Forum: Pre-schools required to explain fees, charges to parents

Pre-school children at a playground under the supervision of a teacher.
Pre-school children at a playground under the supervision of a teacher.PHOTO: ST FILE

We agree with Mr Cheng Choon Fei on the importance of transparency (Drill down to extras charged by pre-schools, Oct 7).

The Government requires all pre-school centres to make fees and charges transparent to parents, under the Early Childhood Development Centres Act and Regulations. The regulations guide parents and centres on their rights and obligations. All operators are required to explain their fees and charges to parents, prior to a child's enrolment.

Operators are only permitted to charge registration and programme fees, deposits and a prescribed list of incidental charges. These incidental charges must be optional for parents to purchase.

We are sure Mr Cheng appreciates that operators continue to incur costs even when a child goes on holiday as they have to hold the place for the child. It is why collecting of fees continues.

Parents can choose from a range of pre-schools and programmes that best cater to the needs of their child.

Parents who need more information on the various fees and charges can contact their pre-schools for assistance, or the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) at www.ecda.gov.sg

Mr Cheng suggested that pre-school capacity be planned based on demand and that realistic manpower plans be developed for the sector.

ECDA assesses pre-school demand at both the national and estate level, and adjusts our development plans accordingly.

More pre-school places are being planned in younger estates such as Punggol and Sengkang, where there are upcoming HDB residential developments.

The Government is working together with key sector partners to attract more educators to join the pre-school sector.

Efforts such as the Early Childhood Sector Skills Framework also sets out the progression paths for early childhood educators.

Our efforts have shown results, as the number of early childhood educators has grown from 15,000 in 2015 to 19,000 today.

We are on track to meet our target of 20,000 by next year.

We thank Mr Cheng for his feedback and suggestions. The Government will continue to work closely with our partners to ensure that every child has a good start.

Charlene Han

Director

Policy Planning and Development

Early Childhood Development Agency

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 17, 2019, with the headline 'Pre-schools required to explain fees, charges to parents'. Print Edition | Subscribe