More families will benefit from kindergarten subsidies, and lower-income households will receive more help than before. Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing gave more details of the changes to the Kindergarten Fee Assistance Scheme (KiFAS) in Parliament on Thursday.
The scheme, which currently targets lower-income families, will be extended to the middle-income group. The monthly household income ceiling of those eligible will be raised from $3,500 to $6,000.
Lower-income families will get subsidies of up to $160 a month, compared to $108 today. With the larger subsidies, families receiving the most support could pay as little as $1 a month.
Mr Chan said the enhancements to the scheme are part of the Government's efforts to improve affordability of pre-school education, so that "every child will get a good start".
The enhanced scheme, which starts from January next year, is expected to benefit about 17,000 children each year, or one in two children, up from one in three now. About $20 million a year will be set aside for KiFAS, double the amount today.
The subsidies will also be made available to families with children in kindergartens run by the Ministry of Education and anchor operators such as the PAP Community Foundation (PCF). Currently, the scheme is open only to children in eligible non-profit kindergartens which have no affiliation to racial or religious groups, such as PCF kindergartens.