FOLLOWING an announcement by the government to establish an elite Tabika (kindergarten) with better curriculum offerings for children whose parents with higher financial capacity, Selayang MP William Leong Jee Keen believes that the decision is ‘ill-advised.
According to a statement released yesterday, Deputy Minister of Rural Development Mohamad Abdul Rahman explained that the proposal was actually made in order to meet the demand from M40 families.
However, the statement added that he did not clarify whether the parents will need to pay higher fees.
“Although the Deputy Minister says there will be no difference curriculum-wise, why can’t the government allocate more funding so that all children, irrespective of their parent’s financial capabilities, be given quality education?” Leong said in the statement.
“Are children of poor families condemned to receive poor quality education, even from the starting gates of life at the pre-schooling era?” he added.
Leong also pointed out that the ministry may have failed to consider the government’s commitment to the sustainable development goals (SDG), specifically SDG 4, which is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education to promote lifelong learning opportunities.
“This elite Tabika idea shows that the current government is either insensitive to issues of inequality or there is a lack of political will to address the real issues of inequality,” Leong said. “Inequality is not inevitable. It is a political choice.”
In the statement, Leong advised the government to invest in free education as it is crucial to giving every child a fair chance, ‘not just for those who can afford to pay’.
This can be achieved through government funding and not turning it into profit-making organisations or extracting higher fees from parents. – Oct 3, 2020