KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 1 — The Community Development Department (Kemas) has guaranteed there will be no double standards concerning its proposal to establish kindergartens for the children of middle-class families.
The department, under the Rural Development Ministry, said this in reference to the teaching and facilitating approach, which covers modules, teaching materials, facilities, and educator manpower, which will remain the same as seen and implemented in regular Kemas kindergartens.
Deputy Rural Development Minister I Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Mohamad said the original intent of the Kemas kindergartens when they were first established in the early 1970’s was to provide early education opportunities for lower income groups.
“After nearly 30 years in operation, the number of applications to join is on the rise, especially from the M40 middle class group, based on studies carried out,” he said in a statement.
Abdul Rahman said the proposal is part of the ministry’s efforts via Kemas to provide opportunities to M40 parents to send their children there, and to resolve the existing issue of filling up the quotas for Kemas kindergartens.
“However, the proposal is still being discussed, and Kemas’ study will be tabled at the Cabinet level, to create kindergartens for the M40 group.
“As such the ministry will identify a suitable name for the Kemas M40 kindergartens, after the tabling and approval from Cabinet,” he said.
The proposal has since been subject to criticism from MPs and the public, who are worried this would lead to an education gap between the rich and the poor.
Among the critics are Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh who said it would be better for the government should seek to improve early childhood education quality across the board, and Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto who tweeted that it is not the government’s duty to start elite kindergartens for the affluent.