Cranbridge International School, Kuala Lumpur
Kiddy123 Frame
Odyssey, The Global Preschool (Mont Kiara)
British Montessori, Ampang
The children's house
Small Wonder Malaysia

Challenges and Possible Solutions of Running an Early Childhood Education Business in Malaysia

by on 28/11/2019 9103

There are so many great reasons to start an early childhood education business. The rewards are high but so are the challenges. The picture of an early childhood education business is complicated in Malaysia. There are the distinct challenges of maintaining the standard of education, coordinating between teachers and parents, while sustaining a profit for further growth and development. On top of that, there are the government regulations that make it difficult to offer licensed services. Here is a peak into the challenges that an early childhood education business tackles, and some possible solutions to help navigate those tricky issues.



Challenge 01: Quality Staffing 

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Many school principals and early childhood centre managers are reporting difficulties in recruiting teachers, specifically quality teaching staff. In a field known nationally for high turnover and relatively low pay, staffing struggles do not come as a surprise. Some come in with diplomas and some with bachelor’s degrees, though often in unrelated majors. Some come in with an education but no experience and some come in with years of experience but are too fixed in their own ways to match the school’s culture. The compensation is also a challenge.

Possible Solution:

Initially during the interviewing phase, it is important to look for signs that potential teaching candidates love children and have a genuine passion for the profession. To retain and improve the quality of existing teaching staff, it is effective for them to participate in ongoing professional development courses and attend teacher training programmes. Training and professional development should not feel intimidating and suffocating. It also helps to incorporate performance benchmarks and adjusting salaries accordingly to make it more enticing, motivate staff to achieve goals and get them to commit. Teachers should be encouraged to envision a pathway to the future where they will one day become the head of the department, the principal and the director of the school. Create a close-knit family-like work environment, encouraging communication and making staff feel like they have a stake in the school.



Challenge 02: Maintaining a Trusting Parent-School Relationship

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Maintaining a respectful bond with parents is more important than ever. Parents need to know how their child is doing in school, have a better understanding of the schooling process and be involved to boost academic achievement and learning outcomes. However, this crucial relationship can be undermined by a variety of barriers: inflexible work schedules affecting the ability of parents to participate; some parents do not feel confident to talk to teachers and may not understand their responsibility in their child’s learning process; the school system may not have necessary components in place to encourage parental involvement.   

Possible Solution:

There are many ways to create strong connections with parents. Just like children, parents too have different communication styles and preferences. Re-examine the school’s communication tools. Frequent, honest face-to-face communication is valuable. The school should keep parents in the know about children’s progress and be empathetic of individual family circumstances. Send home regular weekly portfolios of children’s works, calendars of special events and perhaps worksheets containing activities that parents can do together with their child. There is a myriad of user-friendly technology tools like e-newsletters, LittleLives mobile application and social media to keep parents and teachers connected. Put out the welcome mat and create opportunities that enable parents to be involved and work together. Create a parent resource centre or community where concerned parents can come together to discuss about child development, special education, health and safety, and so on. It is also important for parents and teachers to have a sense of shared goals and principles about the children.



Challenge 03: Legal Challenges

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Obtaining licenses and permits are probably one of the biggest hindrances to setting up an early childhood education business in Malaysia. One has to be registered with the Ministry of Education, the State Education Department, comply with other strict state and federal requirements, and get approvals from other authorities including the Fire and Rescue Department, Health Ministry and local council.  

Possible Solution:

The government is looking to resolve issues and problems relating to the aspects of registration and licensing. The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry is also studying ways to assist unregistered childcare centres become legalised businesses. To further encourage centres to register themselves with the authorities, the ministry may implement subsidies to reduce the burden of operational costs for centre owners. Additionally, the new federal government of Malaysia aims to collaborate with state governments nationwide to provide subsidised childcare, like healthcare at government hospitals, catering to the needs of about a third of our population.     



Challenge 04: Enrollment 

123RF | Elena Stebakova


Maintaining enrollment numbers and attracting enough leads to the school through marketing, all while managing other administrative tasks are like a running marathon that never ends. Time is a limiting factor and costs are a constraint. With low enrollment comes difficulty in paying salaries, rent and other operational expenses. In order to increase enrollment, the school needs to invest in more advertising; more advertising means higher costs and in order to supplement the extra costs, the school needs more income from more enrollment. It all becomes a big vicious cycle.

Possible Solution:

Consider using an early childhood education marketing platform like to stay ahead of the competition and connect with your next opportunity in the education market. We help bridge the gap for early childhood educators who want to grow their businesses but do not know how to or do not have the time to do so. Let us help you generate direct enrollments and improve your reach to targeted families with cost effective solutions. Another essential factor is to maintain a strong core curriculum and quality service. Parents love to hear from other families. Maximize the power of word-of-mouth referrals and they will be one of the best sources to bring good leads to your school.



There are definitely many more challenges that operators will have to face. It is, no doubt, overwhelming but with modern technology, an organised operational system and a strong team, the journey can be a rewarding and successful one.    




This article is for general informational purposes only. In no event shall the owner be responsible or held liable for any consequential, special or incidental losses or damages arising from or related to this article.