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5 April 2015

[The Star] Academics focus on early childhood

THREE academicians from SEGi University have published a book on early childhood care and education.

The book which is entitled, “Early Child Care and Education in Malaysia — Towards Professionalisation” was written by Lydia Foong, Dr Palanisamy K. Veloo and Prof Dr Mogana Dhamotharan from the university’s Faculty of Early Childhood Care and Education.

Deputy Education Minister P Kamalanathan who launched the book recently, said early childhood education is an integral part of education policy.

“We anticipate enrolment for pre-school to reach 92%.

 

“Under the national key result areas’ initiative, the Education Ministry must ensure that 891,329 children between the ages of four and five across the country would obtain pre-school education provided either by the ministry, other government agencies, private sector or non-governmental organisations,” he said.

Kamalanathan said he was sure the book would assist the ministry to reach its target of 30,000 qualified pre-school teachers by the year 2020.

On the book, the authors were inspired to put their wealth of experience in writing to fill in the gap in resources needed for researchers, policymakers, early childhood care and education lecturers, students and practitioners, owing to the scarcity of materials on early childhood care and education in Malaysia.

The book also reviewed the status work conditions of the early childhood care and education in the country.

One of the three authors, Foong said a well-trained, motivated and well compensated early childhood care and education workforce, is crucial to the future of children.

“We need to recognise the potential of the workforce. The well-being of the workforce should be recognised to be as important as the transformation agenda established by the government,” she said.

Dr Palanisamy who is a co-author of the book, said: “Despite overwhelming evidence from research which shows beneficial outcomes of having qualified ECCE professionals, early childhood educators are among the lowest paid professionals. Until recently, ECCE was not a career of choice among school leavers.”

“In our book, we have testimonies from various stakeholders in the early childhood care and education field,” said co-author, Prof Mogana.

She said the authors discovered that even though the government is doing all it can to ensure children have access to quality pre-schools and childcare centres, it still very much depends on those at the ground.

“We have made several recommendations in the book and we hope all early childhood care and education practitioners will be passionate advocates in the field,” she said.

Approximately 25,000 Malaysians are involved in the early childhood care and education private sector, dedicating their lives to the care and education of the young from birth to six years of age in preschools and childcare centres across the nation.

Research has indicated that qualified educators in these schools can help children have better life outcomes.

SEGi has been equipping early childhood care and education professionals with more than 1,500 graduates in the field since 1999.

SEGi) has been appointed by the government as the Champion for Entry Point Project (EPP) 2 under the Education National Key Economic Area (NKEA) to develop integrated early childhood and childcare education in the country. The book is available at all major bookstores across the country at RM23.

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