Archive for the ‘Children's Safety’ Category

Drive-thru graduation ceremony for 247 kindergarteners

Monday, December 14th, 2020

Lui (second right) and Chang (right) give away the certificates to the kindergarteners.

KOTA KINABALU: To minimize the transmission of Covid-19, Likas Chung Hwa Kindergarten has come up with a unique graduation ceremony whereby the children received their certificates in a drive-thru setup.

Kota Kinabalu Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KKCCCI) president Datuk Michael Lui gave away the certificates to the kindergarteners in their vehicles on Saturday.

Of the 258 schoolchildren who completed their studies at the kindergarten, 247 showed up for the drive-thru graduation ceremony.

Also present were Likas Chung Hwa Kindergarten and Nursery’s management committee chairman Datuk Chang Chin Shin and vice chairman Datuk Chee Chi Vun.

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Private kindergartens outside CMCO areas can reopen, says MOE

Saturday, November 28th, 2020

PETALING JAYA: Private kindergartens registered under the Education Ministry have been given the nod of approval to start operations effective immediately – but only if the location they are in is not or no longer subject to the conditional movement control order (MCO).

“The ministry has decided that private kindergartens under our purview, in states and areas where the conditional MCO has ended, as well as locations not subject to the conditional MCO, will be allowed to resume operations, ” the ministry said in a letter sighted by The Star.

The letter, issued on Nov 26, stated that the contents of the letter were to be made known to all officers in charge of private kindergarten matters, at the ministry, state education departments, and district education offices.

“This notification is effective from the date this letter is issued and is subject to the conditional MCO’s due date of each state or area, which will be decided by the National Security Council (NSC) from time to time, ” said the letter signed by Education deputy director-general (school operation sector) Adzman Talib.

The letter reminded private kindergartens to comply with the ministry’s School Management and Operation In The New Norms Guidelines as well as standard operating procedures set by the NSC and Health Ministry.


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Impact of Covid-19 pandemic on children

Saturday, November 21st, 2020

These Year 1 pupils appear excited to start their first year of schooling in this file photo, taken prior to the nationwide enforcement of the MCO in March this year. Nov 20 is World Children’s Day. — Bernama photo

This article is in conjunction with World Children’s Day which falls on Nov 20.

KUALA LUMPUR: As the 2020 school year drew to a close on

Nov 9, parents and teachers could not help but reflect on how much the Covid-19 pandemic had affected Malaysian schoolchildren’s daily lives and studies.

On the last day of school, a primary school teacher in Seremban, affectionately known as ‘Cikgu Ila’, posted this message on her Year 1 pupils parents’ WhatsApp group: “I’ve already packed your children’s books. Later I’ll let u know when to come to the school to collect them.

“I feel sad as I go about clearing the classroom. Who could guess 2020 would end like this. We are forced to part without any speech or message for the pupils. After this (next year), the children will go to the second year.”

She also attached some photographs of the deserted classroom. Her pupils’ books, neatly packed and arranged on their desks, were a reminder of their rather brief stint in schools this year. Some of the parents were moved to tears by her message and photos.

“Sad to see ‘Cikgu’ packing up our children’s books. They only managed to go to school for a few months. They didn’t even have the chance to get to know their classmates better,” said one parent.

“Sad our children did not get to know each other or the chance to explore Year 1. It has been an ordeal for all of us,” said another parent.

Limited social interactions


The Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly impacted children’s lives and disrupted their daily activities.

Malaysian schoolchildren, for example, were barely in school for three months when schools were shuttered following the enforcement of the Movement Control Order (MCO) on March 18. Although schools reopened in the middle of the year, the children returned to a totally different environment due to the need for them to wear masks and practise physical distancing, as well as eat at their own desks during the break.

Are children at risk of developing mental and emotional issues in view of the new norms that are forced on them?

Child psychologist Dr Noor Aishah Rosli acknowledged that the Covid-19 pandemic had had an impact on children in terms of their emotional, cognitive and behavioural aspects.

Children, particularly those aged between four and 11, by nature are cheerful and love to mingle and play with their friends; however, the Covid-19 pandemic has drastically limited their interactions, she told Bernama.

“They could no longer go out and play with their friends at the playground or go to shopping malls with their parents. They have to stay at home as it is the safest place for them.

“Besides these social changes, some children feel stressed and fearful when their family members are obsessed with using sanitisers and face masks, and paranoid about getting infected by the virus.

“We also have to take into consideration children who come from different backgrounds – some of them may be living in big houses, but there are also those who live in congested dwellings with their big families. All these factors can influence their emotions, attitude and behaviour,” said Dr Noor Aishah, who is also a senior lecturer at Universiti Malaya’s Department of Educational Psychology and Counselling.

At a time when even adults are reeling from the effects of the pandemic, children need all the moral support they can get from their parents to remain motivated and keep themselves up-to-date with their studies and adapt to the new normal way of life.



Niena Najwa Mohd Rashid, a clinical psychologist at Pusat Pakar Psikologi Jiwadamai in Shah Alam, said among the challenges children might face were learning-related problems including illiteracy as this year’s limited formal schooling session had left syllabuses uncompleted.

“Learning online in an informal setting at home can affect their concentration and focus. Furthermore, not all children have access to Internet facilities, computers and printers.”

She said in this respect, the government should consider providing free Internet access or setting up Internet centres to ensure that children from needy communities would not be left behind in their studies, as a result of the pandemic.

According to Unicef Data Hub on the website, at least one-third of the world’s schoolchildren – 463 million children globally – were unable to access remote learning when the Covid-19 pandemic forced schools to close.

The actual number of students who could not be reached during the pandemic was likely to be significantly higher than this estimate. In many situations, despite remote learning policies and the presence of the necessary technology at home, children might be unable to learn due to skills gaps among their teachers or a lack of parental support.


Dr Noor Aishah, meanwhile, said parents played a crucial role in monitoring the academic progress of their children whose classes were being conducted online.

She said with the experience they had gained during the initial phases of the MCO, they should now probably be better prepared mentally and have the necessary devices to facilitate the e-learning process.

She, however, advised parents not to feel too stressed if they were not able to follow the online sessions with their children.

“It’s not easy for parents to supervise their children, especially if they’re working from home and have a number of children whose online classes they have to manage.

by Bernama.

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World Children’s Day: Chance to reimagine a better tomorrow

Friday, November 20th, 2020
The Covid-19 crisis is happening against a background of an ongoing climate crisis that threatens our children’s very survival and future potential.  - NSTP/File picThe Covid-19 crisis is happening against a background of an ongoing climate crisis that threatens our children’s very survival and future potential. – NSTP/File pic

LETTER Nov 20 marks the historical date in 1989 when the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the most widely ratified convention in human history. It is about children, young people and friends of Unicef reimagining a better future for every child. It is World Children’s Day.

For us, every “World Children’s Day” is special – but this year, “WCD” is unusual and unique. This year, the Covid-19 crisis has resulted in the deterioration of child rights globally. The costs of the pandemic for children are known – they are also immediate and, if unaddressed, may last a lifetime.

In Malaysia, as in many countries across the world, many families and children are falling off the edge, and into poverty, due to economic consequences of lockdowns to contain the virus. In education, the upheaval has exacerbated the learning crisis and widened gaps in access to quality education.

The Covid-19 crisis is happening against a background of an ongoing climate crisis that threatens our children’s very survival and future potential. In a survey of 1,377 young people in Malaysia, we know that 92 per cent of them think that climate change is a crisis.

Today, the global youth climate movement is sending a clear message to adults that children and young people are demanding their right to a safe and clean environment and demanding climate action. The future of a generation of children and youth is at stake. It is time for us to come together to reimagine the type of world we want to create.

As we discuss the best ways to avoid getting infected by Covid-19, this is a day to reimagine health. As children are still struggling to access quality education, this is a day to reimagine the future of learning. Most importantly, with the climate crisis affecting this generation and the next one, we must ask ourselves what planet we leave to our children, and how we prepare our children to heal the planet. This is a day to reimagine a world where every child can lead.

Unicef in Malaysia is embarking on a new country programme in the coming year. We approach our task at hand by looking at the most vulnerable in society, and with the strong belief that all children regardless of their background or status, must be given the opportunity to survive, thrive and reach their full potential.

When we say we work for every child, we also include migrant and undocumented children, Orang Asli children, and children from any minority and hard to reach communities. This approach follows the principle of leaving no one behind; when we take care of the most vulnerable, we are all protected.

In Malaysia, the government has taken action to show that it is serious about building back better. Budget 2021 lists support for families and children, such as increases in welfare support and increased allocation for mental health, laptops and internet data. I believe there are serious plans in place to curb the effects of climate change.

This is commendable and Unicef is here to support the government in their efforts to ensure no one is left behind.

This pandemic and the subsequent lockdown is an opportunity to take a step back to reimagine the world we want to live in. We cannot return to a pre-pandemic era, because that idea of “normal” is not good enough.

The one takeaway that has stayed with me from the Families on the Edge study is their resilience and creativity in weathering the Covid-19 storm. I believe that this is true about Malaysia. You are strong, resilient, creative, and you will emerge stronger.

This World Children’s Day, we want you to join us in reimagining a better world for every child. Follow Unicef’s World Children’s Day celebrations on social media and


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Health Ministry: Malaysia transitioning to six-series vaccinations for children

Tuesday, November 17th, 2020

PETALING JAYA: The Health Ministry will transition to a six-series vaccine schedule for children, says Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

The Health director-general said that the combination vaccine (hexavalent DTaP-IPV-HepB-Hib), now covers six diseases, namely diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, Hepatitis B and Haemophilus Influenzae Type B.

“As many as four doses will be administered to each child, at the two months, three months, five months and 18 months stages.

“In addition, the Hepatitis B vaccine that is given after birth will continue. The previous Hepatitis B vaccine given at one month and six months will no longer be required,” he said in a statement on Tuesday (Nov 17).

However, parents are still required to send their child for observation at those ages, as stated in their child’s health and immunisation record book, he said.

He added that the new schedule would involve fewer injections throughout the vaccination schedule, from seven previously to five.

“With this reduction, it is easier for parents to ensure their children are given the vaccination injections according to the set immunisation schedule,” he said.

The Health DG also assured the vaccines given are safe.

“Observations from the WHO showed that up till Oct 20,49 countries have changed to the DTaP-IPV-HepB-Hib six-series vaccine in their respective national immunisation programmes.

“While it has been used at private medical facilities since 2013 in Malaysia and has been proven to be safe, this will be new under the National Immunisation Program at Health Ministry facilities.

“As such the ministry will observe AEFI (adverse events following immunisation) on every child after each dosage.

“Parents should report any adverse effects experienced by their child to medical officers after each injection by returning the reporting form, even if the effect is minor such as a red spot at where the injection was made,” he said.

He also said that parents can report the matter directly to the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency via


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Milk to be provided every school day

Saturday, November 7th, 2020

UNDER the Supplementary Food Programme (RMT), milk will be provided every school day, instead of twice weekly as practised currently, Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said.

In presenting the 2021 Budget in Parliament, he said this was to ensure that students from low-income families received the essential nutritional requirements for their physical and mental growth.

He said the RMT programme would be improved with an allocation of RM420 million and a portion of the amount would be reserved for local milk producers.

He said for this year’s budget, the Education Ministry continued to receive the largest allocation of RM50.4 billion or 15.6 per cent of total government expenditure as education is an important investment in ensuring a better quality of life for future generations.

“To ensure a conducive learning environment, RM800 million has been allocated for maintenance and repair work on government and government-aided schools,” he said adding this was also for the construction of halls or roofing structures to cater for school assemblies.

“An additional RM725 million will be allocated to upgrade buildings and infrastructure at 50 dilapidated schools. To strengthen special education, RM45 million will be provided for the welfare of students with special needs,” he said.

He said for rural Sabah and Sarawak schools, 184 projects would be implemented for construction and installation of new tube wells at a cost of RM120 million.

Tengku Zafrul said RM14.4 billion has been allocated to the Ministry of Higher Education including RM50 million for repairs of obsolete infrastructure and equipment in public universities.

According to him, another RM50 million has been allocated to upgrade the Malaysian Research and Education Network (Myren) access line from 500Mbps to 10Gbps to ensure internet connectivity in institutes of higher learning (IPT).

The Government would be working with Bank Simpanan Nasional in financing the laptop loan scheme involving RM100 million, to ensure that undergraduates who received loans from the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) are able to study online, he added.

He said the tax relief of up to RM8,000 for the National Education Savings Scheme net savings would be extended until year 2022 to continue to encourage parents to finance cost of their children’s higher education.

“A total of RM6 billion has been allocated to enhance Technical and Vocational Training Education (Tvet) as well as for various initiatives including providing loans to 24,000 Tvet programme participants in public and private skills institutes and increasing the monthly allowance to RM1,000 for the national dual training system participants,” he added.

By: Bernama.

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376 education institutions in JB to close

Saturday, October 31st, 2020
A total 376 education institutions in Johor Baru have been ordered to close from Nov 1 to 14 after the Health Ministry confirmed  the district is now a Covid-19 red zone. - NSTP/SHARUL HAFIZ ZAM.A total 376 education institutions in Johor Baru have been ordered to close from Nov 1 to 14 after the Health Ministry confirmed the district is now a Covid-19 red zone. – NSTP/SHARUL HAFIZ ZAM.

KUALA LUMPUR: A total 376 education institutions in Johor Baru have been ordered to close from Nov 1 to 14 after the Health Ministry confirmed the district is now a Covid-19 red zone.

The Education Ministry said in a statement today that the institutions involved are primary and secondary schools under the ministry, Teachers’ Education Institutes as well as private schools registered with the ministry.

“Schools and institutions that have hostels will be closed as well. Parents or guardians must bring the students staying at the hostels home.

“However, students who are still waiting for their parents to pick them up and for those who wish to stay at the hostel during the closure will be under the supervision of the warden.

“The schools or institutions involved will provide food and drinks for the students staying (at their respective hostels).”

According to the ministry, the list of education institutions affected can be viewed at as well as the Education Ministry’s social media platforms.

Students who will sit for international examinations during the closure will need letters from their respective institutions to be able to sit for the examinations, according to the ministry.

“During the closure period, the respective institution administrators have been ordered to ensure teachers as well as students carry out teaching and learning (sessions) at home.

“Home teaching and learning manuals can be downloaded from the Education Ministry’s official portal at”

The Johor Baru district was declared a red zone after the number of Covid-19 cases surpassed 40 in just 14 days.

Johor health and environment committee chairman R Vidyananthan said in a statement today that information retrieved showed that most reported cases there involved the spread of the virus among family members and at workplaces.

He said monitoring and surveillance efforts would be boosted because of an expected increase in the number of cases soon.

By New Straits Times.

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Prioritise those with young children when enforcing remote working, says Cuepacs

Wednesday, October 21st, 2020

PETALING JAYA: Civil servants with young children should be given priority when it comes to implementing the Work From Home (WFH) ruling, says the Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs).

Cuepacs president Adnan Mat said other than this group of civil servants, priority should also be given to those whose spouses are frontliners, be it in the public or private sectors, throughout the entire conditional movement control order (MCO) period.

He said department heads must also reschedule duties of staff allowed to work from the office or in the field.

“This is to ensure that delivery to the rakyat is not affected during the MCO period.

“There should also be rotation of staff under the WFH order and those working in the field based on the needs of the department to avoid difficulties to their staff,” he said in a statement on Wednesday (Oct 21).

Adnan also said department heads must also ensure that those in the administrative and management levels, who are not required to be in the field or office, are selected for the WFH order.

“This can be done through a rotation or permanent basis so their presence at the office can be optimised to about 30% (of the headcount),” he added.

He noted that civil servants would not face much difficulties in adapting to the WHF order, as this has been done during the MCO in March.

Adnan advised the public to reschedule their visits to government offices if possible to avoid overcrowding during this period.

On Wednesday (Oct 21), Public Service Department director- general Tan Sri Mohd Khairul Adib Abd Rahman announced in a statement that public sector offices have been allowed a maximum of 30% of staff to be physically present from Thursday (Oct 22).

Mohd Khairul said the decision was made to ensure that the services at the respective agencies will not be affected, and can continue to be accessed by the public based on the respective ministries’, agencies’ and department’s customer charter.

When announcing the WFH order on Tuesday (Oct 20), Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said those who are to work from home beginning Oct 22 until the conditional MCO is lifted in Selangor, Sabah, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan are mainly those in the management and supervisory posts.

This decision will involve 800,000 workers in various industries, as well as close to 200,000 civil servants.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali said in a statement on Wednesday (Oct 21) that no more than 10% of those in management and supervisory posts are allowed to work on site.


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Parents should decide whether to allow kids to attend school

Friday, October 9th, 2020
A general view of Sekolah Kebangsaan Bangsar, following the Covid-19 cases at the school. -NSTP/SHAHMI IMRAN

A general view of Sekolah Kebangsaan Bangsar, following the Covid-19 cases at the school. -NSTP/SHAHMI IMRAN

KUALA LUMPUR: Parents should exercise their discretion in deciding whether they should risk sending their children to school or keep them home amid the rising positive Covid-19 cases among pupils.

Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) Malaysia chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said parental judgment was important.

“If a parent feels that their child is in danger, take heed and act on it. Parents do not need to wait for bureaucrats to make decisions for them if the life of their child may be at stake.

“If pupils do not attend schools during this new wave, the Education Ministry may well have to close these schools.

“In the meantime, lesson plans have been written and therefore can be given by teachers to students for reference.

“Parents will have to ensure that their children are disciplined enough to follow through,” she told the New Straits Times.

Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) Malaysia chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim. -NSTP/File picParent Action Group for Education (PAGE) Malaysia chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim. -NSTP/File pic

Noor Azimah was commenting on the concern of parents who were undecided if their children should be in school, including SK Bangsar, after two pupils were confirmed to have been infected by Covid-19.

In SK Bangsar, two female pupils in Year Five and Year Four, were believed to have been infected by their relatives who had attended a ‘kenduri’ recently.

Asked if the ministry should seek help from its Health Ministry counterparts to assist in conducting screenings among school children, Noor Azimah opined that it was impractical.

“Screening is an expensive affair and will not be viable. It is better to take precautions and stay at home,” she said.

Meanwhile, National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Harry Tan said it was up to the parents to assess if their children attend school or not.

“That is their prerogative. The only thing is they must inform the schools in writing if their children do not go to school. This is to avoid their names from being struck off the school roll,” he said, adding that there has been a decline in school attendance due to the spike in Covid-19 cases.

National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Harry Tan. - NSTP/File picNational Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Harry Tan. – NSTP/File pic

Tan said whether or not a school with positive Covid-19 cases should be closed or remain open must be reviewed on a case by case basis by the relevant authorities.

He said it was only right to let the authorities study the safety of the school children and the degree of infection caused.

“We believe the authorities have our safety as their priority. Our country is ‘at war’ yet at the same time, we do not want the country to collapse economically, therefore a good balance must be achieved.

“Allow the authorities to do their job because they have the facts and figures. If they are wrong, then the public will voice their concern.

“However, they have done a good job in trying to contain the problem and allay the fears of everyone at the same time,” he added.

Tan said that they were in agreement with the Education Ministry for schools in safe areas to remain open with strict adherence to the standard operating procedures.

Tan also felt that the Education Ministry should be proactively updating the public on the developments in schools to allay the fears of parents and school-goers.

“The ministry must play a more prominent role in disseminating information.”

By Dawn ChanFarah Solhi.

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MoHE: No option but to prevent mass movement of students

Sunday, October 4th, 2020
The Higher Education Ministry had no other option but to postpone the physical registration of new and returning students at their respective campuses to prevent mass movement amidst the rise in positive Covid-19 cases in the country. - NSTP file picThe Higher Education Ministry had no other option but to postpone the physical registration of new and returning students at their respective campuses to prevent mass movement amidst the rise in positive Covid-19 cases in the country. – NSTP file pic

KUALA LUMPUR: The Higher Education Ministry (MoHE) had no other option but to postpone the physical registration of new and returning students at their respective campuses to prevent mass movement amidst the rise in positive Covid-19 cases in the country.

Higher Education director-general Prof Datuk Seri Dr Mohamed Mustafa Ishak said the steady increase of new cases in the past few days had forced the ministry to postpone the physical registration at the very last minute.

“We have universities nationwide, with Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) in every state.

“We have 67,406 new students for this intake (October), hence there will be a mass movement of students from Peninsula to Sabah and Sarawak, and vice versa,” he said during Buletin Bernama programme on Bernama TV today.

He said other than the mass movement of students, parents and family members would also come to send the students and subsequently will stop at rest and service areas (R&R), hotels and universities.

Mustafa said the decision was made by the ministry only after its engagement with all universities and the Health Ministry, who opined that such a decision was inevitable due to the current Covid-19 situation in the country.

On Friday, the Higher Education Ministry (MoHE) had called for all institutes of higher learning to postpone physical or face-to-face registration of new and returning students at their campus for the October intake.

The ministry said all student registration exercises could be undertaken online, along with student registration matters, teaching, and learning.

The decision, however, had led to students being stranded at their universities.

Answering the question of why schools and kindergartens were allowed to operate as usual, Mustafa said this as their movement was on a small scale.

“We have to remember that school students move on a small scale within their area, while universities are scattered nationwide, hence the concern.”

Citing the Northumbria University and Newcastle University in the United Kingdom as an example, he said the mass movement of students saw numbers of its students test positive since their return to the universities.

“We want to prevent this from happening,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mustafa said students who have arrived at their universities are allowed to enter their residential colleges.

As for those who have rented accommodation outside campus, he said they should discuss the matter with their respective landlords.

“I believe those who have rented accommodation should have no problem moving in.”

As for students who have purchased their airline, train, or bus tickets, Mustafa said the students can re-schedule their trips.

“The ministry has discussed the matter with the airline companies, and they agreed to allow students to re-schedule and some even agreed until next year.

“The same goes for bus companies and KTM, where the students should contact them to reschedule.”

He said the ministry was trying its best to assist affected students.

“Affected students should also contact their respective universities for assistance.”

During the programme, Mustafa said students who have yet to leave for their universities and facing problems with online learning, especially those from rural areas, were allowed to use the facilities at higher learning institutions near their homes.

“Other than that, we also have 871 rural internet centres under the purview of the Communications and Multimedia Ministry and the Rural Development Ministry that could be used by the students, who have yet to come to their campuses, for their online learning which will begin next week,” he said.

On Saturday, Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad in a statement had apologised for any inconvenience caused and called on higher education institutions nationwide to better manage matters related to student enrolment.

She said the ministry was aware of complaints made by students and their family members following the decision to postpone the return and registration of current and new students.

By Nor Ain Mohamed Radhi.

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