Choosing a Diploma Programme In Early Childhood Education

In the field of early childhood education and teachers training, there are skilled based programs and professional and academic programs. Historically, many who entered the teaching profession at the early childhood level, do so because of their love for children and their passion for teaching. However, many of them do not possess any formal training in this field. In order to meet the demands of today’s parents who are more educated and also more demanding, pre school and child care teachers are seeking and equip themselves with the right skills and also the appropriate professional qualifications.

In the past, pre-school teachers may choose to attend some intensive holiday programs and courses offered by trade associations. These courses are designed to provide pre service teachers with some basic skills in handling children. Apart from these programs, there are also many short courses available for those who wish to get an insight to early childhood education. Usually a certificate of attendance is awarded at the end of these short programs. While all these programs can help pre service teachers or potential teachers in getting some basic knowledge, it cannot be equated to a professional qualification or an academic qualification. Thus, the demand for academic qualification especially at Diploma level seems to be increasing.

Choosing a Place to Study
In general, in choosing a place to study for a Diploma qualification in Early Childhood Education, one may consider the following few important criteria:

  1. Registered with the Ministry of Higher Education

    According to the Private Higher Education Act (Act 555), all educational institutions conduct courses leading to the award of certificate, diploma or degree qualification must be approved by the Ministry of Higher Education. This Act seeks to control the management and establishment of private higher education institutions so as to provide quality in higher education for its students.
  2. Registered with the State Education Department

    Upon receiving approval from the Ministry of Higher Education, the college or institution must also need to register with the State Education Department. A Certificate of Registration will be issued and colleges are required to exhibit this certificate in a conspicuous part of their premises. This registration is subjected for renewal every 5 years.
  3. Programmes must be Approved by the National Accreditation Board (LAN)
    Next, the programmes offered must be approved by the Ministry of Higher Education and able to meet all the requirement set by the National Accreditation Board (Lembaga Akreditasi Negara - LAN). LAN functions as a quality assurance body, responsible for ensuring that the higher education provided by the private institutions is of high quality. The Lembaga Akreditasi Negara Act (Act 556) functions to ensure that all courses of study offered achieve a standard acceptable to the norms and conventions of a higher institute of education.

    This is crucial because it provides a benchmark in terms of duration of programme, credit hours, contact hours, entry requirement and lecturers qualifications:
    1. Credit Hours and Contact Hours
      According to the requirements set by LAN, all Diploma programs must be conducted over a period of at least 2 ½ years or 30 months with at least 90 credits hours or 1,260 contact hours.
    2. Entry Requirements
      The entry requirement for all Diplomas in Malaysia is at least 3 credits in SPM or its equivalent.
    3. Lecturers’ Qualification
      All lecturers teaching in private colleges must obtain teaching permits and must possess the relevant academic qualifications in the relevant field. For example, lecturers teaching Diploma programs must have at least Bachelor’s Degree and lecturers teaching Bachelor’s Degree programs must have at least a Master’s Degree.
  4. Minimum Standard
    It is also mandatory for colleges to apply for Minimum Standard certification from LAN after 4 semesters of conducting the programme. This is to ensure quality control and that the courses which have been granted approved previously are conducted accordingly. Here, LAN will send a panel to assess the program content, how it has been delivered, lecturers’ qualifications, facilities, examination procedures and also management of the college. In this visitation, students from various semesters will be interviewed and lecturers will be invited for discussion. Without getting the minimum standard for the course of study, college is not allowed to award qualification to their students.
  5. Accreditation
    Every college should strive for accreditation although in some cases it is not compulsory. Programmes that have been accredited have many advantages compared to those which are not accredited. Graduates of accredited programmes can apply to work with the Government if it has already been accepted by Public Services Department.. These accredited programmes are also of international standing as such are often accepted overseas.
  6. Approval codes
    It is also compulsory for colleges to state the approval code when they advertise their program as this will assist the public to distinguish those that have been approved from those that have not. One example of approval code is KP/JPS/KA5572/10/08. The last 4 digits of the code represent expiring date of the program in month and year.
  7. EPF withdrawal
    Students pursuing diploma programs approved by the Ministry of Higher Education and LAN, are eligible to withdraw money from their Employee Provident Fund (Account II) to settle their school fees. This privilege is very helpful for working adults who have some funds in their Account II.
  8. PTPTN loans (Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional)
    Likewise, students who are registered in any approved Diploma onwards are eligible to apply for PTPTN loans.
  9. Study Pathway
    Another factor to consider would be the future of the program in terms of continuity. For example before a person is signing up for a Diploma, he or she may wish to consider is there any study pathway available for them to continue into a Degree program if desired.

    Apart from those factors listed above, students and parents should also make comparison about fees, curriculum and syllabus, course outcomes, facilities and overall track record of the college in early childhood education. In summary, there are many Diploma in Early Childhood Education programmes, it is good for students and parents to compare these programmes before making decision on the programme and the college.

Contributed by:
Kolej DiKa,
Petaling Jaya

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS


Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...