Ministry of Education (MOE) has stated that by the end of 2020, student care centres will be set up in all of Singapore’s primary schools.
These centres will offer meals, homework supervision, games and even tuition for pupils after school. They will also provide “important after-school support for students, especially those who do not have a conducive and structured environment after school hours” the MOE said.
There are currently 70% percent of primary schools to have student care centres, compared to four years ago, when there was fewer than 50%. Additionally, student enrolment has also jumped from 3,000 to 15,000.
Although each centre takes in more than 300 students, ballots are conducted at some primary schools to cope with the demand for after-school care services that has been increasing over the years. In some centres, there are even waiting lists.
“Where there is high demand, schools have been working with operators to expand the capacity of their centres,” the MOE said.
These centres are mostly run by external parties such as voluntary welfare organisations or commercial operators. This partnership enables better development of the pupils, especially those of disadvantaged backgrounds as it provides school with better support by tapping on the resources of these groups.
“Our centres are able to work closely with the school teachers to understand the learning challenges of different students” said chief operating officer of Nascans, one of the bigger student care players in Singapore, Peh Yi Han.
Other centres, such as one run by Neighbourhood Care Services in Xishan Primary, are operating at full capacity.
Xishan Primary’s centre’s senior supervisor, Ms Susan Thng said: “In many families, both parents are busy working to make a living. Such centres provide a safe place for their children to go to.”
Parents are also happy with the news. Marketing manager Bernard Ong, 34, who intends to send his son to a school-based centre when he starts Primary 1, said: “Parents don’t have to worry as their kids will be in a safe and familiar environment.”
Fees for most of these centres range from $260 to $290 monthly, before subsidies. Pupils from needy families can pay as little as $5 per month after subsidy.
Source: The Straits Times
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