Reinforcing preschool subsidies for middle-income families from 2020

The government will reinforce preschool subsidies including for middle income families in order to mollify concerns over the cost of preschool education. This was revealed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during the National Day Rally held on Sunday (18 August). He further added that the authorities would increase the income ceiling for families whom are seeking to qualify for more preschool subsidies.

The current income ceiling is S$7,500 per month, however, stated by PM Lee, the income ceiling will be increased.

“We will raise the income ceiling to S$12,000 per month,” said PM Lee y. It was said that this meant that 30,000 more households will be brought into the fold commencing next year. At the moment, households obtain a S$300 basic childcare subsidy, and up to S$400 in additional care subsidies. The subsidies are expected to increase starting from 2020.

A poll was held by the women’s wing of the ruling People’s Action Party earlier in July this year, and it showed that parents expend 6 to 15 per cent of household income on out-of-pocket expenses for preschool.

The government was advised by the group of female PAP Members of Parliament behind the poll to discern preschool education in the same way as general medical services and housing.

PM Lee said that he agreed with suggestion, and stated that Singapore should have superlative, government-supported preschools convenient to Singaporeans.

“Today, just over half of all preschool places are government-supported,” he added. “Over time, we will bring this up to 80 per cent, just like HDB (Housing and Development Board).”

On another note, Mr Lee recognized that for middle-income parents, preschool fees could still sculpt a portion of the household budget, especially when they have two or more children in preschool.

NATIONALISING PRE-SCHOOL EDUCATION

Earlier in February 2017, during parliament, Ms Kuik Shiao-Yin asked if the Minister for Education (Schools) would consider keeping pre-school education privatized rather than nationalized as an extension of the current nationalized education system.

Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng had stated, that nationalized system of pre-school education has the potential to provide more consistent quality and affordability, however, this system may not cater to the preferences of every parent.

“Our priority now is to work together to raise the accessibility, affordability, and quality of pre-school,” he said.

“We will continue to monitor and review our policies for the pre-school sector to ensure that every child has access to good quality and affordable pre-school,” he said in cessation of his speech.