Costs and approval hassles keep childcare centres at bay, says group

The government says all childcare centres should be registered so that measures against Covid-19 can be taken.

PETALING JAYA: Some operators of childcare centres and home-based nurseries are refusing to register with the government because they can’t meet the criteria for registration, says a kindergarten group.

Eveleen Ling, who chairs the Malaysian Association of Kindergartens, said the cost of meeting the criteria is a major factor for their reluctance to be registered.

Speaking to FMT, Ling pointed out that childcare operators have to attend a compulsory course and go through the welfare department for approval.

“The course is not free and they have to pay to get the operating licence,” she said.

She also spoke of the difficulty of getting permits from city councils and the fire and rescue department, which would check on the type of building a centre occupies and the area in which it operates.

“Many operators are home-based and it’s not likely that they can change their premises if the authorities deemed them unsafe,” she said.

She also said some parents preferred unregistered centres or nannies because the charges would be cheaper.

Monthly fees at registered centres in big cities could be as much as RM2,000 per child, she said.

Earlier, senior minister (security) Ismail Sabri Yaakob said all kindergartens and childcare centres should be registered with the government to allow monitoring of their adherence to safety and hygiene procedures to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission.

A single mother of two children, Mardiah Rahman, told FMT she would love to send them to a registered centre if she could afford it but couldn’t pay more than RM600 for both.

She sends them to a neighbour and pays her RM350 a month.

She works on shifts and requires someone with flexible hours to take care of her children.

“A registered childcare centre would probably charge me more if I sent my kids at night,” she said.

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