Thursday, October 26, 2017

Early Education, A Political Playground

A total of 18,496 children were registered until February at 724 Permata Centres nationwide, as reported by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim to BERNAMA on 17 April 2015.

Shahidan further shared that, the Permata programme will not only be expanded but its achievements will be recorded for reference by the kindergarten operators and other parties for the common good in optimising the potential of Malaysian human capital.

However, a visit to PERMATA website, today, recorded an alarming number of only 88 PERMATA Centres, with on Perak, Melaka and Sabah with double digit centres, a far cry from the minister’s statement.

No updated informations or statistical values were recorded, except justifications of the said programme and shots of news  limelight and glitter.

In another account, a total of RM85 million will be allocated for PERMATA programme involving 50,000 children, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in the 2017 Budget.

He said the allocation would include the establishment of Top STEM Talents Excellence Centre at the Academy of Sciences Malaysia.

“In addition, Institut Pendidikan Guru Kampus Raja Melewar in Negeri Sembilan and Kampus Tuanku Bainun in Pulau Pinang will be renovated to become PERMATA Pintar and Berbakat Centre,” he said.

However, a few months down the road, the government shelved the plans to convert Kampus Tuanku Bainun, Penang. It remained to facilitate as teaching institute of the Ministry of Education. Yet, no mention or call of budget cuts to the effect.

PERMATA since inception in 2007, has attracted much attention; all for the wrong reasons. In particular, when it became the beacon of life for Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor in the Malaysian state of administration.

The decision taken by the executive pillars in creating a position for Rosmah; is a political policy, indifferent and unprecedented to the Federal Constitution.

The introduction of PERMATA at the Prime Minister Department, certainly proves a flaw in early education, under the roofs of Ministry of Education, Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, and the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development.

Truth be told, it is a sham and quite embarrassing! Early education is vital and a good start for human capital growth and development, particularly to a country like Malaysia. Instead it became a political pawn.

Allocations for early education, becomes doubled and worse case scenarios wasted with bureaucracy and ineffective programmes, staffing and myriads of "power play" and subject of bribe.

The amount invested on the 1,780 young ones at PERMATA centres (figures unconfirmed, varies and dubious) is ridiculous. The numbers just do not add up.

Four ministries / department placed in one basket in nurturing the Malaysian youngs?! Monies could well spent on needed sectors; the rakyat, movers of the economy. While they experienced budget cuts, PERMATA, did not.

Tomorrow, 27 October 2017, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will take floor at the Malaysia Parliament to deliver the 2018 Budget. Will he repeat the support for duplication of authority and expenditures?

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