Malaysia’s talent pool of trainable, well-educated, multilingual and diverse workforce is the foundation of our economic growth. Malaysia has 20 public and over 50 private universities, in addition to over 1,400 technical and vocational education and training colleges (TVET) that have been established under different ministries to support the growth of the talent pool in Malaysia.
Backed by the Government’s continued support of human resource development in all sectors, the quality of Malaysia’s labour force is one of the very best in the region. The average Malaysian can to speak at least two or three languages. English proficiency levels are high, and school leavers going into the work market have at least 11 years of formal education.
The Malaysian Education Blueprint 2015-2025 promotes collaborations between universities and industries. It allows the industrial sectors to lead curriculum design as well as partner with programmes such as apprenticeships, hands-on training, real-life simulations and specialised employer training programmes.
Malaysia is also preparing the new generation with the necessary skillsets for future jobs. The Education Blueprint 2013-2025 (Pre-school to Post-Secondary Education) is a roadmap to strengthen the STEM’s delivery processes whereby students are exposed to basic programming and will be introduced to robotic, artificial intelligence, and computer science subjects.
The enhancement of the education standard remains a priority for Malaysia. This includes improving technical and vocational education and training (TVET), strengthening lifelong learning (LLL) and increasing the efficiency of the labour market to meet industry demands, especially since the 4IR brings diverse new technologies that impact education and training.
Confronting this reality, the Twelfth Malaysia Plan (12MP) focuses on realigning the labour market for inclusive and sustainable growth, increasing job opportunities for Malaysians as well as developing future-ready talent.
Malaysia is an upper middle-income country with a well-developed education system. Education and training are accorded high priority in national development under Malaysia’s five-year development plans. The quality of Malaysia’s workforce is one of the best in the region. Total enrolment in public institutions of higher education is estimated to reach over 500,000 with an increasing focus on the science and technical disciplines.
(Source: Quick Facts 2021, Ministry of Education)
The private sector has also set up educational institutions to supplement the government’s efforts to generate a larger pool of professionals and semi-professionals.
Various private colleges in Malaysia offer degree programmes on a twinning basis with overseas institutions of higher learning, while foreign universities such as Heriot-Watt University, University of Southampton Malaysia, Monash University Malaysia, Nottingham Malaysia, Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia, Curtin University in Sarawak, University of Reading Malaysia and Xiamen University Malaysia have set up branch campuses in the country. Educational institutions in Malaysia generate a large pool of professionals with degrees and post-graduate qualifications.
Internationally Ranked Universities
Source: Times Higher Education’s (THE) Asia University Rankings 2021
The Times Higher Education’s (THE) Asia University Rankings 2021 featured 15 of Malaysia’s public institutions. Universiti Malaya made it to the top 50 institutions in the region in its fourth consecutive year.The other universities included Universiti Teknologi Petronas, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Universiti Utara Malaysia.
The country’s ongoing efforts were recognised in the QS World University Rankings for Asia 2022 where University Malaya (UM) along with 24 other Malaysian tertiary institutions showed improvements. UM went up one spot to rank eighth in Asia and privately owned UCSI University breached the top 100, climbing 28 levels to the 77th position.
Besides the increasing number of public training institution such as technical schools, polytechnics, industrial training institutes and skills development centres to meet the growing requirements of the industrial sector, collaborative efforts between the Malaysian government, enterprises and foreign governments have resulted in the establishment of several advanced skills training institutes such as the German-Malaysian Institutes, Malaysia France Institute, Japan Malaysia Technical Institute, British Malaysia Institute and Malaysian Spanish Institute.
– UMP Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr Wan Azhar Wan Yusoff (2019)