01 Jan Chairman’s New Year Message: A Journey of Inspiring Aspirations
A Journey of Inspiring Aspirations
Parents have often told me that the comprehensiveness of the modules at Dika is something they could not find anywhere else. In fact, we have students who have opted to join Dika, even after starting programmes elsewhere.
This made me reflect, and that is why I am starting this message with an account of Dika’s founding. I am reminded that who we are today, and how we affect the lives of those around us, is a culmination of 17 years of toil, dedication and relentless commitment to the early childhood education sector.
For the Love of Children
Dika College was founded 17 years ago to fill a dire gap in the industry – the education and training of well qualified and passionate educators who specialise in the teaching, development and care of pre-primary children.
The task was huge and the landscape vast, but Dika stoically soldiered on to craft an Early Childhood Education (ECE) and Special Education (Early Years) curriculum that, to this day, is highly regarded as one of the best in the industry.
Today, we provide a pathway for all Malaysians, 17 years and above, without an SPM or equivalent, regardless of age. Our Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia (SKM) courses are the only SKM courses conducted in English and are a seamless pathway to a diploma and further education.
Dr Sim Quan Seng, Chairman, Dika College (L) and
Raja Singham, Managing Director, BAC Education Group (R)
Dika College and BAC Education Smart Collaboration to drive specialist Early Childhood Education.
It is heart-warming to have members of the education industry join forces and enter the fold to make a mark in ECE. The Dika Smart Collaboration with BAC Education in 2021 will significantly bolster the education and training of highly competent educators for the ECE industry.
At the same time, we earnestly continue our socially responsible partnerships, such as those with the Kuala Lumpur Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) and the Full Gospel Assembly (FGA) to reach out to young men and women in rural areas to offer them an opportunity to be educators.
Worth Every Extra Mile
Ready to challenge the status quo and uplift early childhood education standards.
Crafted by industry practitioners and modelled after international benchmarks, Dika’s modules are abreast of industry practices. They are niche, and they emphasise the added aspects of entrepreneurship and the teaching of arts, technology, music, and the staples of language, maths, and sciences. These are complemented by modules that focus on the personal and professional development of the educator.
Dika’s students are taught the intricacies of curriculum development and classroom planning as they are exposed to the forefront of pedagogical methods such as ‘play’, which is proven valuable in developing the minds of young learners.
Many of our alumni have climbed the ranks to embrace supervisory positions. Many took to being operators whilst others ventured into curriculum development and innovating creative solutions for ECE through books and digital applications.
I have also read about alumni furthering their studies to the master’s level and beyond. They share that they hope to affect more significant change for the industry.
The Amazing “Dikaian” Spirit
Dika’s alumni embody a vision to Inspire Aspirations.
Yet, no matter how many stories I read about the achievements of our alumni, I continue to be amazed and astonished by their spirit.
Alumnus Nelvianna Masandul, who joined the Diploma in Early Childhood Education (DECE) via the Dika-YWCA collaboration, is bringing equitable ECE to over 100 kindergartens in the interiors of Sabah.
Ita Asup is working with her community in Gua Musang, Kelantan to ensure that indigenous children get a solid ECE foundation.
Wong Siow May is a headteacher in Cambodia with an international kindergarten chain and volunteers to teach Cambodian children in the villages.
Ong Tan Tan, our alumnus from the first DECE batch of graduates, is an advisor to the Parent Support Group for Children with Special Needs (SEN) in Singapore Public Schools.
Many more of our alumni affect early childhood education in inspiring and admirable ways.
No Time to Rest on our Laurels
Educators must keep the well-being of children at the core of their commitment.
We continue to draw strength from the ‘Dikaian’ spirit in the coming months. The pandemic has taught us that there are no distinctions. The very measures to stifle the virus have resulted in millions of children locked out of school, some even locked in abusive situations. Many parents have lost their financial means, and in the cruellest circumstances yet, children have lost parents, friends and family to the disease. The gaps that we have worked hard to close, if left unchecked, will progress into widening chasms.
These children will be in our classrooms, and until we help them understand what has happened, no education can occur. As our alumnus, Ita Asup, so rightfully expressed, “Being a preschool educator is not just about teaching, it is about caring for and nurturing children, nursing wounds, kissing away tears, and providing comfort as a mother would.”
THE DIKA FAMILY: Coming together creates a healthy, happy and bright future for children.
I would like to pay tribute to the staff of Dika College who have exhibited a continued commitment towards Dika’s “Inspire to Aspire” vision throughout the years. You have much to be proud of.
To our students, alumni and partners, continue to be the bright and shining star that you are.
Everybody matters if we are to give children a healthy, happy and bright future.
Happy New Year, and may you be blessed with the good things in life.
Dr Sim Quan Seng
Chairman, Dika College