Government recognises the importance of pre-school

May 18, 2012

We refer to Mr James Tan’s letter, “Why Govt must regulate preschool fees” (ST Forum, 7 May 2012).

We appreciate Mr Tan’s concerns about the affordability of pre-school education. We agree that pre-school education is important and should be kept affordable. There is therefore a range of subsidies, including universal child care subsidies and additional financial assistance for children from lower-income families. Development and operating grants are also provided to non-profit centres that serve a larger proportion of children from lower income families.

The financial support provided by the Government has allowed us to achieve almost universal access to pre-school- 99% of primary one-going children have attended at least one year of pre-school in either a child care centre or a kindergarten.

Our pre-school landscape provides a range of options, so that parents have a wider choice to meet their needs and circumstances. While we do not regulate pre-school fees, we seek to ensure the affordability of pre-school education, especially for the lower income groups, through subsidies to parents, facilitating the provision of adequate capacity and variety in the sector, and ensuring price transparency so that parents can make informed choices.

We understand parents’ concerns on being given sufficient notice of fees increases so that they can make alternative arrangements if necessary. While MCYS and MOE already require pre-school operators to provide sufficient advance notice, moving forward, we will consider requiring operators to provide parents a longer period of advance notice for any fee revisions, and to revise their fees before the start of an academic year and not in the midst of it. Child care centres and kindergartens are expected to directly engage parents who may have difficulty in meeting the fee increases.

Musa Fazal
Director, Child Care Division
Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports

Loke-Yeo Teck Yong (Mrs)
Director, Education Services Division
Ministry of Education
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