2024年3月15日金曜日

SARAWAK APPROVES SPECIAL ANNUAL GRANT OF RM 14 MLN FOR 2,800 EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION INSTITUTES - SAYS MINISTER

SARAWAK APPROVES SPECIAL ANNUAL GRANT OF RM 14 MLN FOR 2,800 EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION INSTITUTES - SAYS MINISTER

@Jackie San

KUCHING, SARAWAK (March 03, 2024): The Sarawak government has approved a Special Annual Grant (GTK) allocation of RM14 million for 2,800 registered early childhood education institutes (IPAKK) in the state, said Minister of Women, Childhood and Community Wellbeing Development Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah.


“Each registered IPAKK will be granted RM5,000 from the GTK on several conditions — the GTK must focus using the allocation to provide healthy and balanced nutrition to children; conduct Fun Learning, Experiential Learning; and digitalisation in early childhood care and guidance.


“This includes parental engagement programmes and professional development courses for educators and caregivers,” she said during the inauguration ceremony of ‘Taska di Tempat Kerja Si Cilik’ at the Puncak Borneo Prison Complex here.


Fatimah said the application for the GTK 2024 commenced on Jan 24 and will be open until March 24, and applications should be submitted through the iSarawakCare website.


She also highlighted challenges faced by parents with low incomes residing in urban areas, citing the lack of government-managed childcare centres and preschools with minimal charges as one of them.


“Consequently, the Sarawak government has approved a total of RM2.5 million to subsidise fees for private IPAKKs. This initiative aims to alleviate the financial burden of parents of sending their children to registered private IPAKKs.


“Applications are open to all registered private IPAKKs and families with a household income of RM7,000 and below. The subsidy rate is RM1,000 per child annually, and we hope such initiatives will assist those in need.


“Applications for this IPAKK Fee Subsidy can be made online from March 11-April 1 this year,” she said.


Meanwhile, Fatimah strongly refuted claims that 84 per cent of children in Sarawak are malnourished.


“We are aware the state’s Health Department conducted their post-natal examination to monitor the health of our children here. We managed to obtain the profile regarding the prevalence of underweight conditions among children below five years old in Sarawak.


“As of 2016, only 17.8 per cent of children in Sarawak were underweight while data in 2022 shows 15.6 per cent. Is it possible for the number of underweight children to suddenly increase to 84 per cent within a two-year period?,” she questioned.


Also present was Sarawak prisons department director Mohd Andri Md Ridzwan.

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@Jackie San

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