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Josephine Teo says the increase in childcare centre fees not altogether unfair

The Manpower minister justified the increase by saying that there is “some fairness” in raising the amount because the fees among childcare centres, even those under the same operator, can be “quite different” despite having similar resources




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Last month (August 28), Manpower Minister , who oversees population matters, Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee and Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor announced that lower-income families may have to pay as little as S$3 a month for full-day childcare.

They also added that the monthly household income ceiling for additional childcare and kindergarten subsidies was being raised to S$12,000.

The move makes it such that lower-income families only pay between S$3 and S$390 a month for full-day childcare at pre-schools run by anchor operators that charge monthly fees of S$770 (after Goods and Services Tax).

However, earlier today (September 17), the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) announced that about 330 childcare centres in Singapore will be raising their fees for full-day childcare for Singapore citizens next year.

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Earlier today, Josephine Teo commented that there is “some fairness” in them raising the fees because the fees among childcare centres, even those under the same operator, can be “quite different” despite having similar resources.

Teo said in an interview on CNA938’s Asia First, “So there is some room, some fairness in them harmonising the fees”.

According to a CNA report, when asked by CNA938’s Arnold Gay if she is keeping a close eye on the fee revisions because they could potentially affect or negate the subsidies, Minister Teo replied that a large majority of these childcare centres planning fee hikes are government-supported, and their fees remain below the stipulated limits.

The Government provides funding to anchor and partner operators, which in turn are required to keep their fees affordable by adhering to monthly fee caps.

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She added, “Because there is a fee cap, the Government also has another rule: If you want to harmonise, you can but you can only take small steps.

“What’s happening for the 330 centres is that most of them are within the fee-capped, government-supported sector, their fees are still below the cap.”

With that, the recently announced additional subsidies still mean “significant reduction” in childcare costs for some households, she clarified.

Read related: Netizens question why pre-schools were given subsidies, only to have childcare centres raise full-day fees

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