Preschool education will better prepare students for formal schooling
By Jude Toyat
Parents are still reluctant to send their children to preschools.
Minister of Welfare, Women and Community Wellbeing Datuk Fatimah Abdullah hoped to achieve 100 per cent student attendance for children between the ages of four and six.
“To achieve 100 per cent of children between the age of four and six getting early childhood education, we are also appealing to parents to send their children to registered institutions.
“Preschool education is a platform for children to prepare themselves for formal schooling starting from Primary One when they are seven years old. It also helps to shape children with well-established physical and mental endurance.”
She disclosed that as of January 2 this year, the total number of preschools in Sarawak is 2,771 with the total number of classes 5,071, total number of students 67,162 and total number of teachers 5,081.
She listed the few factors that contributed towards the establishment of a high-quality preschool.
“A high-quality preschool need to implement the right curriculum that will be carried out by the teachers who will be adding value and enrich them towards making a difference to their students,” she said, explaining that Malaysia was currently using the Kurikulum Standard Prasekolah Kebangsaan (KPSK).
Besides personalised care and attention, she emphasised that quality teachers would ensure the children continue to develop progressively in their education.
“Quality teachers do not only mean that they must have good experience, but also attitude. Teachers need to have the right attitude and knows how to care and love the children and willing to work extra mile for the children especially when some of them are little bit behind the others.”
Fatimah was met by reporters during her visit to Tadika Sri Keria and Tadika Kemas RPR Astana on Jan 3. Tadika Sri Keria has been listed as one of the six preschools benchmarked as quality preschool thus the aim of the visit was to review the initial preparation of children into the preschool as well as providing support to teachers and parents.
Fatimah said that in 2016, out of 28,158 Year One pupils statewide, 27,702 or 93.38 per cent attended early childhood education. This year, the total of students who have just entered Year One is 38,063.
“After the Year One pupils entered primary schools today (Jan 3), a survey will be conducted by the Sarawak Education Department to determine the number of those who have attended preschools. This is very important information to us as we have stressed the importance of access to preschools in Sarawak,” she said.
The 2,771 preschools across Sarawak comprises 172 preschools (172 classes, 3,253 students, 163 teachers) under the Department of National Unity and National Integration (JPNIN); 1,059 preschools (1,544 classes, 20,745 students, 1,560 teachers) under the Community Development Department (Kemas); 1,113 preschools (1,489 classes, 25,109 students, 1,482 teachers) by the Education Department; 426 preschools (1,865 classes, 18,029 students, 1,875 teachers) by operators registered with the State Education Department and 1 preschool (1 class, 26 students, 1 teacher) registered with the Sarawak Islamic Council Educational Services Bureau.
“The number of children in preschools this year is lesser than last year and this is a normal trend as our population in terms of productivity had reduced and that is clearly shown here,” she commented.
Fatimah (seated, fourth right) with children and teachers of Tadika Sri Keria. Also seen is the preschool director Tania Bugo (third right).