Private kindies can reopen

PETALING JAYA: Private kindergartens registered under the Education Ministry can resume operations immediately.

However, they must be in areas that are not under the conditional movement control order.

“The ministry has decided that private kindergartens under our purview, in states and areas where the conditional MCO has ended, as well as locations not subjected to the conditional MCO, will be allowed to resume operations, ” according to the ministry’s letter seen by The Star.The letter, issued on Thursday, stated that the contents of the letter were to be made known to all officers in charge of private kindergarten matters, at the ministry, state education departments and district education offices.

“This notification is effective from the date this letter is issued, and is subject to the conditional MCO’s due date of each state or area, which will be decided by the National Security Council (NSC) from time to time, ” according to the letter signed by Education deputy director-general (school operation sector) Adzman Talib.

The letter reminded private kindergartens to comply with the ministry’s School Management And Operations In The New Normal Guidelines as well as standard operating procedure (SOP) set by the NSC and Health Ministry.

Welcoming the ministry’s decision, Malaysian Association of Kindergartens president Eveleen Khoo urged the institutions to observe the SOP strictly and diligently.

“Allowing kindergartens to jump start operations again is great for parents, some of whom can’t manage their children at home (while juggling other duties including work and chores).

“Meanwhile, teachers would be able to see their ‘children’ again and teach them more effectively via face-to-face lessons, ” said Khoo.

Referring to a study by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that found marginalised children are less likely to return to school once their time there is disrupted, Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said the group had always been advocating for all schools to remain open, especially for Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) and Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) students.

“In this case, we support the decision to reopen kindergartens. Children are anxious when peer interaction and routines are disrupted.

“We take this opportunity to urge for STPM and SPM students to return to school where physical engagement and interaction is crucial in grasping concepts and its applications.”

While agreeing with Noor Azimah, Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education chairman Mak Chee Kin pointed out that some parents might not be comfortable with sending their children back to kindergarten amid the number of Covid-19 cases that had skyrocketed.

“The decision to reopen must be synchronised with other parties, otherwise it will cause unnecessary problems to those who have children.

“Also, the ministry’s decision could cause confusion because if kindergartens are allowed to reopen, why not schools and higher educational institutions?” said Mak.

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