Starting on the 1st of January 2023, Singapore will lower fee caps at government-supported preschools, aiming to make education affordable. It is a government move that could definitely benefit about 100,000 Singaporean children, this was announced last Saturday, 29 October.
In this article, you'll read:
- Lowering Caps at Government-Supported Preschools Starts on January 1, Next Year
- Operators Aim to Provide 22,000 Additional Full-Day Preschools in Singapore
Early childhood education plays a big part in children's lives as it provides essential opportunities to learn and develop. However, parents know that raising a child can be expensive.
Fortunately, the Singapore government continuously makes a move to help parents make their children's school expenses tolerable. Recently, authorities announced the changes on fee caps, which could benefit about 100,000 children in the country.
Lowering Caps at Government-Supported Preschools Starts on January 1, Next Year
On the 29th of October, the Minister for Social and Family Development, Masagos Zulkifli, announced the changes on fee caps.
He said they would be lowering the fee caps at all Government-supported preschools in the country; this will take effect on the 1st of January next year (2023).
Along with this, he also shares that there will be a pay bump for early childhood educators at government-supported preschools. The bump will be between 10% to 30%, but it still varies. They aim to provide a larger increase for those with better performance.
Easing the Worry of Singaporean Parents
Mr. Masagos, the Minister for Social and Family Development, spoke at the Early Childhood Celebration 2022 Event. He took this as an opportunity to announce the increase in educators while ensuring parents with their financial worries.
"With the increase in educators' salaries, some parents may be concerned that this will cause preschool fees to increase, especially as inflation rises," he said.
"Parents need not worry. We will ensure that the Government-supported pre-schools become even more affordable."
The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) released a press release.
According to them, beginning January 1st, 2023, they will lower the full-day childcare fee caps for anchor and partner operators. The decrease will be about 40 SGD to 680 and 720 SGD per month, respectively, excluding Goods and Services Tax (GST).
Along with this, they also announced they would lower full-day infant care by 40 SGD to 1,235 and 1,290 SGD, respectively. It will be for the anchor and partner operators, excluding GST.
They are also decreasing kindergarten fee caps for anchor operator centres by 10 SGD to 150 SGD per month, excluding GST.
First Time Since 2014
Since they introduced it in 2014, this is the first time they will be revising the fee caps for anchor operators. On the other hand, fee caps for partner operators were lowered back in 2021.
Concerning this, partner and anchor operators cannot charge fees exceeding these amounts, primarily because of the fee caps.
According to ECDA, about 100,000 Singaporean children will benefit from lowering the caps in government-supported pre-schools.
Mr Masagos Zulkifli said:
"As announced in 2019, our target is to lower full-day childcare fees at government-supported pre-schools, such that before means-tested subsidies, dual-income families would pay around primary school fees plus after-school student care fees."
They also include in the press release the increase in the annual spending of the government on the early childhood sector. From one billion SGD in 2018, it rose to 1.8 SGD in 2021. He also added that they are expecting it to double in the following years.
Providing 22,000 Additional Full-Day Preschools in Singapore
Aside from lowering the fee caps, ECDA also aims to work with the five anchor operators. This way, Mr. Masagos said they could provide an additional 22,000 full-day preschool places.
Here are the five anchor operators:
- My First Skool
- M.Y World Preschool
- PCF Spakletots
- E-Bridge Preschool
Meanwhile, there are 331 centres run by 29 operators at present under the partner operator scheme.
Mr. Masagos also said they would reserve 2,800 of 22,000 places for infant care and approximately 4,400 for playgroups.
"Most will be in new estates where young families are concentrated," he said.
They said that they aim to develop preschools along with the HBD flats. This way, the residents will be able to access preschool services soon as they move in.
The additional places they are reserving for infant care and playground places aim to address the growing demand for preschool services for young children.
Currently, the Early Childhood Development Agency wants to increase the number of government-supported preschool places. They are targeting to provide a place for about 80% of the preschools by 2025.
All of these heads toward the government's desire to further contribute to a supportive environment for families in the country. They aim to support families to have access to preschool education for their children and ensure that it is affordable to everyone without sacrificing quality.