18/11/2023 04:50 PM

SANTUBONG, Nov 18 (Bernama) -- The Ministry of Women, Family, and Community Development plans to make it mandatory for kindergarten and childcare centre staff taking care of children with special needs, to be trained in a basic course of caring for disabled children.

Its Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said to this end, the National Special Education Seminar 2023 will be expanded nationwide to prepare all kindergarten and childcare centres to handle children with special needs.

“We do not want to leave anyone out, as looking at the reported abuse cases we have identified that there are childcare providers without such training,” she said at a press conference after launching the seminar, here today. 

She said seminars are being rolled out by associations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) related to disabled children with allocations from the ministry.  

Nancy said of the 107,020 children with special needs under the Minister of Education as of Jan 31 this year, only 7,582 are registered with the Social Welfare Department, which makes it a challenge for the ministry to take early intervention before they start schooling. 

She urged parents to register, saying that there is still a lack of awareness and therefore the ministry will collaborate with NGOs to conduct more promotions to tackle the community’s stigma against this group. 

So far, the Social Welfare Department has established 11 kindergartens for children with special needs and plans to increase the number next year, she added.   

Earlier, the chairman of the National Association of Early Childhood Care and Education of Malaysia, Shamsinah Che Shariff, said the association will continue working with the government, industry players, and the community to overcome issues and challenges in early childhood education and daycare faced by Malaysia. 

“I hope this seminar will become the platform where various parties and experts in the field can share information, knowledge, and their experience towards sustaining the type of early childhood education we wish for,” she said.