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A comparative study of Malay-operated and Chinese-operated childcare centres in the state of Melaka, Malaysia

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Demand for childcare services in Malaysia is increasing. With the changing demographic landscape and increasing knowledge of the importance of early childhood education, provision of alternative childcare services has never been more significant. Children younger than four years of age are placed in registered childcare centres while their parents work. Some children stay in the centres for half a day while others spend most of their time there. Hence, a great deal of learning takes place in these centres. The kinds of activities and how these activities are implemented may have a major influence on children's future development. Observations carried out in childcare centres in Melaka, one of the 13 states in Malaysia, revealed that there were wide variations in the services provided by Chinese and Malay childcare owners. There are 59 centres registered with the Department of Welfare, Melaka: one is Indian operated, 13 are Malay operated and the rest are Chinese operated. This paper highlights the differences in care provision between Malay-operated and Chinese-operated childcare centres along the following dimensions: (i) structured activities; (ii) toys, equipment and facilities; (iii) physical set-up; (v) division of duties among childcare providers; and (vi) availability of childcare principals or owners. This paper argues that the dimensions listed contribute to quality childcare. Recommendations are included to ensure consistency of care in these two ethnic-based childcare provision.
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Keywords: Childcare; Early Childhood Development; Ethnicity; Malaysia; Management; Quality

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2005-01-01

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