Most schools in Macau are private or subsidized schools. As of the 2023–2024 school year, there were 76 schools in Macau, including eight public schools and 68 private schools. Of the 73 schools that offered formal education, six were not a part of Macau's free education network.[1] As of 2006 many of the schools in Macau are operated by Catholic organizations.[2]

A basic 15-year compulsory, free education, is offered to those pupils who have been enrolled at the schools which have met certain requirements stipulated by the government.

The majority of schools in Macau are grammar schools, which offer language learning, mathematics, science subjects, and social studies, among others, to pupils. There are only a few vocational schools in Macau, offering technical subjects such as car-repairing, electronics, and constructions.

As prescribed by the Basic Law of Macau, Chapter VI, Article 121, the Government of Macau shall, on its own, formulate policies on education, including policies regarding the educational system and its administration, the language of instruction, the allocation of funds, the examination system, the recognition of educational qualifications and the system of academic awards so as to promote educational development. The government shall also in accordance with law, gradually institute a compulsory education system. Community organizations and individuals may, in accordance with law, run educational undertakings of various kinds.


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According to Sou-kuan Vong and Matilda Wong of the University of Macau, the prevalence of private schools in Macau is due to the Portuguese Macau government practice of not involving itself in educational matters.[3]

By the early 1950s pro-Communist and pro-Nationalist forces competed over how much influence they had in Macau's education system. Christian schools in Macau gained strength at the expense of secular schools since the Christian schools received support from Christian organizations: the Roman Catholic Diocese of Macau assisted the Catholic schools, and various churches based in and outside of Macau assisted the Protestant schools. There were ten schools affiliated with Nationalist forces in Macau during the early 1960s, and at the time the Nationalist forces had more influence than Communist ones. After 1967 and 1968 riots disrupted Nationalist forces, that faction's schools closed.[4]

As of the 1990s secular private schools, including those supported by the pro-mainland Macau Chinese Education System, other welfare organizations, and philanthropists; and the Christian schools had about equal amounts of influence and numbers of students.[5]

System of education

At present, most schools in Macau follow a so-called "local education system". Six years of primary school education, three years for junior secondary school education and three years for senior secondary school education up to Form 6. In their senior secondary school years, students are usually required to study science, commerce, arts and music.

Pupils who plan to study further would usually sit for the exam organised by the higher education institutes, or international assessment bodies like Edexcel, CIE and College Board, or the related government bodies in China.

School grade

Typical age Grade/Level Curriculum stages Schools
3–4 N/A Infant education
Jardim de infância
6–7 Primary 1 Primary education
Ensino primário
Primary school
Escola primária
7–8 Primary 2
8–9 Primary 3
9–10 Primary 4
10–11 Primary 5
11–12 Primary 6
12–13 Form 1 Junior secondary education
Ensino secundário-geral
Junior secondary school
Escola secundária geral
13–14 Form 2
14–15 Form 3
15–16 Form 4 Senior secondary education
Ensino secundário-complementar
Vocational and technical education
Ensino técnico-profissional
Senior secondary school
Escola secundária complementar
Vocational school
Escola técnico-profissional
16–17 Form 5
17–18 Form 6

Mediums of instruction

Pui Ching, a secondary school in Macau

The majority of schools offer both Cantonese and English education, and either Cantonese or English is the medium in most schools at the primary and secondary levels. Chinese-Medium-of-Instruction (CMI) schools adopt Cantonese as the medium of instruction for almost all classes. English-Medium-of-Instruction (EMI) schools generally adopt English as the medium of instruction.[6] English is used almost exclusively at the tertiary level.

Macau Portuguese School is currently the only school in Macau offering curricula similar to those of Portugal and a Portuguese-language education for pupils from 1st grade to 12th grade.

The Escola Secundária Luso-Chinesa de Luís Gonzaga Gomes is a public school that has a Chinese and a Portuguese section.[7] The Escola Oficial Zheng Guanying is a pilot project of the government that conducts classes in Mandarin, Portuguese, and English.[8][9]

There are some students with origins from Macau, Hong Kong, or mainland China who natively speak a variety of Chinese but who have education in English.[10]

Primary, secondary, and vocational education

Further information: List of schools in Macau

In the 2007–2008 school year, Macau had 55 private preschool, primary and secondary schools with subsidised tuition, 15 private preschool, primary and secondary schools without subsidised tuition, and 13 government preschool, primary and secondary schools, with a total of 83 primary and secondary schools. These schools altogether had 80,223 students and 4,610 teachers.[3]

As of 2017 Macau parents generally choose schools by their reputations, since Macau does not have territory-wide standard examinations, and there is a preference for religious schools among upper-class parents due to a perceived higher quality of education. As of 2017 the 27 Catholic schools in Macau made up about 36.4% of the educational sectors other than tertiary education.[11]

Since 2007, in accordance with the general education goal of "Love China, love Macau ", China People Education Press in China, which is the official press affiliated to the Ministry of Education of China, has cooperated with the Macao Education and Youth Bureau to compile and publish three textbooks for Macao primary and secondary schools, including the "History" and "Character and Citizenship" and " Geography ".[12]

Higher education

University of Macau

See also: List of universities and colleges in Macau

There are more than ten higher-learning institutions in Macau. Some students choose to further their studies in the local universities or polytechnics whereas some others choose to further their studies in mainland Portugal, mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, or some other places.

International schools

A number of international schools operate in Macau, such as the School of the Nations,Macau Anglican College and International School of Macao.

See also


  1. ^ "Education". Comissão de Desenvolvimento de Quadros Qualificados. Retrieved 2024-02-29.
  2. ^ Sala, Illaria Maria. Il Saggiatore [it], 2006. ISBN 884281038X, 9788842810384. p. 335 (Search view). "[...]vero modesta, anche in considerazione del fatto che la maggior parte delle scuole è tuttora gestita da cattolici, con nomi quali Escola de Nossa Senhora de Fatima e Escola do Santissimo Rosario."
  3. ^ a b Vong, Sou-kuan; Wong, Matilda (2009). "Towards a Formalised Teacher Induction System: the Macau experience". Research in Comparative and International Education. 4 (1): 34–41. doi:10.2304/rcie.2009.4.1.43. - doi:10.2304/rcie.2009.4.1.34 - Cited: p. 35
  4. ^ Bray, Mark and Kwok-Chun Tang. "Building and Diversifying Education Systems: Evolving Patterns and Contrasting Trends in Hong Kong and Macau" (Chapter 5). In: Bjork, Christopher (editor). Educational Decentralization: Asian Experiences and Conceptual Contributions (Volume 8 of Education in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues, Concerns and Prospects). Springer Science & Business Media, March 23, 2007. ISBN 1402043589, 9781402043581. Start: p. 71. CITED: p. 83.
  5. ^ Bray, Mark and Kwok-Chun Tang. "Building and Diversifying Education Systems: Evolving Patterns and Contrasting Trends in Hong Kong and Macau" (Chapter 5). In: Bjork, Christopher (editor). Educational Decentralization: Asian Experiences and Conceptual Contributions (Volume 8 of Education in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues, Concerns and Prospects). Springer Science & Business Media, March 23, 2007. ISBN 1402043589, 9781402043581. Start: p. 71. CITED: p. 83-71. CITED: p. 84.
  6. ^ Senior Secondary English Curriculum Guide for Schools Using English as the Primary Language of Instruction (EMI) Education and Youth Development Bureau
  7. ^ "學校簡介". (in Chinese). Retrieved 2024-02-29.
  8. ^ Meneses, João Paulo (2021-02-21). "Special Report – EOZGY, the Pǔtōnghuà' school". Macau Business. Retrieved 2024-02-29.
  9. ^ Brites Soares, Catarina (2018-08-23). "Culturas e línguas a pensar nas novas gerações". Revista Macau (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2024-02-29.
  10. ^ Camulli, Jennifer (July 2009). "Macao's Foreign Learning-Disabled Students: A Growing Cross-Cultural Community in Need". Journal of Youth Studies. 12 (2). The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups: 120–130 – via EBSCOhost. – Cited page: 124 – Abstract available in Chinese.
  11. ^ Correia, Ana M.; Teixeira, Vitor S. (2017). "Catholic schools and inclusive education in Macao: a journey of a thousand miles". Educa (International Journal of Catholic Education). 3. ISSN 2183-5136.
  12. ^ People Education Press. "Macau Textbook Seminar held in Beijing". PSP. Archived from the original on 6 October 2020. Retrieved 5 October 2020.

Further reading