Secondary education in Malaysia is built on the model of ‘6 + 3 + 2 + 2’. First 6 years are dedicated to compulsory primary education, followed by 3 years of secondary school, 2 years of senior school after that, and 2 years of pre-university education in the end. There are several types of educational institutions: national schools, ethnic — Chinese and Tamil, private and international. All programs in educational institutions are certified by the Malaysian Ministry of Education.
In national schools, they teach in Malay, and in primary ethnic schools in Chinese and Tamil. English is studied everywhere as a second language, and in some private and international schools, it is the only language of instruction. Exact and natural sciences, music and drawing are also included in all curricula. Malaysia is a Muslim country, therefore all national schools have Islamic education. Together with it, students master the basics of morality, ethics and law.
High school in Malaysia is divided into three types:
Academic School. They offer humanitarian and scientific tracks.
Technical and Vocational Schools develop applied skills.
Religious Schools. Emphasize the study of Sharia. Here future clergy, theologians, and Islamic law specialists are trained.
At the end of high school, students take the SPM exam (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia). Based on the results of SPM, graduates enter colleges, polytechnics or pre-university training programs: one-year (Foundation) and two-year (Matriculation). The result of the final stage of secondary education is the STPM exam (Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia) which is somewhat similar to the British GCE A-Level. This exam is used by Malays for admission to universities.
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