Ministry to help attract more individuals to become early childhood teachers

Fatimah (centre) having further discussion with two of the roundtable meeting participants after the session.

KUCHING, August 15: The Ministry of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development will strive to promote early childhood teaching as an attractive profession to help providers of this level of education find qualified teachers easily.

Its minister, Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah, said finding suitable individuals to teach early childhood education was a big challenge for operators in the state due to its relatively low income and career uncertainties.

The state government has to step in and give a helping hand because early childhood education is very important for the overall development of children, she said.

Salary review as well as qualification and quality of education are among the issues that would be addressed.

“Early childhood education needs high commitment, but it is not easy to find individuals that are truly suitable for the job. Apart from qualification, skills and knowledge, having the right attitude is very important.

“Now we need to find ways to make early childhood teaching as a great career with a bright future, one that can sustain their (teachers’) welfare,” Fatimah said after a roundtable discussion on issues pertaining to early childhood education here today.

The minister agreed that sustainability of operators and childcare centres also depended on having quality teachers and a high number of pre-schoolers.

She said her ministry would look at a mechanism to enable operators across the state to send their employees for training, particularly enrolling in the nation’s Permata childhood education courses.

Fatimah said the teachers should be encouraged to acquire diplomas and degrees in early childhood education to promote their job as a career. At the same time, the state would continue to promote the importance of early childhood education to raise awareness and enrolment.

Her ministry estimated that there are only 3,678 (or 2.2 per cent) out of 173,700 children aged four years and below enrolled in the 232 childcare institutions across the state. In all, these centres have 769 staff and teachers.

The state hoped to have 15 per cent children aged below four-years-old to receive early childhood education in registered centres by 2020.

Among the issues raised during the meeting included children-teacher ratio, qualified educators as well as compliance of the centre, particularly in safety and health aspect. — DayakDaily