Parliament: Number of student care centres in schools has tripled since 2012

Primary 1 pupils with student-care teachers at Bendemeer Primary School. Education Minister (Schools) Ng Chee Meng said in Parliament on Feb 5, 2018, that 9 per cent of all primary school pupils were enrolled in such school-based student care centres. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The number of school-based student care centres has more than tripled from 50 to 162 in the last six years, with 9 per cent of all primary school pupils now enrolled in such centres.

There are now 21,000 pupils enrolled in these centres, compared to 3,000 in 2012, Education Minister (Schools) Ng Chee Meng said in Parliament on Monday (Feb 5), in response to Mr Desmond Choo (Tampines GRC).

Mr Ng added that the Ministry of Education (MOE) is on track to have such centres in all primary schools by end 2020.

Also, about 11,000 pupils are enrolled in 261 community-based student care centres , usually located in bomb shelters, community centres and the void decks of Housing Board flats, and some have spare capacity, he said.

Mr Choo said parents have told him that some schools have to prioritise after-school student care for lower primary pupils, and asked if the expansion of such centres will cater to pupils at all levels.

Mr Ng said the the waitlist for centres at different schools varies, but the average number of students waiting for a spot remains low.

Where demand is high, schools will work with centre operators to see how to meet the demand. But it is important to make sure that expansion does not compromise the quality of programmes, he added.

Replying to Dr Intan Azura Mokhtar (Ang Mo Kio GRC) on whether the centres will be subjected to an accreditation framework, Mr Ng said that various authorities, including MOE and the Ministry of Social and Family Development, have introduced training programmes for staff to ensure quality in such centres.

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