Independent Islamic schools a viable alternative for quality education

Kuala Lumpur, 8 June 2016 – Private Islamic religious schools, currently gaining popularity in Malaysia, are a viable alternative to mainstream schools, says a study published today by the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS).

In IDEAS’ latest publication titled “The Potentials of Independent Religious Schools: A Case Study of Al-Amin”, author Altaf Deviyati examines the case of Sekolah Menengah Islam (SMI) and Sekolah Rendah Islam (SRI) Al-Amin in Gombak and how they are able to deliver quality education.

“The findings from this study reinforce what we have learned about the importance of autonomy in schools. Having a Board of Directors responsible for fundraising and overseeing the school’s finances gives the principal of the school more freedom to focus on delivering quality education, besides creating accountability for the way that the school’s budget is spent,” commented IDEAS’ Chief Executive, Wan Saiful Wan Jan.

“Besides, the school’s autonomy gives a lot of freedom to its teachers. Instead of having to achieve targets set by education officers who may not even have met any students from the school, teachers there can focus on teaching and supporting individual students. They have smaller class sizes and do not have as many administrative duties as teachers in government schools”, added Wan Saiful.

Wan Saiful concluded that “The teachers are also close with the parents, which means that the parents are more involved in their child’s education, These are clear and obvious lessons that we can take from to reform our current school system.”



The Executive Summary and the policy paper can be found here.

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About the Author

Altaf Deviyati Altaf is a member the board of directors of IMAN Research and was previously attached to the Performance Management & Delivery Unit (PEMANDU), Prime Minister’s Office.


IDEAS is Malaysia’s first think-tank dedicated to promoting market-based solutions to public policy challenges. We are an independent not-for-profit organisation. As a cross-partisan think tank, we work across the political spectrum. Our purpose is to advance market-based principles, and we are not bound by party politics, race or religion. Our mission is to improve the level of understanding and acceptance of public policies based on the principles of rule of law, limited government, free markets and free individuals. For more information, please visit

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