REMBAU, April 7 (Bernama) -- The government has allocated RM150 million to Permata, an organisation involved in nurturing and early education of children, to set more 300 centres nationwide, this year.
National Permata Policy Executive Committee chairman Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor said this would enable about 1,000 children aged below four years from the lower-income group to join early education programme before kindergarten.
"The fund will be used to turn Kemas kindergartens into Pusat Anak Permata Negara as well as to upgrade Kemas kindergartens," she told reporters after opening Pusat Anak Permata Negara in Chembong here today.
She said part of the allocation would be spent to train Kemas teachers as the Permata programme required the teaching staff to have a least a diploma.
Rosmah, who is the wife of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, said a special course would be conducted for Kemas teachers who had only a secondary school education.
The Permata teaching staff will be trained in Bangi, Selangor by Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI), she said, adding that due to the importance of early education of children, Permata was placed under the Anak Permata Negara Council which was chaired by the Prime Minister.
Rosmah said Malaysia started the Permata programme two years ago to keep in steps with the pre-kindergarten programme in developed countries like the United States, which had the "Headstart" programme.
"We have been sending our half yearly reports to the Cabinet. It is happy with our progress in nurturing the children's minds," she said.