Friday June 8, 2012
By PRIYA KULASAGARAN
KUALA LUMPUR: The Government is studying ways of implementing a decision to start formal schooling at age five years plus instead of the present six years plus.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the policy was included in the Education Ministry’s Interim Strategic Plan 2011-2020.
“Although we have agreed to the policy, we still need to consider the ways of implementing it and our capacity in terms of infrastructure, classrooms and teachers.
“Many of our children have already started schooling’ early as they are enrolled in pre-school. It is good for them to start (primary) school earlier as it will save time.
“I believe that parents will welcome this (policy) because they know that their children are able to cope with starting school at a younger age,” he said after launching the Puncak project here yesterday.
Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, said a report on the suggestions during the National Education Dialogue series would be completed by next month.
“The dialogues are still being held in all the states and all views will be considered.
“If there are good ideas in line with what is suitable for our education system, we will include them in our (education) blueprint,” he said.
The proposal to lower the formal schooling age was made during the tabling of the 10th Malaysia Plan by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in 2010.
The ministry’s Interim Strategic Plan 2011-2020, available on its website, states that the policy will be implemented in 2015.
The move to lower the school age will include amending the Education Act 1996, of which Section 29 (of the Education Act 1996) states that children aged six must attend primary school.
The Puncak project is a skills training programme initiated by the Permuafakatan Badan Ilmiah Nasional for school dropouts or those who have failed their SPM to help them secure employment.