Changes in the Malaysian School Curriculum from the Pre-independence Years Until the New Millennium

  • Norjoharuddeen Mohd NorEmail author
  • Kwan Eu Leong
  • Umi Kalsum Mohd Salleh
Part of the Education in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues, Concerns and Prospects book series (EDAP, volume 39)


This chapter describes the changes in the school curriculum of Malaysia from the period before its Independence until the present period. After describing the meaning and the definition of curriculum to frame the narrative in this chapter, the chapter then goes on to describe the curriculum changes that took place in the Malaysian education system over the period of three different eras. The first era was from the pre-independence years up to 1979, as Malaysia endeavoured to define its nationhood. The next era was from 1980 to 1999, underscored by a major curricular overhaul with the introduction of the KBSR in 1983 and the KBSM in 1988 that put an emphasis on integration of knowledge, skills and values towards producing holistic students. The third era was from 2000 until the present period which saw changes in the medium of instruction twice and the introduction of the KSSR in 2011 followed by KSSM in 2017. The chapter also discusses the catalysts and contexts that bring into effect these changes and explains the success and failures of the changes.



This work was funded in part by the University of Malaya Research Grant (UMRG) RP004-13SBS, the Equitable Society Research Cluster and the University of Malaya Rakan Penyelidikan Grant CG035-2013.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Norjoharuddeen Mohd Nor
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kwan Eu Leong
    • 1
  • Umi Kalsum Mohd Salleh
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia

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