SIBU: The Sarawak government has agreed to give an annual grant of RM5,000 each to all registered nurseries and kindergartens, starting from next year to strengthen the quality of early childhood education, said Welfare, Community Well-Being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah.
She added the grant is provided irrespective of whether the nurseries or kindergartens are government or private ones, so long they are registered.
She pointed out that for private nurseries, they must be registered with Welfare Department while private kindergartens with Ministry of Education.
That RM5,000 is allocated to the nursery or kindergarten to help them prepare healthy or balanced diet for the preschoolers. This is very important for the growth of our children.
I have seen that there are nurseries, kindergartens where the food sometimes provided are not (of) balanced diet. At this age, they are growing � we must give them healthy diet, she told reporters after officiating at the presentation of ‘Reading Seeds’ kit at Sibu Civic Centre today.
Fatimah, however, said there is flexibility where if some nurseries or kindergartens felt that they could manage in preparing the healthy diet, they could utilise the grant to purchase teaching and learning aid such as laptop and books among others. She specified that it must be for teaching and learning purposes only.
She hoped that through such initiative, more nurseries and kindergartens would be registered in order to be eligible for the benefit.
Touching on the monitoring process, she stressed that the applicants would need to submit a report to her ministry.
The first stage � they have to submit (report) to us (Ministry of Welfare, Community Well-Being, Women, Family and Childhood Development) that they are registered. We need to have their (registration) number to double check with our registration record.
From there, the ministry would vet the application form to determine the purpose requesting for the grant, she added, emphasising that monitoring is most important to ensure that the purpose follows what the grant is intended for.
The Dalat assemblyman also said every Sarawakian baby born next year will be given RM1,000, starting Jan 1.
She, however, explained that the money can only be withdrawn when the child attains the age of 18 for tertiary education purposes.
She noted the state government has set aside RM40 million for such purpose based on the statistics that there are about 40,000 newborns in Sarawak each year.
Also present at the function were Sibu Hospital director Dr Ngian Hie Ung and Sibu District Office and Resident Office representative Zulkarnain Ismail.
Source: SARAWAK GOVERNMENT