Kiddy123.com’s recent survey on 570 parents with preschool children saw a greater emphasis by mums and dads on character building and teaching of moral values rather than on the traditional 3Rs. Results also indicate that safety precautions, cleanliness and proper licensing were now the top factors that parents look into when choosing a centre for their little ones.
The Malaysia Early Childhood Care & Education (ECCE) Survey 2015 was conducted from 12 Aug to 31 Oct to find out the needs of parents where ECCE programmes and centres are concerned. We looked at what parents want their child to learn or achieve in these programmes, what are their priorities when looking for an ECCE centre, and how much they are willing to spend per child per month.
Profile of Survey Population
A new emphasis in education
Interestingly, Malaysian parents seem to be focusing on the newer areas of learning rather than the traditional 3Rs. The survey indicated that the areas in early childhood education that parents think “most important” for their child to learn or achieve are language speaking (65% of parents), character building (64%), moral values (63%) and real life skills (53%).
This compares with fewer parents who rated “very important” for reading (48% of parents), writing (41%) and mathematics & science (39%).
A sign of the times: Safety is top priority
When choosing an ECCE centre, a whopping 77% of parents surveyed rated safety precautions as “very important”, overtaking location, which was the top priority in last year’s survey. This is followed by cleanliness (70% of parents), proper licensing and registration (61%), and staff qualifications (53%) indicating that the safety and well-being of their child take precedence over concerns such as the curriculum (42%) or cost of fees (33%).
Good online presence builds confidence
It is noteworthy that 85% of parents surveyed say they have more confidence in ECCE providers that have a good online presence. This includes having a website and Facebook page plus a listing in online directories such as Kiddy123.com.
Willingness to spend on ECCE
46% of parents surveyed are willing to spend between RM500 and RM1000 per child per month, 32% of parents less than RM500, and 14% between RM1000 to RM1500. Less than 6% are willing to spend between RM1500 to RM2000, while only 2% are willing to spend above RM2000.
Almost equal preference for private and public schools
It’s almost a draw. Just slightly more than 50% of parents surveyed are opting to enroll their child in a government school while the rest are planning to enroll their child in a private or international school.
Although this survey is not the last word on parents today, Kiddy123.com hopes that it can serve as an indicator of the opinions and thoughts of the target population, i.e. parents with preschool children. We also hope that the findings of our survey will help ECCE providers to have a better understanding of what parents in Malaysia are looking for -- whether it be a nursery, kindergarten, enrichment centre or holiday programme.
We believe that the information gathered will also help parents to have an idea of what other parents place importance on. As such, we would like to welcome all parents to share their thoughts here for the benefit of all, especially their little ones – for it is in sharing that we learn from one another.
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