PETALING JAYA: At some pre-schools, young children are not only exposed to formal education, they are also exposed to danger.
There are walls with cracks, broken sinks in toilets, broken slides and swings, ceilings with holes, and even toys that posed a health risk.
According to the Auditor-General’s report, congkak, a traditional toy with cut-out holes on the surface, supplied to pre-schools came with little pieces of multi-coloured beads that resembled sweets.
It said children at a special needs pre-school at SK Seri Sekamat, Kajang, Selangor, had accidentally swallowed these pieces.
The report added that play dough supplied to six schools was smelly and brittle.
Apart from this, the audit that was done on 80 pre-schools out of the 3,702 in the country found broken equipment at 26 schools.
It also found that the gas tank in the kitchen area was left exposed in one pre-school, and that poor quality utensils and cutlery were provided.
Certain schools did not have specific areas to teach skills. The report said the reason given was that classrooms did not have enough space.
It was also found that in some bathrooms, urinals and sinks for adults were installed instead of ones suitable for children.
Because the allocation was not enough, a few pre-schools were short of equipment.
“As many as 17 schools did not have items such as sandpits, computers and printers,” the report said.
The report added that some equipment such as slides and basketball posts also exceeded the estimated cost at a number of pre-schools by up to 240%.
The 3,702 pre-schools currently conduct 4,583 classes nationwide.
The Education Ministry has spent RM341.1mil to carry out the pre-school education expansion programme, while also using a portion of the RM2.23bil primary school education programme allocation, between 2004 and 2006.
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