ASK any parent. It is hard to stay focused on work when you worry that your young children are not getting proper care and attention. How do you extract high productivity from a workforce that has many such distracted mothers and fathers?
It is indeed a big problem when there are limited options as to who will look after the children while the parents work. Says the International Labour Organisation, “The consequences of lack of access to affordable, good quality childcare go beyond the welfare of individual children and their families and affect the social and economic development of the whole society.”
In a 2010 publication, the organisation argues that childcare for working parents is important because it promotes gender equality and the rights and development of children; contributes to the national economy; and helps to break the vicious circle of inter-generational poverty.
Our Government Transformation Programme (GTP) also advocates the provision of quality early childcare and education, saying it is “fundamental to the process of nation-building and ensuring that Malaysia is globally competitive”.
In the GTP website, Pemandu points out that getting a head start in education is crucial for young children. In addition, childcare enables mothers to re-enter the workforce and there are many business opportunities in early childcare and education.
This is why it is good news that the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry wants to formulate a plan that will hopefully result in more workplaces having childcare centres.
On Monday, the minister, Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim, said the incentives for employers to set up childcare centres would be reviewed after they had failed to get a good response from employers.
The Star Says,