There are secondary school students who’s not interested in the conventional “academic” focused school and do not want to continue their studies. They often intend to suspend their studies after finishing Form 3 assessment (PT3) and also unable to further study. The reason these students did not further their studies is because they do not know that there is a different route for them to further their studies. And that is, the Technical Secondary School (Sekolah Menengah Teknik, SMT) and Vocational Colleges (Kolej Vokasional, KV). Besides that, there is also a Sports Secondary School (Sekolah Sukan Menengah, SSM)!

Are you aware of the existence of Technical Secondary School (SMT), Vocational College (KV) and Sports Secondary School (SSM)? That’s right, these schools are just less popular. The conventional Government Secondary School (SMK) and Chinese Secondary School (SMJK) are not the only type of school in MOE! We will row you through each type of these schools, so read on.

1. Technical Secondary School (Sekolah Menengah Teknik, SMT)

Main objective of SMT

The main objective of SMT is to train professionals in engineering or non-engineering fields (such as agriculture and trade).

Like ordinary secondary schools, the curriculum of  SMT includes some compulsory subjects. They are Bahasa Melayu, English, Mathematics, Islamic studies/Moral education, History, and Physical and Health education. The elective subjects vary depending on the selected stream. For example, the subjects in Civil Engineering Streams include: Civil Engineering Research, Engineering Drawing, Advanced Math, Chemistry and Physics. The course of technical secondary school lasts for 2 years, which is also Form 4 and Form 5. Besides that, students need to apply for the Malaysian Education’s Diploma (SPM) exam after completing the course.

How many SMT are there?

Right now, there are a total of 9 technical secondary schools nationwide. They are located in Kedah, Penang, Pahang, Terengganu, Kuala Lumpur, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Johor and Sarawak. If you want to find out what “streams” (jurusan) are offered my SMT, you can visit the official website of MOE below:

2. Vocational College (Kolej Vokasional, KV)

Main objective of KV

The main objective of the KV is to train professionals with skills to meet the needs of the industry in the market. This not only provides students with one more choice to continue their studies, but also provides a good opportunity for students who want to study vocational studies in their related fields.

KV offers more than 30 different skill courses, including courses in beauty, car repair, air-conditioning repair and maintenance, baking, fashion design, graphic design, carpentry, etc. In addition to learning knowledge in related professional fields, students can also master related skills after completing their studies. This is because their course content has a balanced theoretical (academic) and practical (hands-on) components. Students can directly devote themselves to related industries.

The course of KV is a 4-year system. First, student need to complete the first 2-year of Sijil Vokasional Malaysia (SVM) course. This course is similar level to Form 4 and Form 5 Sijil Pendidikan Malaysia (SPM). The only difference of SVM and SPM is, SVM are “skill” oriented meanwhile SPM is “academic” oriented. And, the only similarities between SVM and SPM is the subject Bahasa Melayu is mandatory. After completing that, students need to apply for the Malaysian Technical and Vocational Education Diploma (Diploma Vokasional Malaysia , DVM) including 5-month industrial training. Students who fail to pass the SVM qualification can continue to study skills in the same college and obtain the Malaysian Skills Certificate (Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia, SKM) according to the level of competence achieved.

How many KV are there?

Right now, around 87 vocational colleges is distributed across all states of the country. The courses offered by each technical secondary school and vocational college are different. Hence, if you want to find out what are the courses offered by KV, you have to contact the school to get more information or click on the link below.

3. Sports Secondary School (Sekolah Sukan Menengah, SSM)

Main objective of SSM

The main objective of SSM is to improve the knowledge, experience and skills in sports without neglecting academics. SSM provides experience in sports activity administration skills and helps student to build profile in sports science industry.

SSM is a full boarding school and students stays in school hostels. But similar to normal government schools (SMK), SSM is a fully government subsidized schools! This means that the biggest advantage here is the government will subsidize for your national and international tournaments! Not to mention that you may be granted sports scholarship for a good sports performance. However, it would be a lie to discount the fact that the awards can be quite competitive too.

Beside that, similar to the traditional government school (SMK) student have compulsory subjects in addition to elective streams subject. The compulsory subjects are Bahasa Melayu, English, Math, History and Islamic studies/moral education. The elective subjects vary depending on the selected stream. For example, the subjects in Civil Engineering Streams include: Civil Engineering Research, Engineering Drawing, Advanced Math, Chemistry and Physics. Again, similar to SMT and SMK, it lasts two years equivalent to Form 4 and Form 5. 

How many SSM are there?

Right now, under the MOE there is only one sports secondary school for each state of Malaysia, in Perlis, Kedah, Penang, Perak, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka, Johor, Pahang, Terengganu, Kelantan,. In total, 15 Sports Secondary Schools (SSM) registered under the Ministry of Education Malaysia, excluding colleges and private institutions. Hence, if you want to find a nearby Sports Secondary School (SSM) in your area, you can click on the link below:

SMT, KV and SSM are all Malay students?

Most of the SMT, KV or SSM students are Malays, whereas non-Malay students are very few. So naturally, people mistakenly believe that this is just a school for Malay students only. This is probably why many people is very unfamiliar with SMT, KV and SSM. In fact, some don’t even know that such school existed, especially the Chinese families.

Who controls SMT, KV and SSM?

SMT, KV and SSM is run by technical and vocational education management group of the Ministry of Education.

What are the courses offered?

Most of the courses offered by these schools are career or craft related. This is why Vocational College (KV) is very suitable for students who want to study career-oriented and like hands-on learning. Students can apply for professional courses offered by the school according to their own hobbies. For example, students with interest in pastry making can choose to enroll in the baking courses in Vocational College. Meanwhile students who want to work in the field of auto repair can choose the automotive technology course. Or students who plan to be a sports trainer or athlete can go to sports secondary school or college.  

How to apply for SMT, KV and SSM?

Applying for SMT and KV

If you want to apply for SMT or KV students, you can apply through the official website here:

Due to the impact of current epidemic, Ministry of Education cancelled this year’s Form 3 assessment (Pentaksiran Tingkatan 3, PT3). This also caused many parents to worry about whether this will affect the placement to SMT or KV. Parents also hesitate about what actions the relevant departments will take, to approve the eligibility of students.

Hence, Form 3 students (2021) who’s interested in securing SMT or KV placement better pay attention to the KKM website update! The application is likely to open around September, as this is roughly when the application opens previously. If you miss the application date, you will lose this opportunity! Because SMT or KV only accepts applications from Form 3 (15 years old) students of the current year. 

Applying for SSM

If you want to apply for SSM, you can apply though the official website here:

SSM typically recruits new student athletes twice a year on two separate intakes, which is in January and July. Besides that, getting a placement in SSM is limited and competitive. This is because because admission offers are usually made based on vacancies and current sports needs. The current minimum academic qualification of admission to SSM is 3C’s for UPSR. Meanwhile for Form1 to Form 5 is to pass all mandatory Malaysia subjects (Bahasa Melayu and Sejarah). However although academic requirement is low, applicants must have a strong curricular background, preferably in sports. This is because SSM’s prioritize selecting students who can represent the national and international sports event, or someone with strong sports achievement. To find out more about what sports each SSM provides, you can read through the official website here:

All in all, SMT, KV and SSM is on of the path that can help students to build a career of their interest. It is an stream best for those students who wanted to further their studies and learn new knowledge according to their own interests through hands-on learning methods. Still, we cannot completely expect or depend on any school to build everything for us. It is just a good possibility to consider to develop technical skill set. Therefore, students who’s not interested in the conventional “academic” focused school, or who have already planned to learn specific skills and technology, Technical Secondary Schools (SMT), Vocational Colleges (KV) or Sports Secondary School (SSM) would be the best choice for them.