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Fatimah: Most Primary 1 pupils in Sarawak this year attended preschool
Tarikh : 12 Oct 2021  Sumber Berita: Borneo Post Online
 

 

KUCHING (Oct 12): The majority of Primary 1 pupils in Sarawak this year received a preschool education, said Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah.

The Welfare, Community Well-being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister said this was part of the state government’s efforts to ensure all pre-schoolers in the state have access and equity to quality Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE).

“Through a collaborative effort with various agencies at federal and state level, 98.35 per cent of our children in Year 1 (2021) attended preschool education before going to Primary 1.

“Under our state-owned Sedidik, we focus on equity to ensure that children, in rural areas especially, are not left behind in preschool education. This is to help complement the federal initiatives through Kemas (Community Development Department), Prasekolah KPM (Ministry of Education preschool), and Tabika Perpaduan (Unity preschool),” she said in a statement in response to Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) president Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh’s claim that insufficient attention has been paid to this category of education.

She said the state government also ensures that appropriate and relevant support is given to all ECCE providers, including private operators.

Fatimah noted that in 2017, the Sarawak Early Childhood Development Council was set up to look into ECCE, which led to the establishment of the Early Childhood Development Division.

Acknowledging that teachers play a crucial role in delivering quality preschool education, she said the ministry organises various courses and workshops to enhance the knowledge and skills of teachers and caregivers.

The annual preschool convention covers specific themes relating to ECCE, such as the Sarawak Preschool International Convention (Oct 1-3, 2021) themed ‘Character Building In The New Norm’, which was attended by 2,180 teachers and caregivers.

The ministry also gives monetary grants to winners of the Award For Quality Early Childhood Institutions, she said.

Fatimah pointed out the state government has approved RM16 million for the Special Annual Grant (GTK) since 2019 for all registered early childhood institutions.

Under GTK, all registered early childhood institutions are entitled to RM5,000 for balanced and healthy meals; fun Learning; professional development for teachers and caregivers; as well as activities involving parents.

“To cushion the impact of Covid-19, especially on private IPAKK (early childhood institutions) the ministry has allowed GTK to be used for helping operators to pay rental and salary; and purchasing of masks, sanitisers, thermometers; and paying for sanitisation services to ensure SOP compliance in all early childhood institutions.

“This year, the ministry has approved the usage of GTK for two additional purposes – to do minor repairs at the centres and to buy furniture for the centres,” she said.

To date, she said the ministry has approved 2,755 out of 2,946 (93.5 per cent) GTK applications received.

She said to ensure holistic development of children, the Early Childhood Development Division of the ministry organises Sarawak Preschool Kids Got Talent annually to focus on talent development among young children.

She said various books have also been published to help operators, teachers, caregivers, and even parents in teaching, nurturing, and taking care of young children.

“With this brief sharing on ECCE in Sarawak, it is my hope that those who are not in the know (due to reasons best known to them) have gained useful insights,” she added.

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