Kindergarten operators should discuss with parents on fee hike

KUALA LUMPUR (July 2): Kindergarten operators should discuss with parents beforehand if they want to raise their fee during the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) period.

Malaysian Association of Kindergartens (PTM) chairman Eveleen Khoo said it is necessary for the kindergarten operators to discuss the matter with parents to avoid any dissatisfaction and to get the parents prepared, should they have to fork out extra money if the kindergartens decide to raise the fees suddenly.

She did not rule out the likelihood of some kindergartens having to increase their fees to cover the increase in cost of providing COVID-19 prevention, but said PTM had not received any information or complaints from parents on fee hike.

“It may be necessary for the kindergarten operators to buy face masks and disinfectant, as well as to provide food for students, especially for kindergartens that do not allow students to bring food from home.

“Only the Education Ministry (MOE) can approve the fee hike, kindergartens (that are registered with MOE) cannot increase the fee as they like, it has to go through MOE and the Private Education Institution Committee," he told Bernama yesterday.

Preschools, childcare centres and kindergartens are allowed to re-open from yesterday, after they were closed for more than three months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was reported yesterday that some kindergartens were said to increase their fees by 10% to 15% on the grounds that they needed to cover the rising costs in having to comply with  the prescribed standard operating procedures (SOP), as well as drop in the number of students.

Sharing Eveleen’s opinion is Pertubuhan Penggalak Membaca Malaysia (PPMM) chairman Chahaya (rpt Chahaya) Abdul Manan, who also said that kindergartens should  plan their learning sessions before deciding to raise their fees.

“They can conduct two learning sessions,  like having some students come in the morning and the rest  in the evening, so they do not have to raise the fees,” she said.

Chahaya said she forsees some parents switching to other kindergartens if there is a hike in fees at the existing kindergartens attended by their children.

She expressed her concern as the situation could affect the children's emotions in having to adapt to a new environment.

Bernama contacted several kindergartens yesterday and found that most of the operators are not contemplating to increase their fees, but a few are offering discount in fees to help ease the burden of parents who are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The headmaster of a kindergarten in Keramat here, Salmiah Jusoh said they were having a hard time now, but would not want to burden the parents by hiking the fee.

“The teachers help by taking a pay cut, but if it gets worse and we cannot cope, we will discuss with the parents whether we can ask for an increase in the fee,” she added.

Meanwhile, Yasmin Ahmad, 33, said there was no fee increase at the kindergarten attended by her daughter.

“Instead, the kindergarten is giving parents a 20% discount in fee for the current term to ease our financial burden,” she said, adding that it was inappropriate for the kindergarten to increase the fee as parents were required to pay the full fee during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period, even though the kindergarten was closed.

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