KUCHING: The state government will continue to enhance the quality of pre-school education, said Welfare, Community Well-being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah.

She said that through her ministry, all registered pre-schools (Institut Pendidikan Awal Kanak-Kanak ― IPAKK) in Sarawak now were able to apply for Special Annual Grants (Geran Tahunan Khas ― GTK) amounting to RM5,000 from the state government.

“Starting this year, the state government has given a total of RM16 million to all registered IPAKKs in the state at RM5,000 each," she said in her speech at the launch of Inspirational Book Series 2019 here in Vivacity Megamall, yesterday.

Fatimah said the GTK helped provide free nutritious and balanced meals and initiate fun learning for the development of children.

“This will help enhance professionalism among our preschool educators," she said, adding that 92 per cent have applied for the GTK.

“Over RM10 million have been distributed to the schools and we have 3,030 registered IPAKKs in Sarawak," she said.

Fatimah (fifth left, second row) and a group of children from Smart Reader Kids.

In realising the critical need for holistic human development, Fatimah believed that it was necessary for pre-schools in Sarawak to implement the 'Bersih Awal, Bersih Akhir' (BaBa) programme for inculcating good values in children from an early age.

“With ideas derived from a programme known as 'O-soji' in Japan, we introduced BaBa to teach, guide and inculcate values like cleanliness, tolerance and responsibility," she said.

She further stressed that there is a need to unearth children's talents line with the state government's mission to produce skillful and all-rounded citizens.

“When we talk about training or teaching children to become quality citizens, we have to address their respective talents and potential in line with our focus on holistic development.

“In aiming for quality pre-schools, we have also organised Sarawak Kids Got Talent (SKGT) which has been rebranded to Sarawak Preschool Kids Got Talent (SPKGT) to unearth talents in various categories such as singing, dancing, public speaking, drawing and certain special talents," she said.

>Sources: New Sarawak Tribune