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 2016/2017 academic year, of which 10 are public schools, while the remaining 67 are private.
Among the 67 private schools, 59 offered only formal education, five 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, 65 were under the free education network, while the remaining 9 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.
2016/2017 Academic Year
Free Education Subsidies
2016/2017 Academic Year
Tuition Fee Subsidies
|Kindergarten||MOP 913,600 per class||MOP 18,400 per student|
|Primary||MOP 1,007,900 per class||MOP 20,500 per student|
|Junior Secondary||MOP 1,226,000 per class||MOP 22,800 per student|
|Senior Secondary||MOP 1,394,600 per class||MOP 22,800 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 2016/2017 academic year are MOP 3,000, MOP 2,600 and MOP 2,000 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 3,400 in the 2016/2017 academic year; the school supplies subsidy received by each kindergarten and primary school student is MOP 2,200 and secondary school student is MOP 2,900.
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 2017, 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.
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 has been implemented since the 2013/2014 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.
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 34 tertiary educational programmes in 2016.
The Tertiary Education Services Office
Established in 1992 and currently headed by the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture of the Macao SAR Government, the Tertiary Education Services Office (GAES) is a government department that coordinates, follows up and develops tertiary education in Macao.
Processing Applications to Launch and Revise Programmes
In 2016, the Tertiary Education Services Office processed 52 applications by Macao educational institutions intending to launch new programmes or revise old ones. It approved 31 of these applications; two were withdrawn by the institutions concerned, and 19 applications were pending. The office also handled 24 applications from overseas tertiary educational institutions seeking to establish, revise or continue running programmes. A total of 20 such applications were approved, and four were pending by the year-end.
Promoting Exchanges and Cooperation in Tertiary Education
The Tertiary Education Services Office continues to facilitate various external cooperation projects within the tertiary education field, including the promotion of cooperation between Macao and mainland China in tertiary education by coordinating related work with mainland China authorities in accordance with the framework agreement on the joint construction of Cuiheng New District, Zhongshan and Guangdong-Macao Teritary Education Exchange and Co-operation; the implementation of various agreements entered into with the Ministry of Education, the State Ethnic Affairs Commission, Guangdong Province and Portugal, to continue expanding the scope of external cooperation regarding Macao’s tertiary education.
Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao University Alliance was established in 15 November 2016, and its founding ceremony was held in Guangzhou. There are 26 high schools in the alliance, creating the “One-hour academic circle” between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, and extending current effort in nurturing talents, fostering students’ innovation exchange and scientific collaboration. The high schools comprise of 10 from Guangzhou Provence, nine from Hong Kong and seven from Macao ( University of Macao, Macao Polytechnic Institute, Institute for Tourism Studies, Macao University of Science and Technology, City University of Macau, University of Saint Joseph and Kiang Wu Nursing College of Macau.
Also, in late October, the Tertiary Education Services Office was invited to participate in the third Joint Conference of Jiangsu Province, Macau and Portuguese Speaking Countries, hosted by Jiangsu Provincial Department of Education and organized by Yangzhou University. At the conference, the Constitution of the University Cooperation Alliance of Jiangsu, Macao and Portuguese-Speaking Countries was adopted, and participant discussed cooperation and signed agreement on cooperation .
The Tertiary Education Services Office organised delegations of Macao tertiary institutions to visit Taipei and Bangkok to participate in theUniversity and Vocation Institution Admission Expo and the OCSC International Education Expo, in February and November respectively, with a view to promoting Macao’s tertiary education.
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
The Tertiary Education Services Office encourages student organisations to organise activities that meet students’ interests through the Tertiary Student Activity Fund. In 2016, 62 organisations (including non-profit tertiary student groups and community groups) and seven tertiary students were subsidised to organise and participate in 379 tertiary student activities.
Disbursing Postgraduate Scholarships
The Tertiary Education Services Office is responsible for supporting the disbursement of postgraduate scholarships provided by the Postgraduate Scholarships Grants Committee to Macao residents since 2004. Besides, the Social Welfare Bureau is disbursing an extra placement of postgraduate scholarship to the best student in Master of Social Work and related fields in 2016/2017.
Textbooks and Stationery Allowances for Tertiary Students
In 2016, the Government provided a 3,000-pataca allowance for textbooks and stationery to each local tertiary and postgraduate student studying in Macao and overseas. Out of 32,068 applicants, 33,310 satisfied the requirements and were granted the allowance.
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 Putonghua, Portuguese, or English abroad. The scheme collaborates with local banks to provide loans covering tuition, cost of living and transportation fees.
Tertiary Education Quality Assurance
The purpose of the tertiary education quality assurance is to further optimise the tertiary education system in Macao, and to promote the continuous improvement in the quality of its tertiary institutions.
The Government is progressively launching relevant work in tertiary education quality assurance, the first phase of Program Accreditation has completed and adjustment of the Program Accreditation Guidelines, and the External Appraisal Agency Guidelines. Meanwhile, Institution Accreditation Guidelines and the Institution Quality Certification Guidelines have been uploaded to the website of the Tertiary Education Services Office for residents’ reference. Also, the Tertiary Education Services Office has commissioned a professional research team to conduct the Program Accreditation pilot scheme, to study the feasibility of the guidelines, and allow the institutions to have hands-on experience of the scheme.
To strengthen the connection with international quality assurance organisation, the Tertiary Education Services Office participated in the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE) held in Fiji in May and Asia-Pacific Quality Network (APQN) seminar, to probe into Tertiary Education Quality related issues, and understands the latest information and development trendency.
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 2016, subsidies were granted for 12 projects on the optimisation of teaching equipment and improvement of teaching and scientific research quality, 23 projects on professional development of teaching staff, and four projects on activities related to tertiary education organised by student organisations.
Specialized Subsidy Scheme for Training for Bilingual Talents of Chinese and Portuguese Languages and Cooperation of Education and Research for Macau Higher Education Institution
In order to facilitate the establishment of the “Chinese-Portuguese Bilingual Talent Training Base”, the Specialized Subsidy Scheme was launched in 2016, aiming at continuously facilitating the development of training of bilingual talents of Chinese and Portuguese languages in Macau, as well as the collaboration of higher education between Macao and Mainland China, other Asia-Pacific regions or Portuguese-speaking countries. In 2016, subsidies were granted to 22 eligible projects.
Tertiary Education Information and Admission Services
The goverment has established a tertiary education information website and Student Blog to provide information about tertiary education, employment and current affairs to the public. It also utilizes mobile apps as well as new media platforms to conveniently publicize related information to the public.
The Centre for Higher Education Students provide information regarding higher education, business start-up, employment, and counselling on pursuing further education.
The Tertiary Education Services Office also organised various activities such as seminars, sharing, online chat, to provide information in further studies in different countries and regions, as well as development of different professions and professional certification, encouraging residents to get well prepared for the future.
Tertiary Educational Institutions
The University of Macau is an international public integrated university providing the faculties of Arts and Humanities; Business Administration; Education; Health Sciences; Law; Social Sciences; Science and Technology; Institute of Applied Physics and Material Engineering; Institute of Chinese Medical Sciences; and Honours College. The major medium of instruction is English, while some programmes are taught in Chinese, Portuguese or Japanese.
The new campus of the University of Macau was fully opened in 2014. In the 2015/2016 academic year, the University of Macau was dedicated to raising its academic and research capabilities, pursuing teaching and research excellence, expanding its international network, and optimising the four-in-one mode of education and residential colleges system, with a view to enriching the university experience and providing all-round support for students to develop their soft skills in tandem with academic achievements. The University of Macau ranked among the world’s top 400 universities in the Times Higher Education in academic year 2016/2017; ranked 88 in the 150 Under 50 Rankings; ranked 50 in the Asia University Rankings and ranked 6 in the Most International Universities in the World. These good rankings testify to the increasing competitiveness of the university in many areas.
Founded in September 1991, the Macao Polytechnic Institute (MPI) is a public and multidisciplinary tertiary educational institution offering practically-oriented programmes. It is the first institution in Macao that has passed the assessment of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA). It has numerous teaching departments, including schools of Languages and Translation; Business; Public Administration; Physical Education and Sports; Arts; Health Sciences; and several research centres and vocational training institutes. It also offers more than 10 joint master’s degree programmes and doctorate programmes in cooperation with renowned universities in China and overseas.
Officially established in 1995, the Institute for Tourism Studies (IFT) is a public tertiary education institution. Its mission is to quip students with knowledge and technical competence for their future leadership responsibilities in the tourism industry. IFT was the first education institute to obtain the TedQual Certification by the United Nations World Tourism Organization.
It offers degree and professional programmes in a wide range of tourism-related disciplines such as hospitality, tourism business, heritage, events, retail and marketing, leisure and entertainment, sports and recreation, creative and cultural studies, and culinary arts. IFT also provides various programmes at the executive level in partnership with leading schools in the world and has a extensive connection network with cooperation partner over the world.
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 Academy of Public Security Forces offers training course for senior police officers and fire officers, trainee obtains a pass in the training will be awarded respective bachelor degree. The Security Force Training Course offered by the Academy’s training centre 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,. In the 2015/2016 academic year, the main campus was relocated to its new Taipa site.
The predecessor of the University of Saint Joseph, the Macau Inter-University Institute (IIUM), was established in 1996 and renamed University of Saint Joseph in December 2009. It is a private university providing a Faculty of Religious Studies, Faculty of Humanities, Faculty of Administration and Leadership, Faculty of Psychology and Education, Faculty of Creative Industries, Institute of Science and Environment as well as Lifelong Learning.
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 MSAR.
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 Health Sciences, School of Pharmacy and University International College. It also includes the School of Graduate Studies, School of Continuing Studies, Department of General Education, Macao Academy of Cinematic Arts, Macao Institute for Applied Research in Medicine and Health, the Space Science Institute, the State Key Laboratory for Quality Research in Chinese Medicine (Macau University of Science and Technology), the Lunar and Planetary Science Laboratory of the MUST (partner state key laboratory of the Ministry of Science and Technology) etc.
The University Hospital, a subsidiary of the Macau University of Science and Technology Foundation, provides facilities for clinical teaching, scientific research and clinical practice by the Faculty of Chinese Medicine and Faculty of Health Sciences.
The academic arm of the Macau Management Association, specialising in providing education and training services, Macau Institute of Management (MIM) was established in 1988. With Government approval in July 2000, MIM was upgraded to become a higher education institution offering degree programmes in management and accounting for people working in various industries in Macao in order to nurture business talent.
The institute offers a four-year Bachelor of Business Administration degree programme, a two-year Associate of Business Administration Diploma Program in Accounting and a one-year Professional Diploma programme adopting an integrative learning approach. In addition to face-to-face teaching, it provides electronic learning whereby students can arrange their on-line class time according to their own schedule. It also works with an overseas university in jointly organising a Master’s degree programme.
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.