SINGAPORE : A total of 69 million dollars has been disbursed to non—profit childcare anchor operators since 2009.
Acting Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing said the grants are determined based on the number of centres developed, the manpower to support the centres and their capacity.
Mr Chan added that the disbursement of grants is performance—based and the level of funding depends on the standards met by the operator.
Anchor operators are required to submit regular reports and audited statements on how they used the grants.
Since the scheme was introduced, the two anchor operators on the scheme have built a total of 132 childcare centres.
Non—constituency MP Yee Jenn Jong also asked if statistics showed that anchor operators had not met the quality standards set by the ministry, and whether a greater link is needed between the utilisation of the grant and the targets the centres have to meet.
Mr Chan said: "Apart from expanding capacity, the anchor operators are required to keep childcare programmes fees at these centres affordable, below that of the industry median.
"Anchor operators also need to meet quality targets. These quality indicators cover areas such as teacher qualification, kindergarten class size as well as centre quality."
Mr Yee asked: "Thirty—nine out of 330 PCF (PAP Community Foundation) centres are SPARK accredited, 27 PCF and NTUC centres out of approximately 210 combined centres are SPARK accredited, that is about 12 per cent of all the centres that are owned by these anchor operators. This is way short of the target of 85 per cent of centres to be SPARK tested by 2013, as shared in this house in November 2010.
"I would like to ask the Acting Minister, does he feel that these statistics show that the anchor operators have also not met the quality standards that are expected by MCYS?"
Mr Chan responded: "(On the SPARK standards), for those who are trying to achieve the SPARK accreditation standards and if they have not met it, we will work with them to see how they can best meet it, because we do want to encourage more of our centres to meet the accreditation required. On the second one, for those centres that do not meet the requirements, we...withheld funding from them until they do so."
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