Non-tertiary education in Macao has been classified into two types: formal education and continuing education. The former includes kindergartens, primary schooling, secondary schooling (junior and senior section), as well as special education and vocational and technical education. The latter comprises various educational activities other than formal education, including family education, recurrent education, community education, vocational training and other educational activities.
Compulsory education is defined as universal education that is compulsory for all minors aged five to 15. It begins in the first academic year when a child turns five years old, and finishes with the end of the academic year in which he or she reaches 15 years of age, or when he or she completes junior secondary education with a pass. The Government and education institutions are obliged to ensure that school-age children complete such education.
Equality in Receiving Education
Macao is the first region in Greater China to provide 15 years of free education in the stage of normal education, and meanwhile providing tuition fee subsidies to students who are studying in schools that are out of the free education network. The government is providing environment and resources in the development of recurrent education, and relearning opportunities to those have not finished or passed primary, junior secondary and senior secondary school in appropriate age.
Infant education, junior secondary education and senior education last for three years at each stage, and primary education lasts for six years.
Special education is to be conducted preferentially in regular schools in the form of inclusive education; it can also be conducted in special education institutions in other forms.
Courses of vocational and technical education can be established in schools of formal education and recurrent education.
The Government encourages schools to develop their own characteristics and style in terms of mission, curriculum development and teaching mode. The Government also supports the development of a diverse school system to nurture more talent for society.
The Macao school system comprises a free education network of public schools and subsidised private schools, together with private schools. Private schools in Macao can be classified into two types: those following the local education system and those following a non-local education system. Non-profit private schools that follow the local education system may apply for entry to the free education network.
There are 77 schools in Macao during the 2018/2019 academic year, of which 10 are public schools, while the remaining 67 are private.
Among the 67 private schools, 61 offered only formal education, three offered both formal education and recurrent education, and three offered only recurrent education. Among the 74 schools (including 10 public schools and 64 private schools) that offered formal education, 67 were under the free education network, while the remaining 7 were under the paid education network.
Free Education Subsidies and Tuition Fee Subsidies
The Government offers free education subsidies to private schools within the free education network. Students studying in schools that do not provide free education are provided with tuition fee subsidies. The amount of both types of subsidy have been continuously increased.
2018/2019 Academic Year
Free Education Subsidies
2018/2019 Academic Year
Tuition Fee Subsidies
|Kindergarten||MOP 954,900 per class||MOP 19,140 per student|
|Primary||MOP 1,053,400 per class||MOP 21,320 per student|
|Junior Secondary||MOP 1,286,500 per class||MOP 23,800 per student|
|Senior Secondary||MOP 1,463,400 per class||MOP 23,800 per student|
In the 2009/2010 academic year, the Government started to offer textbook allowances to students who are Macao residents receiving formal education (including public and private schools) in Macao.
The textbook allowances for students of secondary and primary schools and kindergarten in the 2018/2019 academic year are MOP 3,300, MOP 2,800 and MOP 2,200 per head. The Government also grants a meal subsidy and school supplies subsidy to students whose family has financial difficulties and meet relevant household income requirements. The meal subsidy for each student is MOP 3,800 in the 2018/2019 academic year; the school supplies subsidy received by each kindergarten and primary school student is MOP 2,500 and secondary school student is MOP 3,250.
Continuing Education Development Plan
To encourage life-long learning among residents, the Government launched the third phase of Continuing Education Development Plan in 2017. Under the plan, Macao residents are encouraged to purse continuing education to improve personal attainments and skills in order to adapt to the development of moderate economic diversification and build a learning society. The third phase of the plan lasts from 11th April 2017 to 31st December 2019, during the period, residents reach 15-year-old or above will be sponsored MOP 6,000, which can be used to participate in local and overseas continuing education programmes, tertiary education and certificate examinations.
List of School Fees (Chinese version only)
Subsidy Scheme for Enrolment of Outstanding Students to Pedagogical Programmes
Starting from the 2012/2013 academic year, the Government launched the Subsidy Scheme for Enrolment of Outstanding Students to Pedagogical Programmes, to subsidise outstanding students to study in bachelor’s degree programmes with pedagogical training. The students are required to work in schools in Macao after completing the programmes.
Subvention Scheme for Training Portuguese-speaking Teachers and Language Experts
The Subvention Scheme for Training Portuguese-speaking Teachers and Language Experts implemented from the 2013/2014 to 2017/2018 academic year, to subsidise high school graduates to pursue bachelor’s degrees in Portuguese and Spanish languages and master’s degrees in education, and bachelor’s degrees and/or master’s degrees in applied foreign languages in Portugal. The Government also reached a cooperation agreement with the Catholic University of Portugal, to organise preparatory courses on Portuguese language and culture for Macao students who will pursue studies in Portugal. Students who have attained a pass in the courses will be directly enrolled into the above-mentioned programmes offered by the university. Upon graduation, the students are obliged to serve in Macao and be engaged in Portuguese language teaching or jobs related to the Portuguese language.
In order to further support Macao's high school graduates to study different higher education programs in Portugal, the SAR Government has launched the “Program for Cultivating Chinese-Portuguese Bilingual Talents in Multi-fields” since the 2018/2019 academic year to subsidize their study in Portugal, and worked more closely with the Catholic University of Portugal to provide a total of 13 bachelor degree programs for Macao students to choose from. At the same time, preparatory courses on Portuguese language and Portuguese culture are offered for the students concerned. Those who successfully complete the courses will be allowed take one of the 13 bachelor degree programs in different fields of study at the University. After graduation, the students participating in the Program must fulfill their commitment to provide services in Macao.
Macao only started to develop modern tertiary education some 30 years ago. Since there were only a few tertiary education institutions in the early days, the range of programmes and disciplines offered by these institutions was relatively limited. However, as the number of institutions increased, and society demanded different types of expertise, the types of programme have diversified, nurturing talents that are needed for Macao.
Macao has 10 tertiary educational institutions. Four of them are public and six are private, including teaching and research integrated universities, polytechnic institute emphasizes on applied knowledge and skills, academies nurturing elites in tourism and MICE, gaming, nursing and senior management.
In addition, overseas institutions were granted approval to offer 23 tertiary educational programmes in 2018.
Higher Education Bureau
The Higher Education Bureau is a government department under the Office of the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, responsible for assistance, follow-up and the development of higher education in Macau. It was formerly the Tertiary Education Services Office (GAES) established in 1992, and was renamed as Higher Education Bureau on 2019, through the reorganization of functions and structure.
Promote the Cultivation of Diverse Talents
In line with the moderate and diversified development direction of Macao's economy, its positioning of becoming "one center, one platform", and the goals of building Macao into a regional tourism education and training base in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the "Training Base for Cultivating Chinese-Portuguese Bilinguals”, DSES has been listening to the needs of higher educational institutions in Macao in recent years through the communication mechanism established with them, and has further introduced different incentives to support and actively promote the training of different types of talents.
In 2016, the “Specialized Subsidy Scheme for Training of Bilingual Talents of Chinese and Portuguese Languages and Cooperation of Education and Research for Macao Higher Education Institutions” was launched to support the higher educational institutions in the developing various training programs for Portuguese-speaking talents, and the level of support has increased year by year. By May 2019, funding has been provided to five universities in Macao to carry out 99 projects related to R&D teaching materials, teacher training, creating online courses, teaching and research cooperation, and studies on Portuguese-speaking countries.
In 2019, the “Specialized Subsidy Scheme for the Tourism Education and Training for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area” and the “Specialized Subsidy Scheme for Macao Higher Education Institutions in the Area of Research in Humanities and Social Sciences” have been launched to give full play to Macao’s academic advantages in tourism education and training through special fund, promoting the cooperation between the educational institutions from Macao and other regions in higher education.
Promote Exchanges and Cooperation in line with National Development
The "Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area" was introduced in February this year, and before being adopted for "building the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area", the plan was officially written in the national strategy of "Vision and Actions on Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road" in March 2015 for the first time, tightening the cooperation and exchanges between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao in the field of higher education. Later, in response to the country's major development direction, the plan was deepen on the basis of the original content. In addition to strengthening cooperation in running schools, scientific research and humanities exchanges, a number of cooperative institutions have been established, including the “Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau University Alliance”, “Innovation and Entrepreneurship Alliance for Guangdong, Hong Kong & Macao Universities”, “Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau University Library Alliance”, giving full play to the advantages and promote organic integration and common development of the three places. Among them, the “Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau University Alliance” consists of 7 higher education institutions from Macao namely the University of Macau, Macao Polytechnic Institute, Macao Institute for Tourism Studies, Macau University of Science and Technology, City University of Macau, University of Saint Joseph and Kiang Wu Nursing College of Macau.
In October 2018, DSES co-hosted the “First Forum for Heads of Higher Education Institutions of China and Portuguese-Speaking Countries” with the University of Macau and the University of Saint Joseph. Representatives from more than 70 universities and higher education institutions in the Mainland, Hong Kong, Macao and Portuguese-speaking countries gathered in Macao to discuss the development prospects and opportunities of higher education under the “Belt and Road Initiative”. At the forum, participating universities and institutions interested in strengthening cooperation and exchanges in education, culture and economic areas took the opportunity to join the “Declaration of Collaboration in Higher Education”. Later, in March 2019, the forum organizers jointly built the website of the Higher Education Information Platform of China and Portuguese-speaking countries, invited the universities and higher education institutions participating in the forum, and more than 40 universities with Portuguese language courses in the Mainland to be its members. The platform provides information on academic activities in higher education, teacher-student exchanges, research cooperation, support measures, and information dissemination and translation services for members, aiming to encourage the higher educational institutions from Macao, the Mainland, Portuguese-speaking countries and even more different countries to use the platform to publish information, promote multi-party interaction and exchange, and create more extensive cooperation opportunities for each other.
Coordinate the enrollment of Macao universities in the Mainland
In 2019, the University of Macau, the Macao Polytechnic Institute, the Macao Institute for Tourism Studies, the Macau University of Science and Technology, the City University of Macau and the Kiang Wu Nursing College of Macau continued be approved by the Ministry of Education to recruit undergraduate and graduate students in 31 provinces/municipalities/autonomous regions in the Mainland.
Coordinate the enrollment of mainland universities in Macau
High-education office is one of the entry points for mainland universities to enroll undergraduates and postgraduates from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.
In the 2019/2020 academic year, the number of students, overseas Chinese, students from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan regions (Macao region) registering for the examination of college course is 282, and that of students without examination is 1,138. Besides, 418 students registered for the examination of postgraduate courses in mainland China (Macao region).
In addition, with the approval of Chinese ministry of education, 10 mainland universities have admitted Macao students by the results of the "four-university joint examination" in Macao. Colleges and universities will set the minimum admission score or interview requirements according to the results of the "four-school joint examination".
Tertiary Studies and Career Information and Related Activities
The government of the SAR provides residents with information on higher education, employment and social affairs through a web-based information platform. "Macau community of tertiary students" and "College education information network for higher education" have been set up. Mobile applications and other new media platforms to spread relevant information conveniently.
On the other hand, the Centre for Higher Education Students provides information related to further education, employment and starting up business.
The DESE also holds various activities such as seminars, sharing sessions, online chats, to provide residents with information of pursuing studies in different countries, as well as to understand the development and certification of different professions, at the same time encourage residents to get themselves prepared for their future careers.
Tertiary Student Activities
The Tertiary Education Services Office actively establishes exchange platforms for students of tertiary institutions, with a view to developing their worldview, strengthening their general knowledge and language competence, and encouraging them to go abroad for exchanges and learning, to broaden their global vision. To enrich the extracurricular life of tertiary students and facilitate their all-round development, the Tertiary Education Services Office organises a wide variety of competitions and activities for them every year. It also works with different community groups and organisations in organising various competitions and activities related to culture, sports and professional skills.
Subsidies for Tertiary Student Activities
Through the Higher Education Fund, DSES supports the activities of higher education students, encourages student associations, non-government organizations and Macao students to actively launch and participate in activities that are in line with students' interests, promote whole-person development and respond to the SAR Government's policy objectives. As of June 30, 2019, a total of 29 tertiary student associations, 29 non-government organizations, 4 higher education institutions and 2 tertiary students were sponsored to hold a total of 449 events, with a total funding of approximately MOP 8.8 million.
Disbursing Postgraduate Scholarships
Since 2019, the postgraduate scholarships have been approved and issued by the Higher Education Fund, and the relevant administrative support has been provided by the Higher Education Bureau.
For the 2019/2020 academic year, there are 137 postgraduate scholarship slots, including 2 for successive bachelor’s and master’s degrees, 105 for master's degrees, 5 for successive master’s and doctoral degrees and 25 for the doctoral degrees.
In addition, the Social Welfare Bureau will again award an additional scholarship to the student who attains the highest mark in the master's degree program within the area of “social work, social security, social welfare” in the 2019/2020 academic year. Meanwhile, the Talents Development Committee has had up to 3 scholarship slots open for those who have enrolled in or been admitted to the master’s degree programs at the University of Coimbra in Portugal in the 2019/2020 academic year. Moreover, up to 6 scholarship slots are available for those going to study for the master’s degree programs and 2 scholarship slots for the doctoral degree programs in the higher education institution members of the Alliance of Rectors of Portuguese Universities.
Textbooks and Stationery Allowances for Tertiary Students
In 2019, the Government provided a MOP 3,000 allowance for textbooks and stationery to each local tertiary student studying in Macao and overseas.
Interest Subsidy Scheme for Language Training of University Graduates
The scheme was first launched in March 2017, which allows Macau’s degree-holding permanent residents to apply for a loan if they have enrolled in training programmes of languages abroad. The scheme collaborates with local banks to provide loans covering tuition, cost of living and transportation fees.
Tertiary Education Quality Assurance
In order to ensure the quality of higher education, promote the development of higher education, improve the academic, teaching and research level of higher education institutions, and ensure the quality and continuous improvement of higher education programs, Macao’s “Higher Education Quality Evaluation System” was officially implemented in August 2018. It is set at both the institutional level and program level. The institutional level includes Institutional Accreditation and Institutional Quality Audit. The Institutional Accreditation can be applied by institutions seeking to be qualified to self-regulate and offer programs, thereby enhancing the autonomy and flexibility of the institutions in terms of running schools and developing curriculum, whereas the Institutional Quality Audit reviews the operation of higher education institutions on a regular basis to identify their good practices and room for improvement.
At program level there are Program Accreditation and Program Review. The former evaluates whether the newly opened programs of the higher education institutions or the programs that have been substantially changed can achieve the objectives and learning outcomes. The Program Review looks into the quality and room for improvement of the higher education programs on a regular basis for the purpose of continuous enhancement.
In order to better implement the Higher Education Quality Evaluation System and to set relevant principles and procedures, the Higher Education Bureau has also developed five evaluation guidelines for institutions and external appraisal agencies, including the Guidelines on Institutional Accreditation, Guidelines on Institutional Quality Audit, Guidelines on Program Accreditation, Guidelines on Program Review and Guidelines for External Quality Assurance Agencies.
Therefore, in order to ensure that the evaluation meets the requirements of Macao, institutions must select appropriate external appraisal agencies and conduct evaluation in accordance with the requirements of the above guidelines. In addition, the SAR Government invites experts and scholars in the field of quality assurance in higher education to form a quality evaluation panel for the executive authorities to seek advice from.
Processing Applications for Subsidies for Macao Tertiary Institutions and Professional Development Subsidies for Teaching and Research Staff
To assist tertiary institutions with improving their teaching equipment and facilities, the Government has begun working on raising education quality, and encouraging the institutions’ teaching staff to actively participate in and commence academic and professional activities that are conducive to their personal and professional development. The Tertiary Education Services Office processes applications for subsidies for Macao tertiary institutions and subsidies for professional development of tertiary teaching staff in Macao.
In 2018, subsidies were granted for 11 projects on the optimisation of teaching equipment and improvement of teaching and scientific research quality, 35 projects on professional development of teaching staff, and 7 projects on activities related to tertiary education organised by student organisations. Total MOP 15,480,000.
Tertiary Educational Institutions
The University of Macau (UM) is an international public integrated university providing the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Faculty of Business Administration, Faculty of Education, Faculty of Health Sciences. Faculty of Law, Faculty of Social Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, Institute of Chinese Medical Sciences, Institute of Applied Physics and Materials Engineering, Institute of Collaborative Innovation and Honours College.
UM has established three State Key Laboratories in the area of microelectronics, Chinese medicine and the Internet of Things for smart city, among which the State Key Laboratory of Internet of Things for Smart City was approved by the Ministry of Science and Technology in 2018 to promote the development of Macao into a smart city. In addition, UM is ranked among the top 400 in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings and 501-500 in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings in 2018.
Founded in September 1991, Macao Polytechnic Institute (MPI) is a publicly-funded, multi-disciplinary and practice-oriented tertiary academy. It is the first institution in Macao that has passed the evaluation of the UK Higher Education Quality Assurance Agency (QAA). It has 6 schools, including School of Languages and Translation, School of Business, School of Applied Sciences, School of Health Sciences and Sports, School of Arts, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and several research and training centres.
MPI features notable strengths in its unique programs spanning such domains as Portuguese language, gaming, computers, and English language. Most of the degree programs offered by MPI, which are practice-oriented and have a dual focus on knowledge and skills, have been approved by international authoritative accreditation agencies.
The Macao Institute for Tourism Studies (IFT) has now 8 bachelor degree programs with the UNWTO.TedQual Certification. Currently, the Institute has the most number of bachelor degree programs certified under the System. In 2017, IFT becomes the world’s first higher education institution to pass International Quality Review (IQR) from UK’s Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA). In the same year, the QS World University Rankings in the subject area of Hospitality and Leisure Management in 2017 was launched and IFT ranked among the top 50 of the ranking.
IFT has built an extensive global connection network with industrial partner and its teaching staff come from around the world. It provides hundreds of professional training programs that attract employed persons.
Established in July l988, the Academy of Public Security Forces is a public tertiary education institution under the jurisdiction of the Secretary for Security responsible for training the senior officers of Macao’s public security forces. The “Officer Training Program” of the Academy lasts for 4 academic years followed by a 6-month internship. Students who successfully complete the program will be awarded the “Bachelor’s Degree in Police Science” in the public security police department or the “Bachelor’s Degree in Protection and Safety Engineering” in the fire fighter department. The “Security Force Training Program” provides professional technical training for junior trainees of the public security forces so that they can meet requirements on ethics, physicality and professional techniques. The Academy also provides on-the-job training for the promotion and professional development of public security force officers.
The City University of Macau received its name in 2011 following the transfer of ownership in September 2010 and is a private university providing tertiary education. The university comprises Faculties of Business, International Tourism and Management, Humanities and Social Sciences, Education, Law, Urban Management and Studies, the School of Continuing Studies, as well as the Open Institute. It has established 11 research institutions, including the Research Centre for Macau Social and Economic Development, Institute for Research on Portuguese-speaking Countries, Macau “One Belt, One Road” Research Centre, Institute of Data Science and Institute of Analytical Psychology.
The University of Saint Joseph (USJ), previously known as the Macau Inter-University Institute (IIUM), is a private university established in 1996 by the Catholic Foundation for Higher Education and renamed University of Saint Joseph in December 2009. USJ officially moved its main campus to Ilha Verde in September 2017 and currently has 3 campuses. It comprises the Faculty of Religious Studies, Faculty of Humanities, School of Business and Law, Faculty of Social Sciences, Faculty of Creative Industries, Institute of Science and Environment and Lifelong Learning Office. Except for the Master’s Degree of Lusophone Studies in Linguistics and Literature taught in Portuguese and the Bachelor’s Degree in Portuguese-Chinese Translation Studies taught in Chinese and Portuguese, the remaining degree programs are taught in English.
The Kiang Wu Nursing College of Macau - formerly the Kiang Wu Nursing and Midwifery School - was established in 1923. It became a private tertiary college in November 1999, and is the longest-standing nursing educational institution in Macao. It is rated with confidence and recognized with four features of good practice at its Institutional Quality Audit conducted by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) of the United Kingdom. It also promotes the “biliteracy and trilingualism” teaching policy focusing on English, Cantonese and Mandarin and inter-professional learning and outcome-based education are strengthened.
The Macau University of Science and Technology (MUST) is a private university established in March 2000. It was the first non-profit integrated university to be established for the training of gifted students in applied technology since the founding of the Macao SAR. The university comprises the Faculty of Information Technology, School of Business, Faculty of Law, Faculty of Chinese Medicine, Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Faculty of Humanities and Arts, Faculty of Medicine, University International College, School of Pharmacy, School of Graduate Studies, Department of General Education and School of Continuing Studies.
It has also established several research institutes and research centres, including the State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine, the State Key Laboratory of Lunar and Planetary Science, the Key Research Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences Partner Base and Joint Laboratories of the Ministry of Education, the Biophysics Laboratory for Chinese Medicine, etc. The University Hospital under the MUST Foundation is a base of clinical teaching, research and internships for the Faculty of Chinese Medicine and the Faculty of Medicine.
Macau Institute of Management (MIM) was established in 1988. It is the academic arm of the Macau Management Association, specializing in providing education and training services. Approved by the Macao SAR Government in July 2000, MIM was upgraded to become a higher education institution that offers training for management professionals.
MIM offers the Bachelor of Business Administration degree program (four years), Associate of Business Administration diploma program (two years) and the diploma program (one year), adopting an integrative learning approach in addition to face-to-face teaching. Students can arrange their on-line class time according to their own schedule. It also works with an overseas university in jointly organizing a Master’s degree program.
The Macau Millennium College is a private tertiary education institution established in August 2001. To accommodate the needs of shift workers, the college offers ‘shift classes for shift workers.’ The two shift classes have identical lecture content. Students can choose to attend either the morning or evening sessions. Lecturers are mainly internationally renowned professors from the University of Hong Kong and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.