Pre-school and Primary Education

Information about pre-primary (kindergarten) and primary education for children in the schooling system in Malaysia...

Pre-primary Education

Pre-primary education is not compulsory in Malaysia; it is a parental choice. It is not part of the formal educational curriculum and there are no requirements as to what should be taught. The only requirement is that teachers must have completed and passed mandatory training.

In urban areas, most children start pre-primary at age five, but there is the option for children to attend from an earlier age. In rural areas, pre-primary attendance is limited.

Most pre-primaries are funded privately by not-for-profit organisations, while some pre-primaries are run by government and religious organisations. Pre-primaries must comply with government legislation regarding safety and health regulations; thus many are attached to primary schools, which already comply with these requirements.

There are a number of private pre-primaries with Montessori or Reggio Emilia programmes, as well as bilingual pre-primaries. Pre-primaries within internationals schools follow the curriculum of that particular school.

Taskas and tadikas

Pre-primaries in Malaysia are referred to as taskas or tadikas. A taska is for children under the age of four; while tadikas accept children aged three to seven. Fees for these schools are generally reasonable. Parents tend to enrol their children in a pre-primary in their residential area.

Most children between four and six years old, who live in urban areas attend pre-primary. Children who are younger than three years old go to childcare centres or nurseries.

  • For more information about early childhood education: Click here
  • For information about pre-primaries and daycare centres: Click here

Primary Education

Primary school education is for children from seven to 12 years old and is compulsory. It generally lasts for six years. There are two levels to primary education:

  1. Level One (Tahap Satu) - years 1 to 3.
  2. Level Two (Tahap Dua) - years 4 to 6.

Primary School Achievement Test

In year 6 children must sit the Primary School Achievement Test (Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah - UPSR), which tests children's understanding of Malay, English, science and mathematics.

In Chinese and Tamil schools, oral and written Chinese or Tamil are also tested.