Proportion of Kindergartens Operated by Private Providers and Autonomous Operators Offering Before and After School Care
Mr Leon Perera
Non-Constituency Member of Parliament
To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) what is the proportion of kindergartens operated by private providers and autonomous operators offering before and after school care; and (b) whether there are any regulatory impediments for private kindergarten operators offering before and after school care programmes.
1 Under the Early Childhood Development Centres Act, kindergartens are licensed to provide half-day education programmes of 6 hours or less per session. As the provision requirements for kindergartens are for half-day education services only, kindergartens cannot provide care services for preschool-aged children. Nevertheless, centres that wish to provide such before or after preschool care services can do so if they are licensed as child care centres instead.
2 Subject to the Early Childhood Development Agency’s (ECDA) approval, preschools may provide before and after school care (BASC) services during their operating hours for older children aged 7 to below 14 years. This is mainly to cater to working parents who require after-school care support for their primary-school going children, including those who may have siblings attending the preschool where the BASC services are provided. The BASC programme must be run in a separate space from the preschool programme, and centres can enrol children only up to 10% of the centre’s accommodation capacity. The centre must adhere to stipulated safety, health, hygiene and supervision standards, to ensure the well-being of the children. To date, ECDA has not received any applications from kindergartens to run BASC services during their operating hours.
3 Kindergarten operators may also offer BASC services for older children after the kindergarten’s operating hours or outside the kindergarten premises. There are currently three private kindergarten operators which provide such services and are registered with the Ministry of Social and Family Development to also administer the Student Care Fee Assistance Scheme. Such registered student care centres are required to meet stipulated standards in areas of supervision, physical environment, operating hours, safety, health and hygiene, and provide a structured daily programme.