Effectual early education has positive developmental effects in language, literacy, and early math skills; in social and emotional readiness; and in the propensity of staying on track and staying engaged in the early school grades.
For IB40 children in particular, the lack of early education means that they are doubly disadvantaged when they enter Sekolah Kebangsaan due to language issues. An estimated 55% of Indian children aged 5-6 attend preschool, a significant gap relative to the 100% early education enrolment goal stated in the MEB. Malaysian Indian children make up only 3% of the total enrolment in MOE-run preschools while 5% are Chinese and 92% are Bumiputera.
Key Issues & Current Interventions
- In addition to tuition fees, ancillary costs such as transport, safety concerns, and other factors prohibit preschool enrolment amongst the IB40. Furthermore, not all SRKs and SJKTs have preschools or preschool facilities on the premises.
- The number of Government-run preschool classes has progressively increased to nearly 43,000 classes, supplemented with another 1,700 classes established and run by the private sector via a Private Preschool launching grant.
- SEDIC has been supplementing Government efforts by providing grants to qualifying NGOs to establish preschools in SJKTs as well as to send SJKT preschool teachers for relevant training programs.
- The supply of appropriately trained preschool teachers, particularly in SJKTs, is also an important issue.
- Currently to assist low-income households, preschool fee assistance of up to RM150 per month is offered to qualifying families.
Moving Forward: Recommendations & Initiatives
To ensure that all Malaysian Indian children of preschool-going age receive early education. To deliver on these targets, this Blueprint aims to effect the following:
1. Establish Joint CCIC-MOE Taskforce on Education
In the case of early education, the Joint Taskforce resolves implementation issues related to supply of preschools in SRKs and SJKTs, as well as issues regarding recognition and oversight of NGO-run schools in SJKTs and teacher training, amongst others.
2. Streamline units, initiatives & budgets under the CCIC related to education
In the case of early education, the streamlined Education Team within the MIB Implementation Unit will continue to support broader Government efforts by establishing preschools in SJKTs and appropriate community spaces as well as closing the qualification gap amongst SJKT preschool teachers.