ECDA PARTNER OPERATOR SCHEME (POP)
The Partner Operator (POP) scheme supports appointed centres to improve the accessibility, affordability and quality of childcare and infant care services. The scheme commenced in 2016. ECDA has appointed 323 childcare centres to the new term of this POP scheme (2021-2025). For the new term of the POP scheme (2021-2025), operators will receive funding to:
- Keep to a monthly fee cap of $720 and $1,290 (excluding GST) for full-day child care and infant care programme respectively for Singapore Citizen (SC) children, and ensure any fee increases are kept affordable for parents.
- Invest in improving quality through the Singapore Pre-school Accreditation Framework(SPARK), and in strengthening organisational capabilities.
- Support continuing professional development opportunities for centre leaders and preschool educators.
Overview of Preschool Affordability
First, we have enhanced means-tested childcare subsidies and the Kindergarten Fee Assistance Scheme (KiFAS) provided to parents, by increasing the monthly household income eligibility to $12,000 from $7,500 (for childcare) or $6,000 (KiFAS); and increasing the amount of subsidy provided for each eligible tier. This took effect from 1 January 2020.
Second, we are expanding government-supported preschool places, so that parents will benefit from greater access to affordable and quality preschool services. 80 per cent of preschoolers can have a place in a government-supported preschool by around 2025, up from just over 50 per cent today. This will involve expanding the number of places provided by Partner Operators, Anchor Operators, and a small number of MOE Kindergartens.
Third, we will lower the fee caps of government-supported preschools, starting with the next term of the Partner Operator scheme from 1 January 2021. Over the medium term, as the capacity of government-supported preschools grows, we aim to lower fee caps further at government-supported preschools so that working families with a child in full-day childcare will, after Basic Subsidy, pay around the equivalent of primary school fees plus after-school student care fees, which currently total around $300 per month. This is before means-tested preschool subsidies are applied.
Childcare Partner Operator (POP) Scheme
|Programme||Fee Caps (before GST)
|Fee Caps (before GST)
|Full day child care||$800||$720|
|Half day child care||$600||$540|
|Full day infant care||$1,400||$1,290|
|Half day infant care||$1,000||$920|
POP centres which are charging below the fee caps are not permitted to raise fees for at least 2021. Any fee increase thereafter is subject to the fee cap (centres may have to do so to cope with rising costs and ensure long-term financial sustainability). Should these centres do so, they must ensure that any fee increases are kept affordable for parents.