KUCHING: A one-stop centre will be set up in the State Welfare Department and Education Department here in a month to speed up the licensing and registration of all private and government-operated childcare centres and kindergartens.
Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department Datin Fatimah Abdullah said these centres would cut down the application process from one year to less than a year with the relevant government agencies pledging to clear all paper work in 14 days.
The agencies involved are the Land and Survey Department on land title conversion, Fire and Rescue Department (fire plan, including escape lighting), councils (building layout plans and factors like ventilation) and the Health Department (food menu, and medical and vaccination certificates for employees).
“Before we had the Early Childhood Education Council, the application and approval duration could take up to five years. This had been reduced to a year now.
“We hope to reduce that to less than a year with a very organised system through the setting up of a one-stop centre for childcare centres (for children aged four and below) or taska and kindergartens (for children aged five and six),” said Fatimah.
The childcare centres would be registered with the Welfare Department and the kindergartens with the Education Department, she told reporters after chairing the council’s meeting here yesterday.
Fatimah said it was important to register all childcare centres and kindergartens to ensure quality education for the children and most of all, guarantee their safety.
“Those who registered with the departments will be distinguished by a quality assured logo either in the form of a billboard or fishtail banner that will be placed strategically for public viewing. Parents will then know if they are enrolling their children with registered or non-registered centres,” she said.
As of July 22, she said 46 childcare centres had been registered with the Welfare Department while 100 had not done so or were pending approval.
She said the number of unregistered kindergartens was still “quite big” and to date 2,395 private and government-run kindergartens had registered with the Education Department.
Fatimah said the council had prepared a standard guideline for all pre-school providers to follow to ensure quality early childhood education.