Education Minister Dr. Ng Eng Hen reportedly revealed that the government has no plans of nationalising preschool education. He made this statement in response to MP Josephine Teo’s question on whether the government is planning to nationalise pre-primary education.
According to Channel News Asia, the government is certain that by imposing a standard model for pre-primary teaching, parents would be deprived of the freedom to choose from a vast array of choices that can best help their child develop communication and social skills. The government believes that early childhood education should not be academic and assessment-based so as not to stifle a child’s excitement for learning.
Bringing pre-schools into the formal school system ‘runs the risk of an over-emphasis on academic instruction and uniformity’. ‘It will increase pressure to accelerate pre-school children’s numeracy and literacy skills at the expense of other developmental goals, and this can be counter-productive and dampen children’s motivation and interest towards learning in the long run,’ he reportedly said.
Proponents of pre-school standardisation argue that nationalising early childhood education will make fees more affordable for parents and will provide continuity for Primary One. Dr Ng Eng Hen however, believes that by doing so, comparisons between kindergartens and teachers which will be made, only making the move counter-productive.
The MOE promises to focus more on giving general guidelines for preschools and on raising the quality of teachers.
Are you for or against nationalising preschool education? Why do you think it’s best for the MOE not to nationalise preschool? Do you agree with the MOE’s view on early childhood education?
Also read: How to make preschool a positive experience for your child