Race-Based Policies and Practices in Malaysia’s Education System

  • Tan Yao SuaEmail author
  • R. Santhiram
Part of the Education in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues, Concerns and Prospects book series (EDAP, volume 39)


The development of higher education in Malaysia has undergone rapid expansion since the 1990s as a result of the combination of several internal as well as external factors. Apart from the public institutions of higher learning, this rapid expansion also involved the private institutions of higher learning. Despite this rapid expansion, equal access to the public institutions of higher learning remains an acute problem, especially to the non-Malays. The issue of standards and quality is also a major concern amidst the massification of higher education. The internationalization of higher education within this rapid expansion of private higher education has led to intense institutional competition at the expense of the smaller institutions. It is inevitable that the rapid expansion of higher education has accentuated the problem of graduate unemployment. This problem is compounded by the disparity in job opportunities along ethnic lines that does not augur well for the nation-building process in a plural society like Malaysia. The different levels of English proficiency between the graduates of public institutions of higher learning (mainly Malays) and the graduates of private institutions of higher learning (mainly Chinese) have led to this disparity. The parallel public and private sector expansion of higher education has resulted in a dual system of higher education along linguistic and ethnic lines. Again, this does not augur well for the nation-building process in Malaysia.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University Sains MalaysiaPenangMalaysia
  2. 2.Wawasan Open UniversityPenangMalaysia

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