PARENTS' PERCEPTION ON QUALITY OF CHILDCARE AND THEIR CHILDCARE CHOICES: A CASE STUDY IN SHAH ALAM, SELANGOR
Children these days are the valuable human capital in the future. Realising the importance of early care and education in Malaysia, matters concerning the quality of childcare have been raised, following the growing needs for the services as a result of active participation of women in the workforce. The study is conducted to determine parents’ perception on quality of childcare and their childcare choices as an effort to improve the childcare services by taking into consideration the parents’ point of view. A cross-sectional study was employed on 200 samples who are selected using systematic sampling based on the list of registered childcare centres provided by the Department of Social Welfare. The data obtained are examined using SPSS Software Version 20.0 for further analyses. The study found that there is a significant relationship between parents’ perceived quality on childcare and their preferences in selecting childcare for their children. Consistent with previous research done on the same field, capability of caregivers become the main quality aspect that parents look at in making decision on childcare choice. The findings also revealed that regardless of family income level, parents have almost similar perception on childcare quality and in selecting appropriate place to send their children. This is illustrated from the result showing that family income did not have moderating effect towards the relationship between parents’ perception and their choices. Since the present study only focused on a very limited geographical area, it is suggested for further research to be conducted covering larger population nationwide and taking into account both registered and unregistered childcare centres.