Pua Chee LIng, Chief Executive of Dika College

Are we in the early childhood education industry for the right reason?

If there is one saying that stakeholders within the early childhood education (ECE) sector agree on, it would be that of, ” It takes a village to raise a child”; and this is evidently so because every child is unique. “No two children are alike, physically, emotionally, socially and intellectually,” said Pua Chee Ling, Chief Executive of Dika College. “And because children are unique, they must be understood by the community around them and their individuality must be respected and nurtured,” added Pua.

Pua was keen to highlight that the quality of education a child receives from birth to the age of eight is pivotal to the success that he or she will achieve in later years. This phase of development is so crucial, in fact more so than the emphasis that is often placed on primary and secondary education.

“We want to encourage everyone to value a child’s formative years; and we are convicted that a good way to start would be through dialogue and discourse; leading to a commitment to make the much needed change, as radical as it may be, to uplift the standards of ECE in Malaysia to rival the best in the world,” said Pua who was commenting on the upcoming Early Childhood Education Symposium.

Pua who has a considerable number of years in the ECE sector explained that there is a palpable realisation in Malaysia on the importance of ECE, marked by the robust growth in child care enterprises; reinforced by the Government-led initiative for early childhood educators to be equipped with at least a diploma. In recent years, there has also been a greater push for special needs education (SE) to be made an inclusion rather than the exception; apparent in the Malaysia Education Blueprint (2013-2025) necessitating the integration of special needs education into mainstream school curriculum.

“However as the sector grows, so has the overall ECE industry and its network of systems involving all levels of public governance; and encompassing private and non-profit organisations,” said Pua who further explained that whilst each entity plays a significant role in enhancing ECE, it is imperative that everyone comes together to collectively raise the standards of ECE experience for all children.

“It has never been more pertinent for all stakeholders beginning with parents, right through to every person who comes in contact with the early development of a child, to understand the importance of keeping the well-being of every child at the heart of their initiatives,” emphasised Pua who shared that this was the reason behind the symposium’s theme #initfortherightreason.

“It is time to UNITE and the symposium is a platform where key stakeholders can come together to reflect and gain insights; with the aim of furthering the understanding and instilling the importance of keeping the child’s well-being at the heart of their initiatives,” added Pua.

The Early Childhood Education Symposium 2018: #initfortherightreason will be held on the 18-19 August 2018. It will explore, discuss and discern pertinent issues and concerns in the hope of bringing about a mind shift that will strengthen early childhood education in the country.

Register today at tiny.cc/initfortherightreason#initfortherightreason Learningbox KL

Children are unique. They are individuals and no two children are alike_ physically, emotionally, socially and intellectually. They must be understood by the community around them and th