SINGAPORE : Anchor pre—school operators have been useful partners in the government’s efforts to uplift quality standards in the pre—school sector.
Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, Chan Chun Sing, said this in a written parliamentary response to a question posed by opposition Member of Parliament for Hougang SMC, Png Eng Huat.
Mr Png asked what had been the impact of the support given to anchor operators on other industry players.
Mr Chan gave the example of the Education Ministry’s Singapore Pre—school Accreditation Framework (SPARK).
He said of the 75 childcare centres that have attained this certification, 27 are PAP Community Foundation (PCF) and NTUC—run centres, with more expected to come on board over the next few years.
In addition, 85 per cent of teachers employed by the two anchor operators are diploma—trained, compared to about 76 per cent in the overall sector.
Mr Png also asked about the criteria in determining that the two anchor operators are non—profit, to then qualify for recurrent grants.
He also asked how many other players applied to be anchor pre—school operators, but were not selected.
Mr Chan said to be eligible for the Recurrent Grant, childcare operators should be not—for—profit bodies, have no religious affiliation, and have a minimum paid—up capital of S$5 million.
He revealed that when the scheme was introduced in 2009, five operators applied, but only PCF and NTUC met the full criteria.
Mr Chan said being one of the largest childcare operators in the sector, they had the potential to meet the objectives of the scheme — to ramp—up capacity of quality, as well as provide affordable childcare programmes.
Going forward, Mr Chan said the recently—announced Implementation Committee for Enhancing Pre—School Education is reviewing the existing scheme, including ways to expand the scheme beyond the current anchor operators.
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