Private nurseries struggle to survive
In the face of high operating costs, most privately run nurseries and daycare centers in Malaysia are finding it difficult to continue with their services.
In a country where nearly 3million children below the age of four years need childcare services, the inability of privately run nurseries and daycare centers to meet their operating costs comes as a major setback to parents who wish to entrust their kids in safe hands, cites an article written by the Star.
P.H.Wong, Vice President of the Association of Registered Child Care Providers, Malaysia, revealed that out of the 1,086 child care centers registered with the Welfare department, 16 had been set up by companies, 67 were run by government agencies, 14 were community based while 989 were being run privately.
Wong told the press that community based childcare centers were given an initial grant of RM 50,000 for setting up and RM 64,000 by way of subsidies each year also did not have many takers. She also added that this was because the subsidy was barely enough to cover the operating costs.
Since parents belonging to weaker sections of the society could afford only RM 200- 350 per child, the nurseries were running in losses.
A 36 year old entrepreneur who did not want to reveal her identity had to close down her center after running it for almost two years in Sri Petaling, as the RM600-800 collected by her by way of monthly fees from the parents of enrolls were not enough to cover the monthly expenditure.
Breaking down, she said she would never want to run a daycare center again. Having spent nearly RM25,000 to set up the center, she was unable to pay the building rent (RM3,000 every month) and provide for nannies’ salaries, food and toys for the kids.
Further, the workload at these centers is heavy and there are not too many people who would be keen to take up jobs even if they were offered salaries to the tune of RM 1,000-1,600.
Dr Zaitol Salleh, the director with the Social Welfare Department legal and advocacy division confirmed this and told that an average of 5 nurseries shut down every year. Dr Salleh added that two nurseries had already surrendered their licenses during the first five months of this year due to the aforesaid reasons.
Another former child care center owner told a leading publication that she had to close her nursery down after running it for seven years because she just could not find enough baby sitters required to lend her a helping hand.
Now in her fifties, this woman was dejected at having to shut down her center which, according to her, was mainly because younger women who would willingly work at centers like hers were not keen to do so anymore.
“Most baby sitters prefer to work on their own at home while the young people prefer other jobs,” she said.