Many Singaporeans took to social media to question the contradiction in lowering pre-school expenses – announced last month – and the increase in full-day childcare fees for 330 childcare centres in Singapore.
<Reader Contribution by Gary>First they give additional subsidies, now they are going to raise the fees! What’s the difference?
Last month (August 28), Manpower Minister Josephine Teo, 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.
In Parliament earlier this month, Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee was asked how the ministry plans to manage fee increases from pre-school operators.
The Minister noted that the fee caps for anchor and partner operators have been “maintained at their current levels” since 2014 and 2016 respectively, “each year, some anchor operator or partner operator centres that charge below the fee caps may make some moderate fee adjustments to maintain sustainability”.
He added that private and not-for-profit operators are not subject to fee caps, and have the flexibility to determine their fees.
“We recognise that fees may be adjusted from time to time in response to market conditions and operational costs. By and large, most pre-schools seek to ensure that their fee increases are not excessive, in order to remain competitive and attractive to parents,” he said.
Additionally, he added the Government will also look into lowering fee caps for government-supported pre-schools. /TISG