Archive for the ‘Early Childhood Education’ Category

Take a holistic approach to bringing up children.

Monday, January 21st, 2019

WE were told on Thursday that the government is “seriously considering” imposing a curfew for those under 18 as a way to curb social problems, particularly drug abuse, among young people.

Malaysia wants to emulate Iceland, which changed the law in 2002 to introduce something similar and has since recorded a decrease in the incidence of teenagers drinking, smoking and taking drugs.

The Nordic country actually relied on several other measures as well in making that positive change – and it is our hope always that the government tackles everything holistically – but because Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail mainly spoke about the possibility of a children’s curfew here, that is what people focus on.

The idea that it may one day be illegal for our children to be outside on their own at certain hours of the night, has definitely grabbed our attention.

We can be sure that everybody has an opinion on the matter because it involves our kids and their freedom of movement.

Naturally, there is both support for and opposition to such a move. We can expect a vigorous debate whenever the proposal is discussed.

But another piece of news that came out last week must be regarded as equally important.

On Wednesday, The Star highlighted that an infographic in a Year Three textbook has elements of victim blaming although it is meant to teach students to protect their modesty – the Bahasa Malaysia phrase translates literally to “protect the modesty of her sexual organs”.

The infographic offers guidance on how girls can protect their modesty. Tip No. 1 is on the choice of clothes, which suggests that how a nine-year-old girl looks can invite sexual assault.

The next part is on what happens if a girl does not protect her modesty. According to the Physical Education and Health Education textbook, she will dishonour her family and she will be ostracised.

The Education Ministry acknow­ledged that the infographic can be seen as blaming the victims of sexual misconduct and said following complaints, it had responded immediately to correct the textbook.

Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching said her ministry would study how to prevent mistakes in textbooks.

This is the kind of thing that makes people go, “What are they teaching kids in school these days?”

It was good that the ministry acted quickly and Teo’s statement provides some comfort.

But have we not heard all this before? Over the years, there have been many cases of people pointing out grammatical and factual errors in books used by schoolchildren. And we have often been assured that the textbooks are selected according to procedure.

In May 2017, when responding to an article in the Educate section of Sunday Star, the ministry’s Textbook Division said all school textbooks used by the ministry undergo a stringent checking process before they are distributed.

The division added that the textbooks were “produced professionally” with facts taken from authentic and credible sources.

The phrase “quality textbooks” comes up frequently in the division’s vision, mission and client charter. And that is the way it should be.

But this latest textbook issue goes beyond carelessness and flawed research. Injecting victim blaming and gender bias into schoolbooks is a form of miseducation. We cannot help but worry that there may be more of such bad judgment tucked away in other textbooks.

When we send our children to school, we hope that they will receive lessons and experiences that will expand their minds and feed their souls. We want them to be enlightened on the value of sensitivity, inclusiveness and respect.

If they instead have in their heads ill-conceived notions – for example, that the victims of sexual misconduct are often at fault – our kids may eventually find themselves unable to face the world with empathy and compassion.

The Star Says.
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Msia must take corruption seriously to become Asian Tiger once again: PM

Friday, December 7th, 2018
For Malaysia to join the ranks of developed countries and to be the tiger of Asia again, it should take corruption seriously, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said. (Pic courtesy from FAM)

PUTRAJAYA: For Malaysia to join the ranks of developed countries and to be the tiger of Asia again, it should take corruption seriously, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.

“I think it is about time for Malaysia to join the list of developed and capable countries and let the world know that we are a strong nation that respects democracy and the rule of law,” he said.

In his speech at the Sheikh Tamim Hamad Al Thani International Anti-Corruption Excellence Award presentation he said it was incumbent upon Malaysians to ensure efforts to improve governance and introduce anti-corruption initiatives intended at bringing an end to corrupt practices and abuse of power.

“We are not proud that at one time that Malaysia was described as a kleptocracy.

“We are today pulling all stops to not only remove the tag but also to remind all in Malaysia that corruption is not something to be tolerated. It should be treated with disgust and anger,” Dr Mahathir said.

Also present was Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Hamad Al Thani.

The Prime Minister said only by reducing corrupt practices could the government and nation move forward.

“Malaysia and Malaysians can only consider themselves developed when they can resist corruption and put a stop to it.”

Malaysia and Malaysians, he said, had made history in its May 9th election when the coalition that ruled since independence was voted out.

“Without doubt, it was the disgust for corruption that led the majority of Malaysians to stand up and vote out the previous administration,” he said, adding that corruption was an awful thing, one that could bring irreparable damage to society and the nation.

“Therefore, it is not the people who engage in corruption who we should look up to, but instead, we should celebrate the people who are working to fight it every day, which is why we are here today.

“The recipients of this year’s awards have done outstanding work through academic research, creativity, lifetime engagement, and innovation in combating corruption in their respective communities.

” I hope our fellow Malaysians can draw inspiration from your works and that it will lead to increased awareness of the importance of having integrity.”

One of the recipients was Nigerian former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Nuhu Ribadu for the Lifetime/Outstanding Achievement award.

He said such award sent strong message to the corrupt and those fighting corruption.

“When you fight corruption, it fights back,” he said, adding he had lost many of his friends in the fight against corruption.

Nuhu was reported to have “taken” US$15 million that was offered to him. But he used it as evidence to nail the perpetrator.

The award ceremony was organised by the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Centre (ROLACC) in Doha Qatar with the support of United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The Award is to promote the importance of tackling corruption around the World and encouraging the importance of the decisive measures stipulated in the United Nations Convention against Corruption by collecting and disseminating creative and distinguished related efforts in fighting corruption and present them with awards in a public event.

By Azura AbasHashini Kavishtri Kannan and Zanariah Abd Mutalib.

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Prizes for cleanliness, health and safety

Sunday, November 4th, 2018
Teo (fifth from left, front row) with the champions from SMK Convent Kedah.

Teo (fifth from left, front row) with the champions from SMK Convent Kedah.

THIRTY to forty percent of Malaysian children aged one to 10 are not getting the right nutrition, with one in five being overweight or obese, an independent survey conducted by Dutch Lady in 2013 found.

With over 19,000 children surveyed, the study further found that a high percentage of children are vitamin D deficient and have low levels of physical activities.

With that in mind, Dutch Lady Malaysia recently held the 3K (cleanliness, health and safety) Awards

and MyDMBS (Drink.Move.Be Strong) to educate and recognise primary and secondary school students’ efforts to improve the quality of their surroundings to boost fitness levels, while emphasising on cleanliness, health and safety.

The programme was temporarily halted in 2009 and relaunched in 2015 with Dutch Lady Malaysia as the ministry’s strategic partner.

Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching said the programme is designed to impact students’ development, schools’ physical environment, academic performances and students’ attendance.

“The 3K Awards is further strengthened with the MyDMBS campaign, an initiative by Dutch Lady Malaysia to prevent the transmission of non-communicable diseases among students, increase their awareness on the benefits of consuming nutrients like milk and encourage students to do physical activities.

“This year, 200 primary and secondary schools participated in the 3K Awards and MyDMBS campaign, with the involvement of 200,000 students and 10,000 teachers,” she said at the award ceremony on Wednesday.

Teo hoped more schools would get involved as the 3K concept is important.

Dutch Lady Malaysia managing director Tarang Gupta said the quality of entries for the programme this year was “impressive”.

“It’s a sign that overall, students’ performances and health awareness have improved,” he added.

SJK (C) Lai Meng, Kuala Lumpur and SMK Convent Kedah were crowned champions of the 3K Awards programme under the primary and secondary school category respectively.

Both schools walked home with a cash prize of RM5,000 each.

By Sandhya Menon
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Childcare centres: Minding their business

Monday, October 29th, 2018
The Welfare Department, too, needs to play a proactive role. It must work with other government authorities to think through strategies to increase childcare centres to the national requirement of at least 38,000. (NSTP Archive)

THERE is irony in their name. Many childcare centres, it appears, don’t really “care” about the children sent there. Unscrupulous operators of such centres see opportunities in parents’ desperate search for minders.

And home-based babysitters, too, are joining the rush for the ringgit by taking in more children than they can mind.

The end result is often tragic: deaths or injuries that change the lives of the children forever. And the lives of parents too. Like in many other things, issues related to childcare cannot and must not be solved on a piecemeal basis as we are prone to do.

Approaching the childcare issue from the national perspective is the best way forward. Picture this. Malaysia has 2.3 million children aged 4 and below, which means there is a need for 38,333 childcare centres.

But the Welfare Department statistics tell us a dismal story: there are only 4,302 registered childcare centres throughout the country. Perhaps it is time to get companies with a certain manpower strength to set up childcare centres. Companies with a good bottom line may want to consider subsidies as part of their remuneration package.

If the government can do this, most certainly companies can. There is a role here for the community too.

Residents in housing areas can through the residents’ association set up childcare centres to cater to their needs. Most often, national problems are best handled locally. Better still, housing developers should be required by law to build childcare centres, the number being dependent on the size of the housing estate. A law on minimum standards for housing and amenities will help.

The Welfare Department, too, needs to play a proactive role. It must work with other government authorities to think through strategies to increase childcare centres to the national requirement of at least 38,000. This may appear as a task beyond the Welfare Department’s remit. Not so. Minding the business of the nation’s children is after all part of the business chain of welfare services. The department must also seek to understand why childcare centres and home-based babysitters are not registering. A few of the unregistered centres do face genuine problems, such as meeting the minimum legal wage of RM1,050 with the RM300 fees per child paid by parents. Such centres cut corners by hiring untrained childminders for much less, thus breaking the law in the process.


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‘Easier for stateless kids to enrol in school soon’

Saturday, October 13th, 2018
(File pix) Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching greeting students at SMJK Kuching High yesterday. Bernama Photo
By Bernama - October 13, 2018 @ 8:45am

KUCHING: The Education Ministry will simplify the registration process for pupils without citizenship for admission to government schools, said Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching.

She said the ministry had decided that children without citizenship needed only produce their birth certificates, adoption papers or court order to enrol in government schools.

“If they do not have these documents, they can get verification from the community leaders or their people’s representatives,” she said after officiating a ceremony for the Gate of Alumni at SMJK Kuching High here yesterday.

She said in the case of children without citizenship, but with one parent who was a Malaysian citizen and had a birth certificate, would be allowed to enrol in government schools.

The new conditions would be implemented in January and the students would be allowed to sit for public examinations like Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah, Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia and Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia, said Teo.

“The move is because the government wants to provide formal education to all children,” she said.

She added that parents had up to two years to provide necessary documents.

Teo said the main reason children did not have citizenship was because their parents did not register their marriages before the children were born.

By Bernama .

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Careers in early childhood education

Friday, October 5th, 2018
Aspiring ECCE educators from SEGi posing for a group photograph.

Aspiring ECCE educators from SEGi posing for a group photograph.

IN LINE with rising demands for improvements in early childcare services, the Ministry of Education has made it a mission to ensure that all Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) educators have the minimum qualification of Diploma in Early Childhood by 2020.

SEGi College Penang has embarked on a journey to produce more qualified ECCE educators with its internationally recognised Diploma in Early Childhood Education (DECE)

Entry requirement is SPM/STPM/UEC. The programme with its flexible learning hours is suitable for in-service teachers and can be completed within two-and-a-half years.

Graduates can then opt to further their studies with the three-year honours degree programme in Early Years Education (BA EYE) in collaboration with University of Greenwich, UK.

Degree students will have the opportunity to undergo teaching practicum (Workplace Experience) in both Taska and Tadika.

Financial support is available through EPF, PTPTN, Affin flexi-payment and rebates

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Nurturing creative pre-schoolers

Friday, October 5th, 2018
E-Bridge Pre-School Penang’s stimulating environment makes learning fun.

E-Bridge Pre-School Penang’s stimulating environment makes learning fun.

E-BRIDGE Pre-School Penang’s ‘Learning through inquiry’ curriculum framework allows children to learn through play and have a say in what they want to learn.

Kids are encouraged to ask questions, then think about solutions while teachers serve as facilitators.

While most schools in Malaysia still use the old academic approach that overemphasises testing and memorising, E-Bridge recognises that it is more important to be able to apply information.

For example, its integrated bilingual approach to learning English and Mandarin encourages children to use both languages.

Its centres on Penang island are at Arena Curve in Bayan Baru and Jalan Pangkor in George Town.

E-Bridge Penang founder and managing director Patrick Tiah said, “We respect children as capable individuals who have their own views.”

E-Bridge does not use standard textbooks or workbooks to teach. Instead, teachers organise projects and activities where children can learn by applying.

For example, instead of learning maths by completing a worksheet, children can apply maths in a supermarket role play scene by adding up the cost of the items in their shopping basket.

This ‘integrated learning’ approach teaches a child many things in one activity.

In the example above, apart from numeracy and addition, they also learn literacy (by reading the labels on the items) and social skills (interacting with peers).

With this open-ended approach to learning, parents might wonder if their children would be able to adapt what they learnt to the more structured learning in national primary schools.

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The key to progress

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018
Study the education system of other countries and adopt, adapt and apply the good features to our own. —

Study the education system of other countries and adopt, adapt and apply the good features to our own. —

Examine the weaknesses of the country and how education can help to improve the situation.

I SIGHED with relief when I read the letter from the Education Minister (StarEducate, Sept 9) about his plan to transform the education system. One proposed move is the appointment or reappointment of the National Education Advisory Council members including a very trusted educationist and former chairman of the council in the form of former Education director-general Tan Sri Dr Wan Mohd Zahid Mohd Noordin.

I sighed with relief as the Minister appears to be finally heading in the right direction of formulating policies, after examining issues rather than making contentious statements such as changing the colour of shoes or inconsequential issues and plans like asking schools to hold Language Days and such, which are the actions of school heads and the district education offices.

He should understand that his function is to get the machinery under him to examine the whole system itself, sieve out the flaws and weaknesses and rectify them as well as find out the strengths that could be developed.

He should then determine the direction to take so that the healing of the country can be done since education is the key to progress in all forms and directions.

Education is one of the most vital ministries of any country. Finland recognises this and that is why they have directed their best students not only to go into important fields like science, medicine, engineering and economics but also education.

Similarly, Singapore has realised that their main resource is their citizens and so education is their prime concern. These two countries always score well in surveys of the education system. So why not learn from them even though our situation is different.

Differences can be ironed out.

In any case, one direction that could be taken is to study the education system of other countries and to adopt, adapt and apply the good features to our own system. There should not be slavish application of the features of other countries as we blindly did in the past.

Know our own situation especially the reasons for our ills and then remedy them. Ours is a complex situation with diverse races and religions thrown in. But some of the ills cut across the diversity.

To remedy this, let us look at the Japanese system to see how the schools help to educate the people so that they queue respectfully even for much needed rations during times of disaster unlike Malaysians who rush to pile up food at open houses.

Examine their curriculum and emphasis and what they want their citizens to develop into.

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Let’s start them young in being patriotic

Sunday, September 2nd, 2018
The young should be taught to love the country and be respectful of others, regardless of their background or religion. FILE PIC

AT a talk given to students of Seri Stamford College, Kuala Lumpur, in conjunction with National Day, I was asked how to make Malaysians patriotic.

Patriotism should be inculcated in childhood because when children love their home and country, they grow up appreciating their heritage, diversity and history.

They would strive to improve Malaysia.

Patriotism can be instilled in students through awareness, education and knowledge. The education system should inculcate in students a sense of pride and belonging to the nation.

Only through this sense of belonging can Malaysia’s younger generation be moulded into responsible and mature citizens and future leaders

Children can be moulded into not looking at things through coloured lenses.

Let children grow up together so that they get to know their peers.

The younger generation must be made aware of the importance of unity, social cohesion and reconciliation as these are the cornerstones of the nation’s success and development.

It is imperative that they forge closer relations.

Principals and teachers need to use creativity and skills to get students to participate in activities that boost racial integration.

They need to encourage students to understand one another better and to have mutual respect for each other.

They must be the prime movers of our educational transformation, not only to teach and impart knowledge and skills, but also to unite students.

Parents need to practise good values to inspire their children to emulate behaviour that will help them build a stable nation.

Values such as honesty, integrity, tolerance, diligence, fairness, respect for elders and civic-consciousness must be upheld.

After 61 years of independence, Malaysians should be more united. We should identify ourselves first as a Malaysian.

I have always believed that being Malaysian does not make us any less Malay, Chinese, Indian, Kadazan, Iban or Bidayuh

National unity and integration can be made stronger by inculcating patriotism in people.

History has proven that Malaysia was able to overcome challenges when the people were united.

Our diversity is our strength and it is the recipe of success in achieving development and socio-economic progress, as well as our ability to conquer adversities.

Malaysians, especially the younger generation, need to appreciate the concept of unity under 1Malaysia where everyone accepts the uniqueness of others so that we can live together.

It is the key to a peaceful country.

Nationhood and nation building are meaningless if the younger generation doesn’t learn values.

Youth can transform the nation and bring about positive change in the country.

They can influence their peers to contribute to nation building.


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Best national day gift for children

Sunday, September 2nd, 2018
Malaysia, as a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, must protect the rights of children. FILE PIC

THE best National Day gift we can give our children is to uphold their rights as children, to be granted citizenship, to live the life of a child, the right to education, healthcare and nutrition, and protected by love in this era of Malaysia Baru.

The nation yesterday celebrated its 61st National Day with participation by Malaysian from all walks of life.

I would like to dedicate this historic National Day celebration to the children of Malaysia.

The nation was shocked in June when an 11-year-old Thai girl married a 41-year-old man from Gua Musang, Kelantan.

Following that came media coverage of children being victims of trafficking, sexual violence, rape, incest and being married off as child brides or child grooms

We have thousands of stateless children born out of wedlock to refugees, children who grow
up on the streets, and even children in foster homes, all of whom will grow up to be stateless adults.

Stateless children are often subjected to bureaucratic nonsense, which will deny them the right to education (in spite of provisions in the law allowing them to do so), healthcare and the right to be protected from harm and danger, such as being married off at a young age.

Little and large Napoleons continue to dictate whether children are allowed to attend school. We must stop attempts to toy with the future of these children.

For this reason, I call on the Home Ministry to grant citizenship to children in foster homes when they reach the age of 4, if they have not been adopted, to allow them to go to school, like all children born in Malaysia.

All citizenship approvals for children must be expedited to prevent them from feeling unwanted.

As far as child marriages is concerned, even with reforms in the civil law through the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act, Islamic Family Law Enactments of the States for Muslims in Syariah courts, and native customary laws in Sabah and Sarawak, criminalising child marriages and penalising parents who give consent to their children to get married will not prevent the practice if there is no effort and participation from society.

We must work with the government to end child marriages.

I propose a moratorium on marriage applications through these three legal provisions, until amendments to the law to fix 18 as the minimum age of marriage, with no exception, is passed in the Dewan Rakyat, and in state Syariah and customary bodies.

I applaud the comment by Ismail Yahya, former Terengganu chief Syariah judge, calling for the minimum age for Muslims to marry to be fixed at 18.

The Pakatan Harapan government will promote the rights of children by putting the children’s agenda in the spotlight as Malaysia is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Therefore, the nation is bound to protect the rights of children.

While there are many issues surrounding the growth of children in Malaysia, the dilemma is about citizenship, which will at least guarantee that children can reap the joys of education, access to healthcare, access to nutritional food as well as protecting them.

What message will we send to our children when we place their interest first?

That we, as a government, as leaders, community chiefs and society take matters concerning children seriously and will work to ensure that no child is left behind.


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