Saturday June 9, 2012
By KANG SOON CHEN
PETALING JAYA: Not all children will be prepared to start formal schooling at the age of five plus, said the National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP).
Its secretary-general Lok Yim Pheng said although it was true that children nowadays matured at an earlier age, five-year-olds should not be treated as seven-year-olds as they had different needs in school.
“Five-year-olds are still very young and may not adjust well to the long hours in school. There is also the issue of their safety in school that worries parents,” Lok said yesterday.
She was commenting on a statement by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin that the Government was studying ways to implement a decision to start formal schooling at age five plus from the current six plus.
The proposal was first 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.
NUTP suggested that the proposal should first be tried out at pilot stage.
Mother Sarah Ahmad said a child’s maturity was an important factor in deciding on when they should start school.
“They should be able to cope with lessons in a formal classroom. But since they are still young, I am not sure if they are able to pay attention for long hours at school as compared to pre-school, where the hours are usually shorter,” said Sarah, who has a daughter in kindergarten and a son in Year Two.
Another parent, Anita Lee, who has three sons in primary school, said the boys were into gadgets and technology.
“I feel that they would have been able to start school at five because they are exposed to computers at a young age,” she said.