• Education License in Malaysia

After setting up your business in Malaysia, you might require a business license or permit. The types of licenses would differ depending on the type of industry you’re involved in. This includes if you intend run this type of business in Malaysia. An Education License in Malaysia is required if you intend to operate learning centres in the country.

What Business Licenses Do Education Centres in Malaysia Need?

Section 79 of the Education Act 1996 in Malaysia states that all education institutions need to be registered with the Registrar General of the Ministry of Education. Section 2 of the act defines an such an institution as “a school or any other place where, in carrying on the work of an organisation or institution, persons are habitually taught, whether in one or more classes, and includes a kindergarten (childcare centres) and a distance education centre.” This includes:

1. Private Higher Educational Institutions (PHEIs)

  • Private universities and branch campuses of foreign universities with university status;
  • Private colleges/institutions with non-university status; and
  • Technical and vocational training institutions

2. Private Educational Institutions (PEI)

In Malaysia, there are 17 categories of registered private educational institutions (PEI). These consist of private schools and centres, including tuition, enrichment and language centres. According to MOE, there are instances where certain tuition centres in Malaysia only have a Tuition Centre License, but they operate similar to a school. In the same article by The Star, the Ministry of Education Malaysia stated that they were “seriously looking at these centres existence and the issues involving these centres as it is against the provisions of compulsory education set out in the Education Act”.

Categories of Private Educational Institutions include:

  • Private Primary School
  • Private Secondary School
  • Islamic Primary School
  • Islamic Secondary School
  • International School
  • Expatriate School
  • Special Education School
  • Private Kindergarten
  • Tuition Centre
  • Language Centre
  • Computer Centre
  • Training/Commerce Centre
  • Vocational/Technical Centre
  • Mind Enrichment Centre
  • Guidance Centre (Sabah & Sarawak only)
  • Branch (Name the main PEI)
  • Other PEI

Information Needed In Obtaining an Education License

Private Educational Institutions (PEI)

1: Provide Applicant’s Particulars

  • Name, ID, Passport, Address, Tel, E-mail

2: Provide Business Information

  • Type of entity, Reg. No., Capital, Source of Finance, Stakeholder details etc

3: Provide Particulars of Institution

  • Suggested name of institution
  • Address with a map (Kindergartens and schools require letter of no objection from local councils)
  • Learning times and full or part time
  • Medium of instruction (language)

4: Provide details of Management

  • Particulars of board of governors e.g. Chairman and Members. (Minimum 3 person for kindergarten/tuition centre; 5 person for other PEIs)
  • Details of Principal/Headmaster (CV, supporting documents etc.)
  • Teachers’ Particulars
  • Non Academic Staff Particulars
  • Curriculum/Course/Programme/Training and Fee Structure

5: Provide details of Premise and Amenities

  • Information of Premise (Location, Types, Ownership, Rental, Floor Area)
  • Facilities of Premise (Classroom, Library, Co-curricular, Administration, Security & Health, Other Facilities etc.)

6. Rational For The Establishment Of PEI

Private Higher Educational Institutions (PHEIs) (Universities)

*The following is adapted from Malaysian Investment Development Authority’s guide on Education and Industrial Training Services

1. Approval in Principle to Establish PHEIs

In order to set up a PHEI in Malaysia, applicants are required to submit a proposal to the Registration and Standard Division under the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) detailing the PHEI’s concept plan which may be followed by a presentation. An approval in principle will be granted for the establishment of the PHEI, if MOHE is satisfied with the concept plan.

2. Approval to Establish PHEIs and Approval to Conduct Courses of Study

Upon approval of establishment, the company is required to submit a formal application to MOHE to establish the PHEI, and to conduct any course of study or training Education and Industrial Training Services 3 programme either singly or jointly with any university, University College, or other higher educational institutions (public/private/professional body in or outside Malaysia).

MOHE will then forward the application to conduct the course of study to the Malaysian Qualification Agency (MQA) for processing. The application must include details of the course curriculum, teachers, facilities and the management system of the courses to be conducted. A Panel of Assessors (PoA) from MQA will process the application to conduct the courses of study, and will give its recommendations to MQA for a decision.

Letters of approval to establish the PHEI and to conduct the courses of study will be issued by MOHE to the institution.

3. Registration of PHEIs

Upon approval, the company is required to register with MOHE as a PHEI under the Private Higher Educational Institutions Act, 1996 (Act 555) and Regulations. Applications to register as a PHEI should be submitted to the Department of Higher Education. A Certificate of Registration will then be awarded

4. Programme Accreditation by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA)

Stage 1 for Provisional Accreditation and Stage 2 for Full Accreditation.

Tips in successful application of Education License

To obtain this license from the Registrar General, you will need to meet the following criteria under Section 84:

  • Your premise must meet all the prescribed health and safety standards.
  • The name of the institution must not be improper or undesirable.
  • The area you intend to open your institution must not have too many other existing schools or centres nearby.
  • Your institution must not be used for “a purpose detrimental to the interests of Malaysia, the public or the pupils.”
  • Your registration form must not contain any false or misleading information.
  • The person you appoint as the chairman of the board of governors or head of the teachers in your school must be suitable for the position.

Employees in the Education Institution Must Be Registered

Section 88 of the Malaysia Education Act also requires that any employee of an educational institution must be registered with the Ministry of Education. This includes any person who is acting as a governor of the school.

If your educational institution hires any employee who is not properly licensed or registered with the Ministry of Education, you could be held liable. The penalty for this offense could be a penalty of RM30,000 and/or up to 2-years in prison. Therefore, it is important to ensure that your employees have the necessary legal requirements needed to work at your educational institution. When dealing with employment agencies to source your candidates, be sure to conduct a thorough background check.

Why Education License Is Important

1. Obtaining an Education Licenses is important if our centre or school’s wishes to issue recognised certificates.

Last year, The Star published an article in 2018 urging netizens to be wary of private centres, especially as some of these may be illegal centres that are operating without a license. The Ministry of Education (MOE) Malaysia has made it very clear that it will not endorse certificates which come from unlicensed centres. This must be taken seriously because it is a requirement by the Foreign Affairs Ministry that any student who intends to further their studies abroad at higher education learning institutions must have endorsed certificates to do so.

Tips: Approach is to find out if your business activity requires an education license as many businesses can be efficiently restructured.

2. It is a parent/guardian’s responsibility to ensure schools are licensed

Malaysian children who are at least 6-years old on the 1st of January will be required to attend primary school. This is a mandatory requirement made compulsory by Section 29A(2) of the law.

Section 29A(2) of the act states in very clear terms that “a parent who contravenes subsection (2) shall be guilty of an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding RM5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6-months or both.”

Therefore, not only do parents in Malaysia have to ensure that they children are enrolled in school according to the law, but they have to ensure that the schools are not illegally run schools too. Foreign investors who intend to start a business in this sector must take note of these requirements.

The Ministry of Education is urging these institutions – or anyone who intends to set up such an institution in Malaysia as a business – to be registered and comply with the guidelines. If the private school (or schools involved in the private education sector) intends to run an international curriculum like the IGCSE for example, they must register themselves as an international school.

Our thoughts

Usually, if your plans include to provide academic certificates recognized by foreign affairs, getting your institution accredited and licensed is extremely important. If you are operating a tuition centre teaching school subjects, you are required to obtain a tuition centre registration. If you are operating in a niche market like teaching digital animation or coding languages, you might not require a license.

If you are just starting out after setting up your Malaysia company, getting a full-fledged accredited license might be a stretch too. You should call us to discuss what is the best way to move forward in structuring your business.

FAQs

Are Business Licenses from Malaysia also valid in other Countries?2020-04-27T12:34:30+08:00

Business licenses issued in Malaysia only pertain to businesses which have been set up there. Therefore, such licenses are not valid in countries other than Malaysia. 

What is a DP10 Work Permit?2020-04-27T12:33:54+08:00

In Malaysia, a DP10 work permit is also known as a Professional Work Permit Visa. It is valid for two years but can have its validity extended by up to 10 years. It is meant for foreigners deemed to be skilled workers.

What are the Primary purposes of SSM?2020-04-27T12:33:06+08:00

SSM was established in 2002. It is a statutory body that functions under the auspices of the Malaysian government. Its primary purposes are those of assisting in company incorporation and business registration as well as providing information about companies and businesses in Malaysia to the public.

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52 Comments

  1. casey April 9, 2021 at 11:29 am - Reply

    Hi, what if the design school is running as a proper college or institution capacity, will be issuing certificates, getting endorsed by the MOE and so forth? What kind of business license i need ? and how to go about?

  2. Andrew April 3, 2021 at 8:41 am - Reply

    Hi,
    To operate strictly online adults English classes for TEFL with no certificates issued do I need a license from
    Ministry of Education?
    Can I refer to these as online English “classes, lessons or training?”

  3. Ivy March 20, 2021 at 8:35 am - Reply

    Hi,
    I plan to run beauty course in my shop, I do service and course. I have SSM but other than that,
    What license do I need to apply?

  4. Lisa Yap March 19, 2021 at 11:23 am - Reply

    Hi, I am planning to bring in a Franchise doing STEM and coding lessons (enrichment centre). In this case, do I need any Education License?

  5. Wee Liang March 18, 2021 at 3:58 pm - Reply

    Hi, May i know if i want to operate an enrichment centre such as Montessori Class, do i need to apply education license? thank you.

  6. GOH SU FUNG March 14, 2021 at 11:12 pm - Reply

    Hi,
    May I know it is possible that after a year plus of operating a kindergarten, but still didn’t see any SSM license or the rest of the license like the fire department and others (didn’t even see any fire extinguisher around the kindergarten).
    Worried that the kindergarten is not registered under MOE? Must a private kindergarten registered under MOE?

    Thank you

  7. jazz February 26, 2021 at 7:55 pm - Reply

    Hi, how about online learning platform ? do i need to apply tuition license? TQ

    Jazz

  8. SUBHASHINI A/P KUMAR subhashinikumar February 7, 2021 at 10:10 pm - Reply

    hye im doing tuition in my house for long years im planning to do ssm for my own tuition .. is that possible to do if i have teaching permit

  9. Gerard George January 30, 2021 at 2:19 pm - Reply

    Hi, could you share the URL for the licensing application forms to open and start a private language teaching institute in Malaysia? Thanks very much.

  10. Hui Ling Wong January 24, 2021 at 12:48 pm - Reply

    Hi, do I need an education license to teach music and public speaking for students from challenging background with minimal fee (non-profit)? Or what kind of license/registration with the government do I need to run such program?

  11. Key December 20, 2020 at 4:50 pm - Reply

    May I know what’s the business can a learning centre license do?

  12. Noor December 14, 2020 at 1:19 pm - Reply

    Hi, what if I intend to register for a religious institute? Im not sure of the registration procedure.

    • Tiwi December 17, 2020 at 10:03 am

      Hi Noor,

      If you are planning to conduct religious classes in Primary and Secondary schools, a international/private school license and registration is required. However if you are hosting interest group, no license is required.

      It is not necessary for a church to register with the government on the basis of Article 11(3) of the Federal Constitution.

      Feel free to contact Paul Hype Page if you need more information!
      Thanks

  13. Vivien December 9, 2020 at 10:54 am - Reply

    Hi, I am interested in starting a training center for security systems courses. Is a private higher education license compulsory? Is it true that there’s freeze (moratorium) on obtaining this license at the moment?

    • Tiwi December 17, 2020 at 9:58 am

      Hi Vivien, to start a training center for security system in Malaysia, first you need to set up your company.
      Please be informed that if your school is not teaching and issuing anything international or academic certificate, you don’t need to apply for education license.
      Training center for security system is not included as an academic school so no education license needed.

      To open this school also can 100% foreign ownership. We can assist you with a private limited company incorporation to initiate your business.

      Please contact us via Paul Hype Page to discuss further.
      Thank you for your question.
      Warm regards
      Paul

  14. casey December 1, 2020 at 4:11 pm - Reply

    Hi, what about if i am looking at starting an design school?

    • Tiwi December 4, 2020 at 2:34 pm

      Hi Casey, to start a design school in Malaysia, first you need to set up your company.
      Please be informed that if your school is not teaching and issuing anything international or academic certificate, you don’t need to apply for education license.
      Design school is not included as an academic school so no education license needed.

      To open this school also can 100% foreign ownership. We can assist you with a private limited company incorporation to initiate your business.

      Please contact us via Paul Hype Page to discuss further.
      Thanks

  15. Keyhan November 29, 2020 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    Hi Paul,

    What kind of license does an online tuition centre require?

    • Tiwi December 1, 2020 at 9:01 am

      Hi Keyhan,
      first, you will need to incorporate your company before you apply the license. The most common license required for a foreign owned company is wholesale retail trade wrt license this wrt license is applicable to any foreign participation i e. To get the license you will need to apply with Malaysian bank and securities commission. Nursery department of social welfare kindergarten tuition centers schools college ministry department of education or other relevant agencies if required by the registrar of business.

      Please contact us via Paul Hype Page to discuss further.

      Thanks

  16. Kavitha June 23, 2020 at 4:01 pm - Reply

    Hi there,
    I would like to involve my foreign partner in my business. What are the possibilities to do so? Or how can I register him as one of the investor of my tuition centre.
    Highly appreciated if you could advise me.
    Thanking in advance.

    • Tiwi July 6, 2020 at 11:40 am

      Hi Kavitha
      You are able to include your foreign partner as a director of a Sdn Bhd. This is possible as long as you are residing in Malaysia.
      To facilitate further discussion, please contact us at Paul Hype Page.
      Thank you for your comment.
      Warm regards
      Paul

  17. Norris June 19, 2020 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    What’s the procedure to start an online tution ?

    • Tiwi July 6, 2020 at 10:57 am

      Hi Norris
      In order to start a tuition business in Malaysia, you will first need to register your business and get the relevant educational license.
      These will depend on the nature of your business. Paul Hype Page is able to advise you on the best course of action, and assist in your incorporation needs.
      To facilitate further discussion, please contact us at Paul Hype Page.
      Thank you for your comment.

      Warm regards
      Paul

  18. Yen June 19, 2020 at 5:41 am - Reply

    Does a home tutor need a business license or education license?
    Can home tutor operate in a place other than own house?

    • Tiwi July 6, 2020 at 10:56 am

      Hi Yen

      An education license is a type of business license. If you are registering a business in Malaysia as a tutor, you will need an education license.
      The place of operations is subject to approval by the relevant authorities.
      To facilitate further discussion, please contact us at Paul Hype Page.
      regards
      Paul

  19. Chow June 9, 2020 at 6:38 pm - Reply

    Can a Tuition Centre operate as a Childcare Centre at the same time? In such case, do the company need to apply 2 difference licenses?

    • Tiwi June 18, 2020 at 4:30 pm

      Hi Emily

      It is possible for a tuition centre to operate as a childcare centre at the same time. For the specific licenses required, it will depend on the size and location of the centre. To better answer your questions, get in touch with us.

      Thank you for your comment.
      Warm regards
      Paul

  20. Sicomeyl February 27, 2020 at 3:57 pm - Reply

    Hi Paul
    Just a query, how do we apply the licence if we were to open an institute for automotive.. An institute to learn skills.
    Thanks

    • Tiwiyah Kumaran March 19, 2020 at 10:25 am

      Hello Sicomeyl,

      As the institute will be teaching automotive skills, you will require a permit which may be received by registering with the Road Transport Department of Malaysia. It is also likely that you will require a Transport License for car rental and vehicle leasing purposes.

      Thank you for your question.
      Paul

  21. Poornima February 27, 2020 at 7:52 am - Reply

    What’s the steps involved in to get academy license?

    • Tiwiyah Kumaran March 20, 2020 at 9:40 am

      Hello Poornima,

      In Malaysia, the license you seek is known as an Education License, not an Academy License. To receive such a license, it is necessary to register the educational institution to be started with the Registrar General of the Ministry of Education.
      For further information on the Education License or any of Malaysia’s other business licenses, please contact us.

      Thank you for your question.
      Paul

  22. Goh February 26, 2020 at 8:01 pm - Reply

    Can a company apply to register as an educational institution in Malaysia?

    • Tiwiyah Kumaran March 20, 2020 at 9:40 am

      Hello Goh,

      It is indeed possible as long as an Education License is obtained. To receive such a license, it is necessary to register the educational institution to be started with the Registrar General of the Ministry of Education.
      For further information on the Education License or any of Malaysia’s other business licenses, please contact us.

      Thank you for your question.
      Paul

  23. Jocelyn February 24, 2020 at 3:31 pm - Reply

    Hi, may I know what is the process to run a kindergarten? Thanks

    • Tiwiyah Kumaran March 20, 2020 at 9:41 am

      Hello Jocelyn,

      In order to run a kindergarten or any other educational institute in Malaysia, you will require an Education License which is to be obtained from the Registrar General of the Ministry of Education.
      For further information on the Education License or any of Malaysia’s other business licenses, please contact us.

      Thank you for your question.
      Paul

  24. Austin January 21, 2020 at 3:02 am - Reply

    How do I register a school that offers Private Diploma by an overseas partner

    • Tiwiyah Kumaran January 23, 2020 at 10:18 am

      Hello Austin,

      Before you may register a school in Malaysia, you will first need to obtain an Education License. After you have done so, you may proceed with the usual incorporation procedure.

      For further information on business licenses in Malaysia, please contact us at any time.

      Thank you for your question.
      Paul

  25. Kin December 26, 2019 at 5:40 pm - Reply

    Hi, what’s the step involved in setting up an enrichment centre?

    • Tiwiyah Kumaran January 6, 2020 at 2:19 pm

      Hello Kin,

      If by “enrichment center” you are referring to a tuition center, according to the current laws of Malaysia, anyone who plans to set up a tuition center there must first obtain a Tuition Centre License. Tuition centres must also not be run in a similar manner to that of a school; otherwise, an Education License will be required.

      For further information about business licenses in Malaysia, please contact us at any time.

      Thank you for your question.
      Paul

  26. LIM EE-SVUN December 20, 2019 at 3:19 pm - Reply

    Hi, May i know what is the requirement of setting up a tuition center ya

    • Tiwiyah Kumaran December 23, 2019 at 6:00 pm

      Hello Ee-Svun,

      According to the current laws of Malaysia, anyone who plans to set up a tuition center there must first obtain a Tuition Centre License. Tuition centres must also not be run in a similar manner to that of a school; otherwise, an Education License will be required.

      For further information about business licenses in Malaysia, please contact us at any time.

      Thank you for your question.
      Paul

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