Impact of Anchor Operators and MK Expansion on Non-Government Supported Operators

Published Date: 11 September 2017 12:00 AM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Darryl David, Ang Mo Kio GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (Schools) what will be the impact on smaller independent operators in the early childhood education industry with the proposed significant increase in MOE kindergartens along with the already significant increases in early childhood and kindergarten places by the major anchor childcare operators.

Response

1. The Government’s foremost objective is to ensure that parents have access to quality and affordable preschools for their children. This will provide a good start for every child and better support families with young children.

2. To this end, the Government will be increasing the number of government-supported preschool places, which are subjected to fee caps and other quality requirements. This increase will be primarily in estates with new housing developments to meet the anticipated demand of young families.

3. Besides the Anchor Operators and MOE Kindergartens, government-supported operators also include small- and medium-sized private child care operators that have joined the Partner Operator Scheme. We currently have 23 Partner Operators operating a total of about 200 centres, and we expect to support more centres under this scheme. We intend for the Anchor and Partner Operators, as well as MOE Kindergartens, to play a catalytic role to spur investments in quality in the sector, while providing affordable options for parents.

4. We will also continue to provide broad-based support for the sector as a whole, to benefit all operators and early childhood educators. These include various grants such as funding for smart solutions to raise productivity, and stronger support for professional development via the Skills Framework for Early Childhood Care and Education and the National Institute for Early Childhood Development (or NIEC).

5. Overall, the market will remain open and parents will continue to have choice in selecting a suitable preschool for their children. Smaller operators, some of which offer niche programmes, can continue to cater to the different needs and preferences of parents.

6. I encourage all operators to make use of the schemes available to invest in uplifting the quality of their centres and teachers, in tandem with the overall improvements in the preschool sector. This will help to contribute to a strong foundation for our children.

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