese Religions.

Advantages of Public Education

Public education is a
forgotten path these days, as many families are indulging other education
options such as home schooling and private schools. However, public schools
still serve a significant role in preparing the next generation of world

The cost of a public
education is affordable. During the tabling of Budget 2012, the Prime Minister
declared that school fees for primary and secondary education in Malaysia will
be removed. Besides, Malaysian students from public school can actually get
textbooks for free every year. This strategy is another channel of aid from the
Government which has been developed, beginning in 2008, to include all
Malaysian residents. Public schools provide access to
an education for every child in a community. This ensures that every student
has the same educational opportunities as other, regardless of their current
personal or financial situation.

Moreover, those who
attend public schools are more likely to be in classrooms with other children
that do not think, act or look exactly like them. In a government school,
your child will blend in and learn the culture of fellow friends – Chinese,
Indians and Malays. The diversity of the student can
be an important learning experience for itself.

Public schools, especially in Malaysia, are conveniently
located for most people. There are 7,743 primary schools and 2,340 secondary
schools in Malaysia. Obviously, this does not burden parents to drive their
kids on a long distance to school.

In Malaysia, public school students have to follow certain
rules such as wearing the only uniform to school, which in a way avoid students
from wearing inappropriate clothes to school. Booklets sometimes are sent to
parents informing them about what is acceptable and what is not.

Advantages of Religious Education

Religious schools may intercept
students from interacting with students from other religions and give a wrong
perspective of the society that we are in, but in a way it helps shape
children’s morals and enhance their academic achievement. Students with high
levels of religious dedication, do better than students with low levels of
religious dedication, and they also have less capability to cheat on a test
compared to children from public schools. ‘Kids with religious parents are
better behaved and adjusted than other children, according to a new study that
is the first to look at the effects of religion on young child development.’
(Wenner, 2007).

For people taking religious education,
having a polished conscience is way more important than having a good life, and
they tend to do admirable deeds that will make them end up in heaven as against
to hell. Religious children will be impacted by their environment to be a good
and kind citizen. Using religious grounds to constrict children’s behaviour
will enable them to master in caring for others, and they will grow up to be
sensible citizens who will do their best for the society.

Religious Education makes an exclusive advantage to the
school curriculum by maturing pupils’ knowledge and understanding of religion,
religious beliefs, practices, language and traditions and their ascendancy on
individuals, communities, humanity and cultures. It empower students to
contemplate and acknowledge to a range of important questions linked to their
own spiritual evolution, the development of values and attitudes and primary
questions concerning the sense and objective of life. This contributes to their
progressing knowledge, understanding, ability and attitude, which are necessary
for their personal fulfillment and development as active and superintend

Disadvantages of Public
Education and Religious Education     

Both of the religious education
institutions and public education institutions have their respective pros and
cons. For a student to choose to be in a religious school or a public school is
just depending on what their parents stress on. The method of teaching in
religious schools and public schools may differ from how important the school
emphasizes on religion. However, the main purposes of both of these education
systems are normally the same which is to provide a standard method of
educating to their students and to teach them to be a better person.

Disadvantages of Public

Students in religious schools with
higher levels of religious education will do better than those students in
public schools. For an instance, those students studying in religious schools
will have more resistance to cheat in an examination compared to the students
from public schools. This is because a deep religious belief has already
deep-rooted in their mind and they will control themselves to do anything
against their religions. Furthermore, religious students will be easily
influenced by their environment to be a kind and caring citizen which they will
more sympathy about the underprivileged and be more humble to the elders. By
using religious teachings, the students will be more exposed to the learnings
to care about others when doing anything. Unlike students in public schools,
they tend be more selfish and work for their own benefits only.

Disadvantages of
Religious Education

In contrast, some think that studying in religious schools will
prevent students from interacting and communicating properly with students from
other religions. Because of the students in religious schools are less exposed
to other religious beliefs and the people surrounding them are just same
religion holders with them. So, they will have no idea what are other
religions’ cultural backgrounds and how to respect and deal with them.
Furthermore, the duration used for prayers or religious studies in religious
schools is way too much because the students can actually focus on studying
other realistic courses in school. Religion is mostly based on theory which
cannot be proved by the science and this will make the students to be apart
from the sense of reality and the truth of science. This will only defect the
objective of education. So, religious education seems to have more
disadvantages in this extent.


            By getting more knowledge about our country’s education
system, we hope that the system of education in our country can be integrated.
The reason is to ensure the unity, togetherness and cooperation of the society.
Hence, to achieve this objective, all the citizens should access same
educational policy regardless of races, religions and background, to closer the
gap between the citizens. Moreover, we hope that the future leaders of our country
can be more cooperative in leading our country to be more successful by
stabilizing the economic system, solving the political problems and improving
the unity of the society.