Committee on enhancing pre-school education plans to visit centres in Nordic countries
The Implementation Committee for enhancing Pre-School Education in Singapore plans to visit three Nordic countries at the end of the year to examine the pre-school centre models there.
Minister of State for Community Development, Youth and Sports, Madam Halimah Yacob who also sits on the national committee gave an update on the sidelines of an event today.
The committee would be looking at how countries such as Finland, Norway and Sweden run pre-school centres and their modes of teacher training.
Madam Halimah said, "If you look at the Nordic countries, because of the quality of their pre-school education it is also something that encourages the women to go to work, they have a high labour force participation rate. There is a co-relation I feel. Parents feel if I get my children I feel comfortable putting my child in a pre-school centre and then I can go to work, the mother especially. We need not copy wholesale, what is workable in their countries may not be workable for us. What we need to do is to extract useful, relevant principles and apply to our system."
Madam Halimah added that affordability is another important area for the committee.
The Committee is jointly helmed by Education Minister Heng Swee Keat and Acting Minister for Community Development Youth and Sports, Chan Chun Sing. Also in the committee are Madam Halimah Yacob and Senior Minister of State-Designate for Education and Law, Ms Indranee Rajah.
"Obviously this is one factor we must look at because we cannot increase quality and at the same time fees continue to increase without any capping or control. Quality will increase but we must continue to ensure it will be affordable. Pre-school eucation, you look at the sector it is very fragmented. There is the centres at the upper hand, you have centres which cater for the mass market and centers that run by VWOs. It doesn't matter what centre or which centre who runs, at the end of the day what we want to make sure the centres provide a basic quality of pre-school education, that is important and so how to bring that about for the mass market will be our focus."
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