KUCHING: The state government wants more childcare centres to be set up in the workplace next year.
Welfare, Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah said at the moment there were four such centres in Sarawak.
“This is important for productivity and a win-win situation for working women who need a safe place for their children while they are at work.
“So we want to make sure that there will be an increase in childcare centres in the workplace,” she told reporters after chairing a meeting of the Sarawak Early Childhood Education Development Council here yesterday.
She said starting next year her ministry would hold briefings for employers in both the public and private sectors on how to set up childcare centres in their respective workplaces.
“We will also share with them other information, such as the assistance provided by the government for setting up these centres and subsidies for parents who send their children there.
“This will be one of our main agendas next year. We will walk the extra mile to help employers to set up childcare centres at the workplace,” she said.
Fatimah said the ministry also wanted to see more children’s playgrounds in residential areas next year.
She said a pilot project of a playground done in collaboration between the ministry, a private company, local authorities and residents’ committee would be launched in December.
“Play is an important element in early childhood education. Outdoor playgrounds provide a safe and conducive area for a variety of activities to help stimulate physical, cognitive and communication development of children,” she said.
“It will also encourage engagement and healthy bonding between parents and children.”
She hoped the pilot project in Kuching would be emulated by other local authorities and residential areas.
On another matter, Fatimah said the early childhood council planned to introduce three awards in conjunction with its 10th anniversary celebration next year.
The awards are for a Model Preschool, Excellent Preschool Teacher and an individual who has contributed to childhood education.
“We want the recipient of the Model Preschool award to be a benchmark of quality for other preschools, while the Excellent Teacher award will serve to recognise outstanding preschool teachers and motive the rest to aspire towards excellence,” she said.