Many sectors have been hit hard by the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) but none as badly as the early childcare segment.
There are 25,000 registered kindergartens – 18,000 under the government and 7,000 privately run – as well as 5,000 childcare centres nationwide.
These kindergartens employ about 60,000 teachers and teaching assistants while childcare centres have about 18,000 employees. However, they all have been ordered closed and this has severely disrupted education during the formative years of our children.
Many of these centres are struggling to stay afloat as parents are not willing to pay fees since there are no classes. Some offer online lessons but they are few and far between.
Veteran educator Mohan Dallumal said kindergartens and childcare centres provide an invaluable service.
“Those in the safe zones should be allowed to operate as the children need a sense of normality,” said Mohan, who specialises in training early childhood educators.
“Parents shouldn’t be afraid to send their children to kindergartens as the teachers are well-trained. They will follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and guidelines.
“More importantly, the children will get a proper education,” he added.
Mohan is also worried about the mental wellbeing of children.
He had earlier told Twentytwo13 that up to 500,000 children entering Year One are not prepared academically for the challenge they face due to the stop-start school year.
Brainy Bunch Group founder Fadzil Hashim had reportedly said Malaysian early education associations and private schools suffered losses of close to RM50 million since the start of the partial lockdown in March due to Covid-19.
Fadzil said this a day after Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, during his daily briefing on Monday, said the government was aware of the situation and gave the assurance that a solution would be found soon.
Nurseries, schools, colleges and universities in the UK remain open despite a month-long lockdown which has tougher restrictions. Singapore has also allowed children to continue schooling since June despite the country not opening up completely.
Several other countries, including Canada and Japan, have also allowed schools to open despite fears of rising Covid-19 cases worldwide that have resulted in over 1.2 million deaths.