Talented kids: Pre-schoolers from Peter and Jane Kindergarten performing during the launch of National Early Childhood Care and Education Week 2012 in Kuala Lumpur.
KUALA LUMPUR: Only 3% of private pre-school teachers have formal qualifications in early childhood education.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the rest only had workplace training or had undergone courses that were not accredited by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency.
“I urge the teachers to take up at least a diploma in Early Childhood Education.
“The ministry has also taken the initiative to provide a free three-week course for private pre-school teachers.
“As of December 2012, an estimated 20,000 pre-school teachers would have completed this course and I hope more will be trained in the future,” he said in his speech before launching the National Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Week 2012.
Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, said teachers at the ministry’s pre-schools are required to have a degree in Early Childhood Education.
“To improve the quality of childcare centres and pre-schools further, the Education Ministry and ECCE Council are currently developing quality standards for childcare centres and preschools.” he said.
ECCE Council president Datuk Dr Chiam Heng Keng said pre-school educators need formal training in order to fully develop the potential of children.
“A large number of pre-schools and childcare centres are also unregistered.
“Parents need to ensure the centres they send their children to are registered,” she said.
Muhyiddin added that a lab on special needs education has been set up to look into ways of improving preschool access for disabled children.
“This lab recommended that special needs education courses should be made compulsory for teacher training courses at all levels.
Dr Chiam, who was also part of the lab, said it was especially important for early childhood educators to be trained to detect children with special needs.
“The earlier these children’s needs are assessed, the sooner we can provide them with the intervention they need,” she said.