ECCE Council

New Straits Times

Aiming for quality preschool education

HIGHER STANDARD: About 20,000 trained teachers by year-end

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin talking to a kindergarten pupil at the opening of the Early Childhood Care and Education Week in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. Pic by Mohd Yusni Ariffin

KUALA LUMPUR : THERE will be some 20,000 trained preschool teachers by the end of the year  as the government wants a higher standard for preschool education.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said all preschool teachers should have at least a diploma in early childhood education.

“I understand that only three per cent of preschool teachers in the private sector have a diploma or degree. Others only have on-the-job training or took preschool education courses not recognised by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency.”

To encourage teachers to take up such courses, he said the National Higher Education Fund Corporation had relaxed its conditions for giving out loans to those interested in pursuing the courses.

Muhyiddin was speaking at the opening of the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Week here yesterday.

He said the Education Ministry and ECCE council were coming up with a standard assessment for preschools.

Once this is completed, an assessment programme would be drawn up to accredit preschools and rate them.

Muhyiddin, who is also education minister, said this was to ensure that all preschoolers received quality education which encouraged mental and holistic development.

Preschools need not worry much as the assessment was not punitive, he added.

“It helps to identity aspects and services that need to be improved.”

He said the government was also aware of the financial needs in this sector and had provided RM3 million allocation yearly for the past two years.

This was in the form of subsidies to run basic childcare courses for preschool teachers.

It also encourages caregivers to be registered and the registration of childcare centres.

Muhyiddin said the government was also aware of the needs of disabled children as they had the right to education and childcare services.

“We recently had a lab to discuss how best to meet the needs of these children. By identifying the importance of assessment and early intervention, caregivers and preschool teachers can play an important role in helping children with special needs.”

He said the lab also proposed that a course on special education be made compulsory for teachers.

“I visited the lab last week and I support the initiatives. They will be evaluated to be included in the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2015.”

Muhyiddin said the government would do all it could for children to achieve their potential.