Engage needy families on pre-school fee hike

I hope that more initiatives can be rolled out to help needy families with the fee hike at pre-schools. (Two largest pre-school chains to raise fees; Jan 1).

Increased fees should not stop children from receiving education at an early stage.

It is important to evaluate the fee structure to ensure that childcare programmes and the teachers employed are of quality standard and that each child is given the best opportunity to develop and learn through a holistic curriculum.

The Early Childhood Development Agency needs to work closely with pre-school operators to understand the needs of needy families so that they can pay subsidised rates but their children still receive the same education opportunities.

It is essential that all needy families are actively engaged and their concerns addressed so that they are aware of the help available, if they face difficulties in paying school fees.

Also, pre-school operators can look at a fixed rate for a few years instead of raising fees on a yearly basis. This can help parents plan for their child's education on a long-term basis and set aside their finances.

Understanding the sentiments of parents can help pre-school operators cater better programmes and look at the challenges that parents may be facing.

Parents should also voice their concerns and allow for improvements to be made to the fee structure.

Education should remain affordable, with quality programmes and dedicated teachers, so that an engaging and stimulating environment can be created for all children to learn well, develop robust skills and get a head start in life.

Darren Chan Keng Leong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 04, 2018, with the headline 'Engage needy families on pre-school fee hike'. Print Edition | Subscribe