Publication: Shaping First Steps: A Comprehensive Review of Preschool Education in Malaysia

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The potential benefits from supporting early childhood development range from healthy development to a greater capacity to learn and increased productivity in adulthood. Despite undertaking various preschool education reforms and initiatives, issues of access and quality remain and continue to grow. The Malaysia Education Blueprint (2013-2025) set a target to achieve universal preschool enrollment by 2020, and Malaysia, along with many other developing countries, has yet to achieve this. Findings from the World Bank’s preschool survey and stakeholder interviews carried out for this report point to a range of issues, such as a lack of preschool seat availability in certain areas, low awareness among parents on the benefits of sending their children to preschools, affordability of preschool expenses, low teacher quality, and concerns over the overlapping roles between the multiple ministries and agencies that oversee ECCE in Malaysia. This review is carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Education (MOE) and is a comprehensive assessment of Malaysia’s current preschool education landscape. The review aims to identify the gaps between the targets and aspirations set by MOE and the government under various policy documents and the outcomes to date. It also aims to deep-dive into the underlying reasons for these gaps, and seek solutions to close them and achieve the aspirations. This report synthesizes the findings from research, analysis, and stakeholder engagement activities, and is organized by a framework of targets, pillars, and enablers.
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World Bank. 2023. Shaping First Steps: A Comprehensive Review of Preschool Education in Malaysia. The Malaysia Development Experience Series; May 2023. © World Bank, Washington, DC. License: CC BY-NC 3.0 IGO.
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