Childcare centres, kindergartens can tap on fund to install portable air-conditioning units

The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) is extending funds to childcare centres and kindergartens which plan to retrofit their spaces with portable air-conditioners.

Childcare centres which cater to 100 pupils and below can receive subsidies of up to $3,000; those with a capacity of more than 100 can get a subsidy of up to $4,000. Kindergartens that cater to more 150 pupils are entitled to up to $6,000 while those with a capacity of up to 150 can get a maximum of $4,000. Childcare centres and kindergartens have till Aug 31 to apply directly to MSF for these subsidies. Thereafter, the Early Childhood Development Agency will review the scheme.

Currently, about 40 per cent of the estimated 1,000 childcare centres in Singapore are non-airconditioned while about 50 per cent of 500 kindergartens are non-airconditioned. MSF said the fund is intended to help these centres retrofit their spaces and keep all children cool in the centre.

Meanwhile, MSF is also considering closing schools if the daily haze predictions reach more than PSI 300. This will be coordinated with the Education Ministry, it said. "The health of our children is our first consideration," said Acting Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing. "We will also consider the impact to our economy as closing childcare centres and kindergartens have potential knock-on effects on parents' schedules," he added.