Pre-schools join hands to boost productivity

Mr Robert Leong, president of the Association of Early Childhood and Training Services, is one of the panellists at The Straits Times roundtable on the Lean Enterprise Development Scheme on February 20.
Mr Robert Leong, president of the Association of Early Childhood and Training Services, is one of the panellists at The Straits Times roundtable on the Lean Enterprise Development Scheme on February 20.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Collaboration will help local pre-schools better manage their staff needs in an industry that is labour-intensive and involves routine work.

Joining forces, as Mr Robert Leong, president of the Association of Early Childhood and Training Services (Assets) also pointed out, carries many other benefits.

"We called for collaboration for sector colleagues to come together to build trust and share information," he said at the roundtable discussion.

"This helped us to come up with smart solutions so that all can benefit from the LED (Lean Enterprise Development) scheme and raise productivity."

Assets has brought together pre-school operators to share challenges, provide possible solutions and foster friendship.

This has allowed it to set the tone for economics of scale or "hunting-in-a-pack" so the pre-schools can negotiate the best price for products and solutions from vendors.

Many pre-schools use conventional methods, both for routine administrative work as well as for implementing continuous professional development. Routine administrative duties such as attendance taking and recording of temperatures are often handled by teaching staff, who record the information manually.

The LED scheme allowed Assets to launch the Smart Solution project, which provides reasonably priced solutions so that pre-schools can automate various jobs.

Productivity in school operations has been improved by reducing manual paperwork and administration procedures, which in turn resulted in cost savings and less stress for teaching staff.

 

There is also better communication with parents and teachers, while teachers' continuous professional development is now better planned and implemented, leading to improved teaching quality.

Assets collaborated with the Early Childhood Development Agency, Infocomm Media Development Authority and Workforce Singapore to provide reasonably priced IT solutions for the Smart project.

"By promoting industry collaboration, (we) will continue to encourage all pre-schools to be aware of the many exciting productivity projects in the LED scheme," said Mr Leong.

"They should take advantage of new technology to improve work processes to be able to better focus on providing quality services to the children."

There are new plans on the agenda to promote bulk purchasing, which will help pre-school operators cut the cost of commonly used items.

Another initiative is zonal bus services. Currently, a child may not be able to get transport to and from his centre of choice. However, with zonal bus services, children from different childcare centres can be matched so that there is enough capacity on a particular route.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 02, 2018, with the headline 'Pre-schools join hands to boost productivity'. Print Edition | Subscribe