Higher Education in Malaysia →
The Malaysian Qualification Framework (MQF)
MQF is an instrument that develops and classifies qualifications based on a set of criteria that ore approved nationally and is at par with international good practices at the level of learning attained by the learners. This includes learning outcomes achieved ond a credit system which is based on the learner's academic load. All the qualifications in the framework are based upon four classifications, which are: (1) learning outcomes (2) credit (3) objectives and (4) field of study.
More about Malaysian Qualification Framework (MQF)
PHEIs tarted to provide tutorial support to students pursuing
external examinations leading to a semi-professional or professional
qualification in the 1970s.
There are two types of examination bodies or boards:
1) 'Qualifying' Examination Bodies
examination bodies of professional associations.
They set the course syllabi / curricula, conduct examinations and confer qualifications related to their specific skill or trade, e.g.
These bodies will only award membership privileges to those who have passed their professional examination and fulfilled other job experience requirements.
Some of these professional associations/ boards are :
|These bodies ore
managed by institutions or organizations of international standing.
Qualifications are awarded to those who have passed the examination.
They are not associations or bodies representing their specific
professions and do not offer membership, but are examination bodies
that only set the syllabi, conduct the examinations and confer the
The qualifications awarded are varied.
These can be :
With such qualifications, graduates can either commence a career or continue higher education at a Bachelor's degree or professional level.
Some of these qualifications are:
Students are required to register with these bodies in order to sit for the professional examination.
Upon passing the examination, students are qualified to be admitted as members of the associations.
Some associations impose additional requirements such as minimum age and relevant working experience for admission.
Students with Malaysian STPM qualifications or its equivalent such as local university foundation programmes or international pre-tertiary qualifications such as GCE A Level, AUSMAT, SAM, and CPU are generally accepted as 'student members' to sit for the professional examination concerned.
The general entry requirement to obtain qualifications awarded by Academic Examination Bodies' is SPM or its equivalent.
The eight levels of higher education qualifications :
Malaysian Qualifications Agency
The National Accreditation Board or Lembaga Akreditasi Negara (LAN) was established in 1996 under the Parliament Act and was the national quality assurance agency for private higher educational institutions. Meanwhile, the quality assurance divisions under the Ministry of Higher Education supervised the quality of public universities, polytechnics and public community colleges.
On 1-11 -2007, a new agency Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) was established under a new education legislation the Malaysian Qualifications Act 2007.
This new Malaysian Qualifications Agency
replace the following agency :
MQA comes under the responsibility
of the Ministry of Higher Education.
Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA)
From LAN & QAD To MQA
Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA), was established on 1st November 2007 with the coming in force of the Malaysian Qualifications Agency Act 2007.
The establishment of a new entity which merges National Accreditation Board (LAN) and the Quality Assurance Division, Ministry of Higher Education (QAD) was approved by the Government on 21 December 2005. This entity is responsible for quality assurance of higher education for both the public and the private sectors.
The main role of the MQA is to implement the Malaysian Qualifications Framework (MQF) as a basis for quality assurance of higher education and as the reference point for the criteria and standards for national qualifications. The MQA is responsible for monitoring and overseeing the quality assurance practices and accreditation of national higher education.
With the vision to be a credible and internationally recognized higher education quality assurance body and the mission to inspire the confidence of its stakeholders through best practices, the MQA is set to chart new boundaries in higher education quality assurance.
The MQA Act is designed to promote the dynamic growth of higher education and the portability of Malaysian qualifications. It should inspire the confidence of parents, students, employers, both local and international in the standards of qualifications and quality of their delivery.
The MQA Act 2007 comprises the following 16 parts:
Part I : Preliminary definitions
Part II : Malaysian Qualifications Agency
Part III : Malaysian Qualifications Council
Part IV : Provisions Relating to Employees
Part V : Financial Provisions
Part VI : Malaysian Qualifications Framework
Part VII : Provisional Accreditation
Part VIII: Accreditation
Part IX : Evaluation of other Qualifications
Part X : Institutional Audit
Part XI : National Qualifications Register
Part XII : Appeals
Part XIII: Enforcement and Investigation
Part XIV: Offences and Penalties
Part XV : Miscellaneous
Part XVI: Repeal, Savings and Transitional
The 16 parts of MQA Act include the provisions for:
• The establishment of MQA as the agency with overarching responsibility for assuring the quality of all post secondary programmes and qualifications provided by higher education providers in the country.
• The establishment of the Malaysian Qualifications Framework (MQF).
• Provisional accreditation as the initial process towards accreditation.
• Accreditation that takes into consideration the diversity of higher education in Malaysia : local programmes under the MQF, foreign programmes including collaborative arrangements, distance and e-learning, professional programmes and skills qualifications.
• Registration of qualifications from self-accrediting institutions.
• Recognition of prior learning and experience and credit transfers.
• The Malaysian Qualifications Register (MQR) as the national reference point for all qualification that have been accredited.
As a quality assurance body, the functions of MQA are:
• To implement MQF as a reference point for Malaysian qualification.
• To develop standards and criteria and all other relevant instruments as national references for the conferment of awards with the cooperation of stakeholders.
• To quality assure higher education institutions and programmes.
• To accredits courses that fulfill the set criteria and standards.
• To facilitate the recognition and articulation of qualifications.
• To maintain the Malaysian Qualifications Register (MQR).
The establishment of the MQA and the implementation of the MQF will benefit national higher education and the development of human capital.
The Quality Assurance System
MQA has developed a code of practice on criteria and standards for higher education in Malaysia. This code of practice is benchmarked against international good practices and nationally accepted by stakeholders through various consultations.
The code provides a guideline of general requirements in the following areas:
• Vision, mission and learning outcomes. • Curriculum design and delivery. • Student selection and support services. • Assessment of students. • Academic staff • Educational resources. • Programme monitoring and review. • Leadership, governance and administration. • Continuous quality improvement.
In general, MQA quality assures programmes through two distinct processes:
• Provisional Accreditation - this is initial process which will help higher education providers to achieve the accreditation by enhancing the standard and quality set in the provisional accreditation evaluation.
• Accreditation - this is a formal recognition that the certificates, diplomas or degrees awarded by higher education institutions are in accordance with the set standards.
The MQA Act 2007 also provides for the conferment of a self accrediting status to mature higher education institutions that have well established internal quality assurance mechanisms. To be so conferred, the higher education institution needs to undergo an institutional audit, and if successful, all qualifications it offers will be automatically registered in the MQR.
The processes above are further supported by continuous monitoring to ensure the programmes offered by the institution are always quality assured.
Further, nine criteria have been benchmarked as international best practice, which forms the basis of the accreditation assessment, viz.
Vision, mission, institutional goals and learning outcomes
Curriculum design and delivery
Student selection and support
Student assessment system
• Academic staff
• Learning resources, and teaching and learning facilities
• Programme monitoring and review
• Leadership, governance and administration
• Total continuous quality improvement
Accreditation will be the highest status in quality assessment done by MQA. It will be the guarantee given by MQA to all stakeholders of higher education which include students, parents, employers, etc. that programmes accredited by MQA are quality programmes.
Once the courses of study are accredited, the accreditation status will remain for as long as the institution can meet the framework requirements and QA standard and criteria as well as institutional mission under the MQA's Institutional Audit.
The Malaysian Qualifications Register
The MQA maintains the Malaysian Qualifications Register (MQR) which registers all accredited qualifications and programmes.
The MQR is the reference point for credit transfer between programmes and qualifications that are accredited.
MQR plays a significant role in facilitating recognition of accredited qualification locally and internationally.
The Malaysian Qualifications Framework
The Malaysian Qualifications Frameworks (MQF) is Malaysia's declaration about its quality in relation to its education system.
MQF is an instrument that develops and classifies qualifications based on a set of criteria that are approved nationally and benchmarked against international best practices, and which clarifies the earned academic levels, learning outcomes of study areas and credit system based on student academic load. These criteria are accepted and used for all qualifications awarded by recognized higher education providers. Hence, MQF integrates with and links all national qualifications.
MQF also provides educational pathways through which it links qualifications systematically. These pathways will enable the individual to progress through credit transfers and accreditation of prior experiential learning, in the context of lifelong learning.
Eight Levels of MQF Qualifications
The MQF has eight levels of qualifications in three national higher education sectors and is supported by lifelong education pathways (see Table 1). The sectors are (a) Skills, (B) Vocational and Technical and (c) Higher Education.
Levels 1 to 3 are skills Certificates awarded by the Skills Sector. Higher Education and Vocational and Technical Certificates are at Level 3. Meanwhile, Diploma and Advanced Diploma are at Levels 4 and 5. Bachelors Degree is at Level 6, Masters Degree at Level 7 and Doctoral Degree at Level 8.
The levels are differentiated- by learning outcomes, credit hours and student learning time.
Lifelong education pathways cut across all levels of qualifications through accreditation of prior experiential learning.