Education in Penang

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This articles concerns the educational institutions of Penang. There are 271 primary schools and 125 secondary schools in Penang.

English Schools[edit]

Penang boasts of a good system of education stretching back to the early days of the British administration. Many of the public schools in Penang are among the oldest in the country and even in the region as a whole. Most notable of these are:

  • Penang Free School, the oldest English school in the country. This is the former school of Tunku Abdul Rahman, the nation's founding Prime Minister, a Perlis Ruler, the legendary Malaysian actor/singer Tan Sri P.Ramlee, the present king, as well as numerous great personalities of the nation (founded in 1816 by Anglican missionaries).
  • St. Xavier's Institution, also one of the oldest and most established schools in Malaysia that is at the forefront of the Malaysian education scene, both academically and co-curricularly.
  • Convent Light Street, also the oldest girls' school in Penang with resides side to side with St. Xavier's Institution

These pioneer schools formed the backbone of Malaysia's early education system which has educated generations of rulers, prime ministers, chief ministers, lawmakers, politicians, professionals and people of social standing.

Fully residential schools/ Sekolah berasrama penuh (SBP)[edit]

  • Sekolah Menengah Sains Tun Syed Sheh Shahabudin
  • Sekolah Menengah Sains Kepala Batas

MARA Junior Science College[edit]

  • MJSC Balik Pulau
  • MJSC Ulul Albab Kepala Batas
  • MJSC Transkrian

Chinese schools[edit]

Penang Chinese school has also long been the centre of a well-developed schooling system. These schools were set up by local Chinese associations with donations from philanthropists, and have historically attracted students from Chinese communities in Thailand and Indonesia, where Chinese education was banned.

  • Chung Ling High School, (founded 9 February 1917) the alma mater of Penang's ex-Chief Minister, Singapore's Minister of Health and one of the key education institutions that help built the nation and the region of South East Asia.
  • Heng Ee School, was founded in 1952 by Datuk Father Arthur Julian, a Belgian missionary who arrived Penang from China in 1952. He established Heng Ee Primary School in 1952, followed by Heng Ee High School in 1957 then 1969, Heng Ee Kindergarten.
  • Penang Chinese Girls' High School,founded by four prominent members of the Hokkien community, Mr Tan Sin Chen, Mr Lim Lu Teck, Mr Khor Sen Lee and Mr Cheah Seng Tin on 8 March 1920.
  • Union High School,(founded 1928) Union was founded by some charitable Christian believers. During 1942 Japanese colonisation, Union had been occupied by Japanese military use. One of the all-girls schools in Penang.
  • Jit Sin School, is founded by an organisation, Fu De Zheng Shen, in 1818. Later, the school has developed into the Jit Sin Primary School - A and B school, Jit Sin High School, Jit Sin (Private) High School and Jit Sin Kindergarten.
  • Chung Hwa Confucian School (founded 1904) is one of the oldest formal Chinese Schools in Malaysia and is the first to use Mandarin as the medium of instruction instead of the Chinese dialects.
  • Phor Tay High School, (founded 1940) is the first Buddhism's school in Malaysia.
  • Jit Sin High School started in 1949 and shared the same history of Jit Sin School. They have set the benchmark for all government examinations - PMR, SPM & STPM, and all kinds of inter-school competitions, especially Chinese Orchestra.
  • Han Chiang School, was founded in 1919 by notable businessman Lim Lean Teng and The Teochew Association of Penang. Today, Han Chiang consists of 3 schools: SJK(C) Han Chiang, Han Chiang High School, Han Chiang College who excel in various categories. Han Chiang is also the first school in Malaysia to provide education from primary level to college level.
  • Convent Datuk Keramat, was founded by Rev. Mother Tarcisius in 1935.

International schools[edit]

International schools in Penang
School Curriculum Campus(es) Level Established Remarks
GEMS International School, Pearl City, Penang [5] British Curriculum No. 2, Persiaran Mutiara 5, Pusat Komersial Bandar Tasek Mutiara, 14120 Simpang Ampat, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia Age 3 to 18 Founded in 1959
  • It is owned by GEMS Education, the world leader in K-12 education with an international network of 90 schools in 13 countries.
  • Founder and chairman of GEMS Education is a member of Harvard University's prestigious Global Advisory Council.[1]
  • GEMS Education to expand in India and South East Asia[2]
The International School of Penang (Uplands) British curriculum Batu Ferringhi British curriculum International school accredited through the International Baccalaureate and Cambridge International Exams. Located in Batu Ferringhi.
St. Christopher's International Primary School British curriculum Gurney/Pulau Tikus Primary school based on the British education system. Located in the Gurney/Pulau Tikus area.
Straits International School British curriculum Kuala Lumpur based school with a Penang campus. Located in the south part of the island, closer to the airport. British curriculum based education and brand new in 2012, they have been offering open houses periodically every year.
Dalat International School International Tanjung Bungah American Christian International school accredited through ACSI and WASC. Located in Tanjung Bungah. Offers boarding for students.
Fairview International School International Baccalaureate Bukit Jambul Kuala Lumpur based school with a Penang campus located in Bukit Jambul. International Baccalaureate based education.
Tenby International School Cambridge curriculum Cambridge based education with more Malaysian influence. Tenby International School shares a campus with the Malaysian private school, with both schools together called the Tenby Schools.
Pelita International School Cambridge curriculum Cambridge International Education based system. This is the international school part of a larger system with other schools around Penang.
Prince of Wales Island International School Cambridge curriculum close to Balik Pulau Located on the west side of the island, close to Balik Pulau, Prince of Wales opened in 2011. They do have a bus system that picks up students from all over the island, as well as having brand new dormitory facilities for boarding students. Cambridge-based education, they are part of the Council of British International Schools.

Tertiary Education[3][edit]


Private Colleges[edit]


  • Politeknik Seberang Perai
  • Politeknik Balik Pulau
  • Politeknik METrO Tasek Gelugor


  1. ^ "Dubai educator Sunny Varkey on Harvard's Global Advisory Council", Khaleej Times, 12 Oct 2016
  2. ^ "Gems Education to expand in India and South East Asia", The National, 18 Jan 2017
  3. ^ "Pusat Pengajian Tinggi Awam" (xls).