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Salary Guide For Public School Teachers In Malaysia

The gift of knowledge is the highest gift of the world.


Teachers, colloquially known by many names like cikgu and lau shi, have been an important influence in modelling us for at least 11 years of our lives. More than teaching the curriculum subjects, they also contribute to the development of the country by instilling values such as patriotism, multiculturalism, and unity among students.  

Held in esteemed regard by society, there have been many inspirational reports on public school teachers going the extra mile for students. Some have, at the cost of their own time and money, spruced up the classrooms, and even bought study materials for their students in rural parts of Malaysia.  

With over 10,000 primary and secondary schools and 9,000 teachers recently hired by the  Ministry of Education for the new school year of 2024, teaching could be a career choice for those who are passionate about educating young minds.   

Read Also: How Much Can You Earn In Malaysia As A Young Graduate (Less Than 5 Years Of Work Experience) 

Teaching In A Public School 

In Malaysia, public education typically refers to primary and secondary schools. Parents are required by law to send their children aged between 7 and 12 years old for a primary school education, where they will learn subjects like Mathematics, Science and English.  

Upon graduating from primary school, students go on to study in a secondary school. From age 13 to 15, students will receive Lower Secondary Education, where they gain more advanced knowledge in various subjects. Then, from age 16 to 17 years old in Upper Secondary Education, students learn subjects such as Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Additional Mathematics and Accounting.    

In addition to teaching these subjects, public school teachers carry out other teaching duties such as planning schoolwork and grading papers, as well as non-teaching duties like organising co-curricular activities.  

The working hours for teachers depend on the respective school operation hours, which may differ according to the school. The morning shift at public schools typically begins from 7.30a.m. to 1.30p.m. while the afternoon shift starts from 1.20p.m. to 6.10p.m. 

In addition, there are generally 4 school term holidays in a year, where teachers get to also enjoy a break from work. However, on some school term holidays, principals may request teachers return to work to supervise exams and conduct preparation meetings. But this may not be for a period of more than half of the holiday term break.     

Requirements Of Being An Education Service Officer 

If you are interested in becoming a public school teacher, you can apply with the Education Services Commission (ESC), a government agency that is responsible for the hiring of employees in education services.  

You will need to fulfil the following basic requirements to teach in a public school: 

  • Must be of Malaysian nationality and be at least 18 years old 
  • Scored at least a ‘C’ in the Malay language subject at the Malaysian Education Certificate/Malaysian Vocational Certificate or an equivalent qualification recognised by the government. 

Interested applicants can also apply to enter the Institute of Teacher Education in Malaysia, which provides training to aspirational teachers according to the standards of the Ministry of Education. 

After successfully completing 8 semesters of studies, trainees will be awarded with a Bachelor of Teaching with Honors and will be qualified to work as primary school teachers. 

Upon appointment, new teachers will be placed on a probationary period of 1 to 3 years. They may also be called upon to attend training and are required to complete a Mind Transformation Programme, which was introduced in 2013 to replace the induction course for new officers.  

Salary Determined By Education Qualifications  

There are basically 2 grade levels of Education Service Officers, also known as Teachers, in the public education system.  

The grade and starting salary of appointed teachers are determined by their academic qualifications. Applicants with a diploma are appointed as Grade DG29 teachers while those with a degree are appointed as Grade DG41 teachers. 

The salary for Grade DG29 teachers ranges from RM1,698 to RM5,717, with an annual increment of RM145. The salary for Grade DG41 teachers can go from RM2,188 to RM9,552. Should they perform well, they could enjoy an annual salary increment of RM225. 

Do note that the following serves only as a guide to the starting salaries of teachers but appointment officers can provide a higher starting salary to those with experience. 

Grade  Qualification  Starting Salary 
Grade DG29 Education Service Officer  Diploma in Education from a local education institution that is recognised by the government or an equivalent qualification   RM1,698.00 
Diploma in a relevant field from a local higher education institution and Post Diploma Teaching Course Certificate that is recognised by the government or an equivalent qualification  RM1,844.44 
Grade DG41 Education Service Officer  Bachelor’s degree in a related field from a local higher education institution as well as a Diploma in Education recognized by the Government or a recognized qualification equivalent to it  RM2,188.00 
Honours bachelor’s degree in the field of education recognized by the government from a local higher education institution or a recognized equivalent qualification  RM2,391.94 
Honours bachelor’s degree in a relevant field from a local institution of higher education as well as a Diploma in Education recognized by the government or a recognized qualification equivalent to it  RM2,391.94 
Master’s degree in a related field from a local institution of higher education as well as a Diploma in Education recognized by the government or a recognized qualification equivalent to it  RM2,902.98 
Doctor of philosophy degree (PhD) in a related field from a local higher education institution as well as a government-recognised Diploma in Education or an equivalent qualification  RM3,209.60 

Getting Benefits As Civil Servants 

On top of the salary, the government accords special benefits to public school teachers to show gratitude for their service.  

Teachers who are considered as civil servants are entitled to monthly pension payments to support their expenses after retirement. Additionally, teachers who serve 30 years or more will be entitled to a maximum monthly pension amount that equals 3/5 or 60% of their last drawn monthly salary. Teachers will also receive a Pension Card that allows them and their eligible dependents including spouse and children to receive free medical aid at government clinics and hospitals.  

The government is currently reviewing the public service remuneration scheme for new hires, where the existing pension scheme may be replaced. Instead, contributions would be made to retirement schemes like the Employee Provident Fund (EPF). Before a new remuneration scheme is introduced, new civil service workers will be hired on a contract basis.

Other perks that teachers can qualify for include the purchase of properties from the Projek Perumahan Penjawat Awam Malaysia (PPAM). These subsidised housing are located in major cities with modern conveniences at prices that are 20% below similar private properties. Some of the projects and the pricing details can be found here. For reference, prices for PPAM projects in Kuala Lumpur start from as low as RM90,000. 

Alternatively, teachers could also apply for housing loans with the Lembaga Pembiayaan Perumahan Sektor Awam (LPPSA) that offers a lower rate of 4% per annum. 

Applying To Become A Public School Teacher 

If you meet the qualification requirements to become a public school teacher, you can check for job openings and apply via ESC.  

You will be required to register for a mySPP account using your Identification Card to fill out your application. Be prepared with the necessary documents on hand to fill in details like your highest academic qualifications and other relevant certifications. 

Are Malaysian Teachers Underpaid Or Overpaid? 

The difference in salaries of teachers in the different types of schools in Malaysia has been a talking point of debate for many years.  

The salaries for teachers at these different schools can differ. Schools that charge higher school fees may be able to offer a higher salary to teachers as compared to public schools. 

Although public school teachers may be offered a lower salary, they are compensated with other benefits like pension payments from the government or other remuneration schemes, free medical treatment and affordable housing. 

Beyond the monetary benefits, teaching may also be rewarding for those seeking a higher purpose of improving the literacy standards in Malaysia and nurture the minds of future leaders. And that can have no price tag attached to it.  

Read Also: Freelancing in Malaysia? Here Are 5 Factors To Consider When Setting Your Rates 


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