MOE's move ensures every child has equal chances

We thank the writers of the letters and commentaries on the Education Ministry's (MOE's) pilot Phase 2A2 eligibility for MOE Kindergarten children's Primary 1 admission to the school the MOE Kindergarten is co-located with.

The best interests of our students are always our priority.

We are committed to ensuring that every child has equal opportunities and access to affordable and quality education.

It is in this context that MOE Kindergartens were set up, with one-third of their places reserved for Singaporean children, from households with a monthly household income of $3,500 and below, living within 1km of these kindergartens.

The fees for these kindergartens have been kept affordable, at $160 monthly next year. Generous subsidies are provided for families with a household income below $6,000, with monthly fees at just $1.60 for those with a monthly income of up to $2,500.

MOE will increase the number of MOE Kindergartens from the current 15 to about 50 by 2023.

It is timely to facilitate a smoother transition of MOE Kindergarten children to the co-located primary school, as this will optimise the benefits of remaining in a familiar physical, social and educational environment.

It also addresses feedback from parents who hope to avoid another transition just two years after their children moved from nursery to MOE Kindergartens.

The primary school and the co-located kindergarten can also work closely to facilitate a seamless transition to Primary 1.

Nevertheless, MOE is mindful about the current diverse parental preferences on pre-schools and will ensure that our Primary 1 admission framework continues to ensure open access.

For the schools with Phase 2A2 eligibility for MOE Kindergarten children, the planned K1 intake will be significantly below the planned Primary 1 intake of the co-located school.

To address concerns that this may bring the stress of primary school admission to the kindergarten years, we have calibrated this admission eligibility at Phase 2A2 - below the sibling's eligibility (Phase 1) and alumni eligibility (Phase 2A1).

We will also ensure open access to our primary schools, by reserving 40 places for Phases 2B and 2C.

MOE will monitor demand and needs of young parents, take in feedback and assess how well the pilot is working in achieving the intended outcomes after we have the experience of operating the 50 MOE Kindergartens.

If necessary, we will make refinements to the policy as part of our continued journey to improve our education system.

Lim Huay Chih (Ms)

Divisional Director

Student Placement & Services Division

Ministry of Education

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 08, 2017, with the headline 'MOE's move ensures every child has equal chances'. Print Edition | Subscribe