Archive for the ‘Early Childhood Education’ Category

Rise to the challenge of encouraging kids to read

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020
Educators and policymakers must rise to the challenge and ensure children receive the education they deserve. - NSTP/FARIZUL HAFIZ AWANG
Educators and policymakers must rise to the challenge and ensure children receive the education they deserve. – NSTP/FARIZUL HAFIZ AWANG

LETTERS: Yesterday was International Literacy Day (ILD). Despite progress in literacy in the past decades, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (Unesco) statistics show that more than 617 million children and adolescents are not achieving minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics.

Unesco defines literacy as the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts.

This supersedes mere reading, writing and arithmetic capabilities. The Covid-19 pandemic will affect how we learn. The poor, have-nots and marginalised will be most affected.

A United Nations study estimated that 463 million children lack equipment or electronic access to pursue distance learning.

Rightly so this year, the ILD theme is devoted to “Literacy teaching and learning in the Covid-19 crises and beyond”, with a focus on the role of educators and changing pedagogies.

Educators and policymakers must rise to the challenge and ensure children receive the education they deserve.

Schools may close but learning has to go on. And what better way when parents at home can play a role. Instead of letting a child’s finger swipe a smartphone, why not read to them and by doing so, encourage reading books as a habit?

What about learning or reading from webpages? Let’s call upon family and community initiatives to encourage reading.

Community libraries provide resources and spaces to read. Donors can donate good reading materials.

Used books can spur someone’s imagination. Books enrich people’s life. Read a book and your life may be transformed.

by Cheah C.F.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2020/09/622993/rise-challenge-encouraging-kids-read

SMART PARENTING: Unintentional joy killer

Sunday, August 23rd, 2020

EACH child, like everyone else, is different and unique in their own ways. Parents have no right to compare one with the other.

Unfortunately, while we don’t mean to do so, comparisons do happen unintentionally.

Hence, we should be more careful in our interactions with our children.

Let’s begin with ourselves. Have you unintentionally compared yourself to others? I know I’m guilty of this. It’s so easy to give in to the temptation of comparing our job, house or car with others. The same is true with children.

Parents unintentionally compare their children’s lack of achievement with another who is more successful.

We all know how painful and heartbreaking this is. Almost always, such comparisons lead to resentment and anger. Nothing positive is achieved being doing this and relations may be damaged.

“Comparison is the thief of joy,” Theodore Roosevelt once said.

This is still true today. With the advent of social media, it has become easier to get into the comparison trap.

Mental health experts have warned society about such danger and how social media comparison can make us unhappy. We forget that people only share what they want us to see. No one shares their pain and hardship.

By comparing ourselves to others, we’re effectively taking our happiness away. We’re forgetting all the good things we have, while longing for those we don’t. Can you see now how comparison is a thief of joy?

LET THEM THRIVE

Let’s bring comparison into the context of our family.

It can be devastating, especially to our children. One happy moment can be utterly ruined by one careless word of comparison.

Fortunately, we can turn the situation into positive action.

If we really must “compare,” a better strategy is to compare our children’s current performance versus their previous one. This will not only motivate them to do better, it will also enable the tracking of their progress.

If this is done in a loving manner, other benefits will follow. This, I have personally experienced with our children.

My eldest used to struggle with his grades during the fourth and fifth year of primary school. We took note of his grades and challenged him to do just a notch better the next time.

For example, if he scored 70s in his Mathematics, then we’d ask him to target 80s the next time.

We avoided the urge to compare his grades with his peers or close relatives whom we knew were doing well.

True enough, his grades started to show improvements as the months went by. By the time he was in Year 6, he was scoring 90s in his Mathematics.

Today, he’s already working as an actuarial scientist — a heavily mathematical field.

It’s a great lesson to let them live their own life under a certain set of agreed conditions and rules.

We just need to watch them thrive under our loving guidance while providing them with a lot of attention and support.

Let’s celebrate their uniqueness, strengths and weaknesses. Stop killing their joy by unfairly comparing our children with others, albeit unintentionally.

By Zaid Mohamad.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/lifestyle/sunday-vibes/2020/08/618577/smart-parenting-unintentional-joy-killer

NST Leader: Employ smart technology

Saturday, August 22nd, 2020
Stress can lead to forgetfulness. All you need as proof of this is to look at the times you may have forgotten where you put your car or house keys. - NSTP file picStress can lead to forgetfulness. All you need as proof of this is to look at the times you may have forgotten where you put your car or house keys. – NSTP file pic

EVERY now and then, we read reports of children dying after being left in parked vehicles by a parent.

We are, of course, horrified and angered. We find ourselves taking it out on the parent for being irresponsible and negligent. Such emotions are a natural response to a needless loss of life, especially when it involves those of such tender age.

That is exactly what happened recently when 4-year-old Aina Batrisha Aisyah Shaiful Azrul died of heatstroke, having been accidentally left in a parked car in Kedah.

The girl’s family has been vilified on social media, so much so that a member of the family has come out to plead for a stop, saying that her father had suffered enough.

According to experts, there are three types of peoplewho leave children in cars: those who truly forget that the children are there; those who are uneducated about the dangers of doing so; and, those who commit criminally negligent and intentional filicide.

As Aina’s case is still under investigation, we shall not comment on which category it falls under. What we do know is that there are steps that can be taken to ensure that such deaths do not recur.

Stress can play a deadly role in such tragedies. In an era where both parents are usually required to work long hours, stress can lead to a person being forgetful as having too many things on one’s mind can lead to important things being left by the wayside.

All you need as proof of this is to look at the times you may have forgotten where you put your car or house keys, or had misplaced something else of importance. How many of us have even absent-mindedly looked for things like sunglasses, forgetting that they are on top of our heads?

Society also can play an important role in preventing these needless deaths. Be observant; look around you when you are walking and you could possibly end up saving a child’s life.

There should also be more awareness campaigns and efforts to educate parents on various issues, such as the dangers of leaving children in parked vehicles as well as the need to be fully aware of their children’s whereabouts.

Then there is technology. We live in a technologically-advanced world that seems to be growing more intelligent with each passing day.

There are now mobile phones and apps that have improved child safety by sending reminders to parents of their children’s whereabouts. This can be used by parents to remind them that their children are in their vehicles. In fact, with all the smart technology being put into vehicles these days, manufacturers can include such features in their vehicles.

There are now car alarm systems which are triggered by motion sensors inside vehicles once armed. It is onlyahop, skip and a jump from that to systems which can send alerts to smartphones as well.

Most importantly, however, parents can do their part by just making a habit of taking a look around their vehicles to ensure nothing important — children included — is left in the car when they exit. Just this one simple step can solve this particular problem.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/leaders/2020/08/618369/nst-leader-employ-smart-technology

Why kids are ‘forgotten’ in cars

Friday, August 21st, 2020

A research paper laid out the three categories of parents who are involved in child deaths from hot cars. They are parents who truly forget their children in the car, parents who take calculated risks because they are uneducated about the danger of leaving children in cars and parents who commit criminally negligent and intentional filicide.  - NSTP/ ASWADI ALIAS

A research paper laid out the three categories of parents who are involved in child deaths from hot cars. They are parents who truly forget their children in the car, parents who take calculated risks because they are uneducated about the danger of leaving children in cars and parents who commit criminally negligent and intentional filicide. – NSTP/ ASWADI ALIAS

KUALA LUMPUR: THE recent death of 4-year-old Aina Batrisha Aisyah Shaiful Azrul of heatstroke after she was accidentally left by her father in his parked car in Kedah has triggered a public debate, with the girl’s family bearing the burden of public criticism.

The abuse hurled at the girl’s father, a lorry driver, has led to a member of the family appealing to the public to stop the attacks, saying the man had suffered enough.

Experts believe that such cases, while isolated, are a reflection of a real problem and there could be a psychological explanation.

Psychotherapist and researcher Dr Chua Sook Ning said Forgotten Baby Syndrome describes a situation where parents lose awareness of their child in the car.

She said there were three categories of parents in hot car child death cases, according to a research paper by Western Michigan University Cooley Law School assistant dean and associate professor Erika Breitfeld published in May.

“There are parents who truly forget their children in the car, parents who take calculated risks because they are uneducated about the danger of leaving children in cars and parents who commit criminally negligent and intentional filicide,” said Chua, who is also a lecturer at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

She said more education for parents and more regulation was needed on child safety in cars.

She cited child car seats as an example, which was made mandatory in Malaysia only in January.

In the case of Aina’s death, she said, it was unfair for the public to criticise her family as the investigation was ongoing.

“It is uncertain what the cause of this incident is. It is not fair to the family to speculate what led to this incident.

“It is important not to be quick to judge this family and cause more pain to them before the results of the investigation (are revealed).”

Breitfeld, in the 35-page article, offered prosecutors guidance on how to analyse these cases, urging them to advocate for reform in their communities.

Associate Professor Dr Mohd Awang Idris from Universiti Malaya’s Department of Anthropology and Sociology said more effort was needed to educate parents and to prevent future tragedies.

“In the recent case, I don’t blame the father as no parent in their right mind would want to cause harm to their children.

“The public shouldn’t judge the parents who must be grieving over the loss of their child.

“Instead, we should investigate the root cause and address the problem to prevent a recurrence.

“These checks should cover the socioeconomic and psychological aspects and whether the parents were overworked or stressed,” said Awang, who is also Asia Pacific Academy for Psychosocial Factors at Work president.

He said parents today face tough challenges in raising their children due to the rising cost of living and growing work responsibilities.

“In the past, some parents can afford to stay home to care for their children.

“Families were close-knit and it was common to have relatives living together.

“Nowadays, both parents work long hours. Though some family members can help (with taking care of children), they may also be facing the same problems.

“Due to a lack of resources, some people prioritise surviving and safety takes a back seat.”

Awang brought up cognitive failure, which are minor slips that cause the normally smooth flow of an action to be disrupted.

“It’s like instances where we look for keys or a mobile phone that we already have on us after we get distracted by something.

“This error is usually harmless, but in some instances, it can lead to death.”

He said there was a need to relook at child safety measures and how society could play a role in educating and reminding each other on their importance rather than reacting only after a tragedy had occurred.

“More awareness campaigns are needed to educate the public and instill a mindset that a child must never be left unattended in a vehicle, for whatever reason.

“The community should play a more active part in preventing such incidents by reporting irresponsible parents or guardians, not to punish them, but to most importantly keep children out of harm’s way.”

By Nuradzimmah Daim.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/08/618208/why-kids-are-forgotten-cars

‘Reminder features in cars can save children’s lives’

Friday, August 21st, 2020
A child’s body temperature could rise three to four times faster than an adult’s, and the temperature in a car can rise to 52°C within 20 minutes when the temperature outside is about 34°C. -NSTP/File picA child’s body temperature could rise three to four times faster than an adult’s, and the temperature in a car can rise to 52°C within 20 minutes when the temperature outside is about 34°C. -NSTP/File pic

KUALA LUMPUR: Special features or technology in vehicles that remind parents about their children may save lives, say experts.

Universiti Putra Malaysia’s Safe Kids Malaysia executive director Professor Dr Kulanthayan K.C. Mani said at present, the telecommunications industry, specifically mobile phone manufacturers, had responded to this need by providing functions in phones that allow users to set reminders about their children’s presence in the vehicle.

“A similar approach can be explored by the automotive industry by having this feature in a car, similar to the seat belt warning system.”

He said vehicle manufacturers could have the car alarm triggered or have a message sent to the driver’s phone if any motion was detected in a locked car.

Professor Dr Kulanthayan K.C. Mani.Professor Dr Kulanthayan K.C. Mani.

He said this could be adapted from home alarm systems that send alerts to the owner’s phone.

“I strongly believe this can help address the problem of parents forgetting that we have left our child in the car.”

He said considering the number of such cases and the country’s hot weather, action was warranted.

Safe Kids, he said, planned to hold empowerment programmes with the community on child safety, focusing on unintentional injuries, including heatstroke, on television, radio and in the print media, as well as social media.

“In the next few phases, we plan to develop, implement and evaluate specifically-designed intervention programmes to prevent heatstroke among children.”

He said a child’s body temperature could rise three to four times faster than an adult’s, and the temperature in a car can rise to 52°C within 20 minutes when the temperature outside is about 34°C.

“That’s how risky the situation is. The public needs to know that when a child’s organs reach 40°C, they will slowly start to shut down. As the (car) temperature reaches 52°C, the child’s life will be in danger and this can be fatal.”

He said as a preventive measure against heatstroke, children must not be left alone in a car at any time, adding that it was best to leave them at home.

“If you still need to take them, do explore drive thru options when shopping.

“Secondly, cars parked at home should be locked at all times as children may open the car door and play inside. They may close the car door while playing.

“This is dangerous as a locked car with no ventilation is a serious health risk. Parents must teach their kids that a car is not a play area.”

Thirdly, he said, parents could create reminders with applications or by placing important documents or items, like bags and phones, in the back next to the child.

“We can leave those at the leg rest area. Upon reaching our destination, we will look for these things at the back and this will remind us our child is there.

“Alternatively, we can also put the child’s items, such as bags, on the front passenger seat as a reminder. Remind babysitters, nurseries and kindergartens to give us a call if our child is not there at their usual time. This arrangement can be a safeguard against forgetfulness.”

He said the public should practise vigilance by checking whether a parked car had a child inside.

“In case of an emergency, call 999 and together we can save a child from heatstroke.”

Safe Kids Worldwide, based in Washington DC, the United States, runs advocacy and awareness programmes with the community on heatstroke among children. For more information, visit www.safekids.org.

Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff recently said the ministry was working with agencies like the Road Safety Department on improving public awareness of the issue, besides imposing heavier penalties on parents found to be negligent towards their children.

She said seven such cases have been recorded since 2018, and though the number was relatively low in Malaysia, more could be done to prevent more cases.

By Nuradzimmah Daim.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/08/618199/reminder-features-cars-can-save-childrens-lives

‘Adopt child-centric approach in neglect cases’

Friday, August 21st, 2020
This October 13, 2018 file pic shows firemen help free a child which had been trapped in the car for almost an hour, at a petrol station in Rawang. -NSTP/File picThis October 13, 2018 file pic shows firemen help free a child which had been trapped in the car for almost an hour, at a petrol station in Rawang. -NSTP/File pic

KUALA LUMPUR: The authorities need to adopt a more child-centric approach in cases involving neglect, say legal experts.

Lawyer Nizam Bashir said under Section 31 of the Child Act 2001, it is an offence for any person to neglect a child until it causes physical or emotional injury.

“This is not to say that there is no possible defence to a charge instituted under Section 31 of the Child Act 2001.

“The key element appears to be ‘likely to cause him physical or emotional injury’ and in that regard, any person charged under Section 31 of the act needs to set out the circumstances where the person believed — which needs to be ascertained objectively — that it was not likely for the physical or emotional injury to arise.”

Nevertheless, he said, the psychological state of a parent or person suffering from that state would be something that goes towards assessing whether it was “likely to cause (a child) physical or emotional injury” for a charge under Section 31 of the act, which carries a maximum fine of RM20,000 and 10 years’ jail.

“To the best of my knowledge, I don’t believe any parent or person has been charged for a hot car (child) death in Malaysia.

“It may be because the authorities usually adopt a more sympathetic approach to cases like this because there is a death of a loved one in the family.”

He said the best interests of children should be the paramount consideration.

“Once we keep that in mind, the entire issue becomes quite simple to navigate.”

By Nuradzimmah Daim.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/08/618205/adopt-child-centric-approach-neglect-cases

Only 45 applications for childcare at government premises this year

Monday, July 27th, 2020
There were only 45 applications submitted for grants to build child care centres (taska) at government premises nationwide this year. - NST/file picThere were only 45 applications submitted for grants to build child care centres (taska) at government premises nationwide this year. – NST/file pic

KUALA LUMPUR: Only 45 applications were submitted for grants to build child care centres (taska) at government premises nationwide this year, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.

Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Datuk Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff said 34 of them were approved, involving some RM5.5 million out of the overall allocation of RM30 million for the purpose under the 2020 Budget.

“The other 11 applications were rejected as they did not fulfil requirements set by the ministry,” she said in reply to a supplementary question by Hannah Yeoh (PH-Segambut).

Among those approved were 16 new child care facilities for the Health Ministry, Education Ministry (10), Higher Education Ministry (two), Youth and Sports Ministry (one), Prime Minister’s Department (one), as well as Terengganu, Pahang and Kelantan state governments.

She said various initiatives were carried out to assist government staff, especially the front liners to ensure their children were cared for while they were at work.

She said 38 nurseries at hospitals nationwide were already in operation throughout the Movement Control Order (MCO) period involving 699 children.

Five nurseries at public (government) workplaces and institutions were approved by the Health Ministry and the National Security Council, she said.

“We strive to disseminate information on the grants to ensure more government agencies are able to benefit from them.

“We have applied to the Finance Ministry (MoF) to channel the remaining allocation, in addition to funds under the MoF, totalling RM35 million as special aid for existing taska operators under Penjana (economic stimulus package),” she said in reply to a supplementary question by Yeoh.

Siti Zailah earlier said under the special aid, RM5,000 was channelled to each deserving taska operator at government agencies and institutions; RM1,500 each for taska operators at workplaces.

“We also encourage the setting up of taska at workplaces by providing Permata’s online early childhood care training for the operators and caretakers worth RM900. A total of RM9 million was allocated under Penjana to cover the course fees,” she said.

By Nuradzimmah Daim.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/07/611917/only-45-applications-childcare-government-premises-year

1,291 preschools in Sabah have reopened

Sunday, July 19th, 2020

KOTA KINABALU: The reopening of preschools and kindergartens nationwide Wednesday saw the children and parents fully adhering to the strict standard operating procedures (SOP) set by the government to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Bernama checks found that children were wearing face masks and have their body temperature checked and their hands sanitised before being allowed to enter their classrooms, while their concerned parents waited and watched from outside the main gate.

The children looked happy reuniting with their friends while awkwardly following their teachers’ instructions to keep a social distance from one another.

In Sabah, State Education Director, Dr Mistirine Radin said 1,291 preschools involving 54,070 students 3,256 teachers have resumed operation Wednesday.

Of the total, 886 preschools in Sekolah Kebangsaan and Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina, and 405 were private preschools registered with the Education Ministry.

She said 20 preschools in Papar, Kota Belud, Beaufort and Tenom, however, were still closed as they were affected by floods two days ago.

In KUALA LUMPUR, Salmiah Jusoh, the headmistress of a kindergarten in Keramat here, said the preparation for the reopening was made about two weeks earlier to ensure that the children are able to enjoy the teaching and facilitating (PdPc) methods in the new normal.

“We are trying our best to comply with the SOP and I saw that most parents and students were excited to start their first day at school. They also adhered to the SOP,” she told Bernama here Wednesday.

A parent, Ahmad Syahir Izani Tajodin, 34, admitted that he was a bit worried at first to send his daughter to the kindergarten as the COVID-19 was far from over, but believed that the strict SOP by the school could help address the matter.

“A week before school starts, I explained to my daughter what she can or cannot do. She seems to understand and is very excited to return to school,” he said.

In PENANG, State Education Director Abdul Rashid Abdul Samad said 631 preschools and kindergartens reopened their doors today, 166 of which were preschools under the Ministry of Education with 7,845 students, while 465 others were private preschools and kindergartens with 17,738 students.

“The state Education Department has carried out the necessary preparation to ensure the students can return to school in a conducive and safe environment,” he told reporters after visiting the preschool class in Sekolah Kebangsaan Jelutong here.

Penang Community Development Department (KEMAS) Early Learning Unit senior assistant director Shafinaz Ahmad said the reopening of KEMAS preschools in the state involved 6,665 students but it would be done in stages as the maximum number of students allowed in each class was set at 15.

In KEDAH, many parents in Alor Setar were satisfied and confident with the SOP carried out by their children’s kindergarten management, which has been providing the SOP list to the parents via WhatsApp.

Aida Mustafa, 38, who sent her two sons Muhammad Aisyar Razzan Razuwan, 6, and Muhammad Aisy Razzan, 7, to a kindergarten in Taman Rusa, Anak Bukit, said she felt relieved knowing that the entire kindergarten has been sanitised and that all the teachers were complying with the SOP.

“For the time being, their timetable is as usual which is five days a week from 8 am to 5 pm. Parents are all required to pick up their children by 5.30 pm,” she said.

In PERAK, Rural Development, Entrepreneur Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs Committee Chairman, Datuk Saarani Mohamed said 422 out of 822 KEMAS preschools were reopened today, and the rest would resume operation on July 15.

A check by Bernama at the Big Apple Kindergarten in Kinta Riverfront, Ipoh found that all 60 children aged four to six years were required to submit their health declaration forms to the teachers before entering the premises. Its principal, Rohani Hasshim said the form include the children and their parents’ health status.

“We also make sure the SOP is being adhered to by recording the children’s body temperature before and after class, using hand sanitiser and practising social distancing in classrooms. We also prepared their food on our own and parents can also provide home-cooked meals,” she explained.

On June 15, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government has allowed preschools to fully resume their operations on July 1, subject to the SOP set by the government.

by Bernama.

Read more @ http://www.newsabahtimes.com.my/nstweb/fullstory/38700

Kids doing fine in adapting to new normal

Monday, July 13th, 2020
Kindergartens have taken measures to ensure kids can attend lessons safely. PIC BY AMIRUDIN SAHIBKindergartens have taken measures to ensure kids can attend lessons safely. PIC BY AMIRUDIN SAHIB

Letters: Preschools and kindergartens have been allowed to resume operations since July 1 and I am one of the parents who have been sending my kid to kindergarten.

To be honest, I did not know what to expect and how my 4-year-old son would cope with the new norms at his kindergarten. But he was very excited to go because he was bored at home and missed his friends.

Of course, while I am not against it, I had been apprehensive. Staying at home would mean not meeting anyone other than family members and this is not for children’s social skills, especially for my kid who needs a longer time to adapt to strangers when he started schooling.

To my surprise, the first day turned out just fine. I was expecting him to have trouble familiarising himself with a new surrounding and people he had not met for more than three months.

He was fine wearing a mask to school. He was also cooperative when his teacher checked his temperature and he sanitised his hands often.

He only started doing all these when he went to school.

He didn’t go out during the Movement Control Order and I also did not teach him explicitly about all these hygienic measures.

At school, he had to sit apart from his classmates and avoid sharing personal belongings with others. He is coping so well so far and enjoying his school time more than ever.

I think all the efforts to educate the community, especially children, by the government are a success. For example, the use of Papa Zola and Pipi to explain in simpler terms about Covid-19 to children is really helpful.

The community messages about Covid-19 and the animated cartoons, which have been repeatedly shown on television, had contributed to Covid-19 awareness in my child.

Kindergartens have taken measures to ensure kids can attend lessons safely. Since not all parents have agreed to send their children back to kindergarten at the moment, teachers can apply the standard operating procedure outlined by the Health Ministry and the National Security Council.

The first week of school was spent introducing and familiarising the children to the new norms. They may be young, but they can understand if the exposure is right.

I hope we can all live with these new norms and that everything will be fine.

by Nursyuhada Zakaria.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2020/07/608046/kids-doing-fine-adapting-new-normal

The high cost of raising children

Sunday, July 12th, 2020

PUTRAJAYA: Financial factors are major obstacles for couples keen to have the desired family size, says the National Population and Family Development Board.

Its director-general Abdul Shukur Abdullah said although on average, parents wanted four children, the reality was most of them could only have between two and three because of the high cost in raising a child.

“According to the 5th Malaysia Population and Family Survey, 65% of married people said they would like to have more children if financial issues were not a hindrance,” he said in an interview.

Among the costs that were seen to be burdening parents were buying baby products and food such as disposable diapers and milk, which were expensive, as well as the cost of babysitting and high nursery fees.

In addition, Abdul Shukur said other factors that prevented families from reaching their desired size were late marriages, difficulties in finding a spouse and fertility issues.

He said incentives in the form of financial aid to promote birth should be introduced by the government in addressing the issue.

“We are proposing to the government that additional incentives be given to parents such as nursery facilities, bonuses for each birth and helping to cover the cost of milk, which will directly assist parents to reduce their living expenses,” he said.

Abdul Shukur said when compared to the fertility rate of other Asean countries, the country’s fertility rate was at the third lowest with 1.9 children per woman, aged 15 to 49, after Singapore (1.2) and Thailand (1.5).

“The study in 2018 also found that Malaysia’s fertility rate had also dropped rapidly to 1.8 people, and this situation will accelerate the ageing process.

“It is likely that the country will reach the ageing nation status before 2030,” he said.

Abdul Shukur also said it was clear that if fertility rates continued to decline and no intervention was taken, Malaysia was expected to experience a population contraction for the first time in 2072, which would have an implication on the economy due to labour shortages.

by Bernama.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2020/07/12/the-high-cost-of-raising-children#cxrecs_s