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Higher Education in Malaysia  → 



The Malaysian Qualification Framework (MQF)

The implementation of MQF means that there will be a unified system to bind and interlink all the qualifications awarded in Malaysia (which include higher education qualifications and Malaysian Skills Certificates - SKM Level 1 to 5) and serve as a reference point for all Malaysian national qualifications.

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.

MQF will create eight levels of qualifications in four sectors of education.
The four sectors of education are the:
skills sector
vocational and technical sector
life-long learning sector and
higher education (university) sector

More about Malaysian Qualification Framework (MQF)

Private institutions 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
2) 'Academic' Examination Bodies

Examination Bodies
Examination Bodies
These are 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 :

1 Malaysian Institute of Certified Public Accountants (MICPA-Malaysia)
2 Chartered Association of Certified Accountants (ACCA-UK)
3 Engineering Council-UK
4 Institute of Chartered Secretaries & Administrators (ICSA-UK)
5 Chartered Institute of Management Accountant (CIMA-UK)
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 qualifications.
The qualifications awarded are varied.

These can be :

Semi-professional or
other equivalent levels.

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:
Awarded by semi-professional bodies e.g.

1 Institut Bank-Bank Malaysia - Malaysia
2 SKM - Malaysia
3 LCCI Examination Board - UK
4 National Computing Centre - UK
5 Chartered Institute of Marketing - UK

Awarded by universities or government agencies for pre-university qualification, e.g.

1 GCE A Level
4 Canadian Pre-U
Entry Requirements

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.

Entry Requirements

The general entry requirement to obtain qualifications awarded by Academic Examination Bodies' is SPM or its equivalent.

The eight levels of higher education qualifications :

Level 8 Level 8 for PhD / doctoral degrees.

Level 7 is for master's degrees

Level 6 is for the first tertiary qualification, i.e. the bachelor's degree with honors.

Under the lifelong learning category, there are graduate certificates & diplomas and postgraduate certificates & diplomas.

Level 7
Level 6
Level 5 Levels 4 and 5 are for Diplomas and Advanced Diplomas (General Degree) respectively awarded by the Technical and Vocational Sector, Skills Sector and Higher Education Sector.
Level 4
Level 3 Levels 1 to 3 are the levels for Skills Certificates awarded by the skills sector, Vocational and Technical Certificates awarded by Vocational & Technical Sector and Certificate (Level 3) awarded by the Higher Education Sector.
Level 2
Level 1

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 :
Lembaga Akreditasi Negara (established under Act 556), for private higher educational institutions
The Quality Assurance Division of MOHE, for public universities
The Quality Assurance Division of MOHE, for polytechnics & community colleges

MQA comes under the responsibility of the Ministry of Higher Education.
MQA acted as a national body to implement the national framework known as the Malaysian Qualifications Framework (MQF), to accredit higher educational qualifications, to regulate the quality of higher education providers, to establish and maintain the Malaysian Qualifications Register.

Malaysian Qualifications Agency (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.

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