Universal pre-school education on track

THE goal to achieve universal pre-school enrolment for Malaysian children by 2020 was given a boost when the Education Ministry surpassed the Education National Key Results Area (NKRA) target to have a 72% pre-school enrolment rate. Till September, a total of 697, 469 children (72.04%) were enrolled – an increase of 54,569 children from last year’s enrolment rate of 67%.

Education deputy director-general (Education Operations) Datuk Noor Rezan Bapoo Hashim said that this was down to successful mobilisation efforts which saw 1,381 new pre-schools built nationwide as well as encouraging private sector involvement.

Statistics from the ministry showed that private providers had set up 506 new pre-schools while the ministry set up 325; the Community Deve­lopment De­part­ment (Kemas) and the Department of National Unity and Integration (Perpaduan) had set up 500 and 50 schools respectively.

“We are faring well as far as pre-schools are concerned,” said Noor Rezan.

“The private sector is heavily involved and this complements the efforts conducted by the ministry, Kemas and Perpaduan. We have surpassed this year’s target and are on course to meet the 2012 target to have an 87% enrolment rate.

“A 100% pre-school enrolment rate by 2020 is achievable and this would make Malaysia one of the few countries to have successfully done so. Don’t forget that we have already achieved this with primary education.”

Noor Rezan said that the private sector was encouraged by the Government’s friendly policies, like the provision of a launching grant worth RM10,000 which is dis-bursed to new private providers who charge fees of less than RM150 per child per month. A total of 256 new private pre-schools have received the grant so far.

Noor Rezan said that starting early was vital for the target group of four and five-year-olds as the Unesco Education for All Monito-ring Report 2008, showed that children with pre-school education would have a head start in primary school.

Read more @ http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/10/20/nation/7229338&sec=nation

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