KUCHING: All nursery and kindergarten teachers are required to hold at least a diploma qualification in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) by next year.
Minister for Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah said this was her ministry’s target as it strives to provide quality teachers and high value early childhood education for all children.
“At present, in terms of qualification, 3,676 out of 5,823 teachers do not have a diploma in ECCE. That is approximately 63 per cent of them.
“So, we need to work very hard and we have directed Sedidik nursery and kindergarten (run by the state) to have all its teachers acquire at least a diploma in ECCE by 2021,” she said at the Sidma College Sarawak 6th Convocation Ceremony held at Kompleks Islam Sarawak hall today.
She added that National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN) assistance is difficult to obtain nowadays so the ministry is currently discussing with Yayasan Sarawak to provide loans for the teachers to pursue diploma in ECCE.
She said this is because these teachers play important role in education as they build a child’s foundation from the start.
She added that the Sarawak government recognises the importance of early childhood education and care by creating Early Childhood Development Division under the ministry, gazetted in May 2017 and approved post in June 28, 2018.
As such, the state government has been investing in grants and working to put a support system in place to provide quality ECCE, she said.
“The state government does this because it recognises that it is in pre-schools that the children with the help of the teachers learn and further develop their vocabularies and language skills, counting and numeracy skills, interaction and social skills outside their family circle.
“We have a commitment to ensure that everyone, practitioners or providers in this field, feel that they are as important as other teachers in primary school, in secondary school or in universities. This is the stand taken by the state government,” she said.
As of November last year, there are 258 registered nurseries in the state with 4,239 classes and 906 children.
For registered kindergartens, there are 2,904 institutions with 5,175 classes and 81,104 children.