Choosing the right course

Is your University or College Course Recognised in Malaysia & How to Check if its Accredited by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA)

What is the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) and How to Check if the Foundation, Diploma or Degree Course is Accredited or the University is Recognised

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There are many private universities and colleges in Malaysia, not counting the academies and other education institutions. Many students can be confused by the many agents and sales people out there selling the courses. It is important for students planning to study a diploma or degree course in Malaysia to check to see if the course is accredited by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) and the university or college is recognised by the Ministry of Education.

If you do not study a course that is accredited by MQA, you will not be able to get a job nor continue on to degree studies. Read on to find out more about MQA and the accreditation and recognition of courses in Malaysia.

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What is the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA)?

The Malaysia Qualifications Agency (MQA) is an official body that is governed by the Ministry of Higher Education and is the only body that controls universities’ accreditation status, regulate curriculum and set operational standards for both public and private universities and other higher learning institutions in Malaysia. MQA also accredit individual courses and programmes at each university. MQA’s operation is important because it works to ensure that higher learning in the country is up to global standards and is fit for the future of the nation.

Accreditation of Courses in Malaysian Private Universities

Accreditation is a formal recognition that a certificate, diploma or degree programme has attained the quality standards and criteria set by MQA and is in compliance with the MQF.

Institutions whose programmes have been accredited can use MQA recognition in their advertisements or any other statement. These programmes can be considered for recognition by the government for the purpose of employment in the public sector. Accreditation is a status or achievement as a result of quality assessment by MQA. It is a commitment by MQA to all stakeholders in higher education i.e students, parents, employers that the programme accredited by MQA is quality-assured. It is also a basis for other parties to recognise the programme for a variety of reasons. For example, the Public Service Department (PSD) will use this accreditation status to recognise the qualification for employment in the public service.

Accreditation status by MQA has many advantages. Besides being a benchmark for quality programme, it also has other advantages such as:-

  • Students are eligible to apply for loan from funding agencies such as National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN).
  • Students are eligible to continue their studies in higher education institutions and obtain credit transfer. However, the final decision lies with the institution concerned.
  • Students can be considered for employment in the public sector. In many cases, even employers from the private sector prefer accredited programmes in their selection of graduates for employment.
  • Institutions can franchise their accredited programmes to other institutions, subject to certain conditions.

Why should you be concerned about university and course accreditation?

When a course is accredited by the MQA, it means that the government of Malaysia and education authorities recognise the validity of the course. Now, what does it actually means to study a valid course? It will affect your plans to further study. When the time comes and you want to study your masters, if your degree is not MQA accredited, you will not be able to do that.

In cases such as engineering and practical programmes, your potential employer will look at the course accreditation to ensure that you know the operational standards, regulations and basic laws of your field. If you study engineering and want to join the board of engineers, the validity of your course is very important. This means that the course falls under the ethical, operational, and legal standards set by the government.

How do you find out if your course is accredited?

1. Visit: http://www2.mqa.gov.my/mqr/english/eperutusan.cfm

Is the Degree Course Recognised Overseas for Work?

As an education hub, Malaysia is a popular destination for local and international students because of the quality of academic programmes provided by higher education institutions in the country which are accredited by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA).

MQA chief executive officer Datuk Dr Rahmah Mohamed said its accreditation is widely accepted in Asia, New Zealand, Japan, Australia, United Kingdom and Europe.

“We are recognised as a global brand. If a student graduates from a MQA-accredited programme in Malaysia oraMalaysian institution, they can work in any of these countries,” she added.

Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions about the MQA (Taken from MQA website)

  1. What is the relationship between accredited programmes and registration in the Malaysian Qualifications Register (MQR)?
    • According to the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) Act 2007, all programmes accredited by MQA will be registered in the MQR.
  2. Will all programmes conducted in public and private higher education institutions be listed in the MQR?
    • All programmes offered by Private Higher Education Institutions which has been accredited by MQA (or previously by National Accreditation Board (NAB)) will be registered in the MQR. For Public Higher Education Institutions, programmes already recognised by the Public Service Department or professional bodies will be listed in the MQR.
  3. What are the advantages of accredited programmes registered in the MQR?
    • The following are the advantages :
      • the programme is quality assured and is in line with standards and criteria as well as in compliance with the Malaysian Qualifications Framework (MQF). Please refer to the information on Quality Assurance System on the MQA website
      • facilitate the credit transfer process
      • enable students to further their studies in local or foreign institutions
      • enable graduates to be eligible for employment in the civil service
      • facilitate students to obtain study loans
  4. I would like to know about programmes accredited by MQA? How do I get this information?
    • The information can be found by logging on to the MQR portal. There are a few ways to find the required information. Please refer to the directions below:
      • Log on to the MQA website at www.mqa.gov.my –> click on the MQR button on the On-Line Applications menu.
      • Log on to www.mqa.gov.my/mqr/ and then refer to the Guide bar on the MQR portal.
  5. How do I know whether a programme has gone through the quality assurance process?
    1. All qualifications listed in the MQR have gone through the quality assurance process either by MQA or a recognised body.
  6. There is information about validity period? What does it mean?
    • Under the Lembaga Akreditasi Negara Act 1996, all accredited programmes (except for professional programmes) have a validity period of five years. The validity period of professional programmes will be determined by the respective professional bodies. A higher education provider must apply for renewal of the accreditation six months before the expiry date. On the other hand, programmes accredited under the MQA Act 2007 will not have an expiry date. The date which the accreditation was granted will be stated in the MQR. If the accreditation is revoked, the date of the revocation will be entered into the MQR.
  7. Why are there qualifications with expired validity date and why are they not renewed?
    • There are a few possibilities :
    • the programme is no longer offered by the higher education provider
    • the higher education provider did not apply for the renewal of the accreditation for some reason
    • The renewal process is yet to be completed
  8. I am currently pursuing a programme at an institution. Why is the qualification not listed in the MQR?
    • It means that the programme is not yet accredited or not accredited at all. This may be because
    • The programme has just started and is not yet due for accreditation by MQA. The assessment will be conducted when the first cohort of the students are in their final year.
  9. Registration in the MQR is voluntary and institutions are free to make that choice.
    • Are the qualifications listed in the MQR recognised by the Public Service Department (PSD) or professional bodies?
      • There is a different between accreditation and recognition. All qualifications in MQR are basically accredited by MQA. The recognition by Public Service Department (PSD) or professional bodies lies under their jurisdiction. However, MQA has collaborated closely with PSD and other professional bodies. Basically the programmes accredited will be recognized by them. In this case, you are advised to refer the respective agencies for verification.
  10. Will foreign programmes conducted by local institutions be listed in the MQR?
    • In general, all programmes accredited by MQA will be listed in the MQR. The local institutions will apply to MQA for accreditation, followed by registration in the MQR. This includes programmes offered by local institutions in collaboration with foreign institutions and programmes offered by foreign university branch campuses.

Recognition of Courses in Malaysia

  • All programmes accredited by MQA are recognized by the Government of Malaysia.
  • Prior to 1 January 2017, qualifications which are recognized by the Government of Malaysia can be referred at the Civil Service Qualification Recognition System (eSisraf). http://www2.mqa.gov.my/esisraf.
  • Effective from 1 January 2017, reference can be made at the Malaysian Qualifications Register (MQR).
  • The verification of individual’s qualifications for local and foreign programmes will not be performed by MQA. Information about the qualification can be obtained by checking and printing out the slip from eSisraf: http://www2.mqa.gov.my/esisraf/ or MQR: http://www2.mqa.gov.my/mqr.

Malaysian Qualifications Register (MQR)

Introduction

Section 81 of the Malaysian Qualifications Agency Act 2007 (Act 679) provides that the Agency shall establish and maintain a national register known as the Malaysian Qualifications Register (MQR), containing programmes, qualifications and higher education providers accredited under the Act.

The MQR is the reference point for accredited programmes awarded by higher education providers. These programmes or qualifications (i.e. certificate, diploma, advanced diploma, or degree) must conform to the Malaysian Qualifications Framework.

Objective

The objectives of the MQR are :

(i) to provide information on accredited programmes and qualifications;
(ii) to enable stakeholders to know, understand and make comparison on the features of a qualification and
its relationship with other qualifications;
(iii) to facilitate the credit transfer process .

Contents of MQR

Currently, the information in the MQR are as follows:

(i) name and address of the higher education institution
(ii) application reference number
(iii) name of the qualification
(iv) field of the qualification
(v) validity period
(vi) qualification level
(vii) credit requirements to graduate and
(viii) mode and duration of study.

Additional information such as learning outcome statements of the programme, admission criteria and other relevant information will be uploaded from time to time.

MQR is one of the main features of MQF. It plays a significant role in ensuring that accredited higher education qualifications are registered and made available for reference to all stakeholders. Higher education providers, both local and foreign, may apply to have their qualifications registered in the MQR provided that the programmes fulfill the standards and criteria set and are accredited.

The MQR also contains information on the credit requirements of each qualification or programme, and thus facilitate the credit transfer process from one level to another.

The information in the MQR can also be used for certification or clarification regarding any registered qualification. Any interested party may refer to the MQR in order to obtain verification on the status of any qualification. An extract from the MQR is available upon request.

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