Dr Intan Azura Mokhtar
MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC
To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development whether the Ministry will consider providing grants for fees for faith-based preschools run by non-profit organisations such as those by churches, mosques and voluntary welfare organisations.
1. The Government’s priority is to ensure that parents have access to quality and affordable preschools for their children. We seek to achieve this by providing support to both parents and operators.
2. Today, parents can tap on the Baby Bonus Cash Gift, as well as the Child Development Account First Step grant of $3,000 and further matched savings, to offset their children’s preschool fees. In addition, all enrolled Singaporean children in child care centres receive a Basic Subsidy of up to $300 per month, while those from lower- to middle-income households are eligible for an Additional Subsidy of up to $440 per month. This applies to children enrolled in all child care centres, including those run by faith-affiliated operators, non-profit organisations or commercial entities.
3. Apart from subsidies, the Government provides broad-based funding support which is available to all operators to help them raise the quality of their preschools. This includes the Professional Development Programmes which all preschools can tap on to upskill their educators, as well as grants to improve productivity through technology solutions and to foster more innovative teaching practices. In addition, we support eligible operators under the Anchor Operator (AOP) and Partner Operator (POP) schemes with recurrent funding to uplift preschool quality while providing affordable options. These include some operators from not-for-profit and voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs).
4. We also provide targeted support through the VWO Development Grant, a capital grant extended to affordable, quality not-for-profit preschools. All preschools can also tap on the Preschool Opportunity Fund, which provides funding support for preschool programmes that provide holistic development opportunities for lower-income children. Of the 180 preschools supported under these two schemes, about a third are faith-affiliated.
5. The Government will continue to review policies to improve access to quality and affordable preschools across the sector, so that every child can have a good start in life.