Early childhood education now available at Swinburne Sarawak


Lau (third right) presents a memento to Fatimah while (from left) Noriah, Rosey, Leong, and Wong look on. – Photo by Roystein Emmor

KUCHING (April 5): Sarawakians who wish to pursue further studies in early childhood education can now do so at Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus.

Its pro vice-chancellor Prof Lau Hieng Ho said the September 2023 intake for the Diploma of Early Childhood Education is now open.

“We are looking for the first batch of students for the programme. All approvals for this diploma have been obtained in the last few months.

“We spent about two years to get the qualifications and it is approved by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) as well as the Ministry of Higher Education,” he told reporters during his courtesy call on Minister of Women, Childhood and Community Wellbeing Development Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah at her office here yesterday.

Lau, who is also Swinburne Sarawak chief executive officer, said the two-year diploma was in line with what the Sarawak government wanted.

“It will help our nursery teachers to acquire the qualifications required under the regulations and law.

“This is a very important step for us to meet the Sarawak government’s vision so that all educators of nurseries and preschools in Sarawak have the right qualifications,” he said.

He said the diploma programme would be conducted entirely at the Sarawak campus, and graduates could also proceed to further their qualification to a bachelor degree in the same field if they wish to do so.

Meanwhile, Fatimah said her ministry was looking forward to the diploma programme offered by Swinburne Sarawak as it is in line with the ministry’s focus in developing early childhood education in Sarawak.

“To have quality education for our preschool children, we need teachers to be properly trained and qualified in terms of knowledge and skills,” she said.

She also suggested that Swinburne Sarawak offered a weekend course for teachers who do not have a diploma or bachelor’s degree in early childhood education but wish to upgrade themselves.

“If Swinburne can offer weekend courses or conduct the courses during school holidays, the teachers do not have to leave their job as they can attend classes during this period.

“We in the ministry will definitely assist especially those who have yet to have the qualification or those who wish to further their studies in early childhood education,” she said.

Fatimah said the diploma programme offered by Swinburne Sarawak would no doubt be awaited by teachers.

“But for the kindergarten and nursery operators, I am sure they do not want their teachers to leave their job.

“If the course can be held on weekends or during school holidays, it would be a win-win situation for the kindergarten, the children, operators and the teachers themselves even though the course may take longer to complete when compared to a full-time course,” she said.

Deputy Minister of Women, Children and Community Wellbeing Development Datuk Rosey Yunus and the ministry’s permanent secretary Noriah Ahmad, Swinburne Sarawak Centre for Education Research director Assoc Prof Hugh John Leong Yik Kuan, dean of the Faculty of Business, Design and Arts Prof Brian Wong Kee Mun, and Business Development and Liaison director James Ho Kok Chai were also present at the visit.