End of the road for small pre-schools in churches?

Children role-playing as chefs (above) and having a lesson with Chinese teacher Lu Bin (left) at Zion Kindergarten. The school is holding an open-house carnival to boost enrolment. Pre-schoolers having a gym class (left) at Zion Kindergarten, which i
Pre-schoolers having a gym class (above) at Zion Kindergarten, which is run by Zion Serangoon Bible-Presbyterian Church in Serangoon. The school has around 120 children, 47 of whom will graduate this year. ST PHOTOS: GIN TAY
Children role-playing as chefs (above) and having a lesson with Chinese teacher Lu Bin (left) at Zion Kindergarten. The school is holding an open-house carnival to boost enrolment. Pre-schoolers having a gym class (left) at Zion Kindergarten, which i
Pre-schoolers having a gym class at Zion Kindergarten, which is run by Zion Serangoon Bible-Presbyterian Church (above) in Serangoon. The school has around 120 children, 47 of whom will graduate this year. ST PHOTOS: GIN TAY
Children role-playing as chefs (above) and having a lesson with Chinese teacher Lu Bin (left) at Zion Kindergarten. The school is holding an open-house carnival to boost enrolment. Pre-schoolers having a gym class (left) at Zion Kindergarten, which i
Children role-playing as chefs (above) and having a lesson with Chinese teacher Lu Bin at Zion Kindergarten. The school is holding an open-house carnival to boost enrolment. ST PHOTOS: GIN TAY
Children role-playing as chefs (above) and having a lesson with Chinese teacher Lu Bin (left) at Zion Kindergarten. The school is holding an open-house carnival to boost enrolment. Pre-schoolers having a gym class (left) at Zion Kindergarten, which i
Children role-playing as chefs and having a lesson with Chinese teacher Lu Bin (above) at Zion Kindergarten. The school is holding an open-house carnival to boost enrolment. ST PHOTOS: GIN TAY

These non-profit centres closing amid falling enrolment, competition from large operators

Faith-based pre-schools have been around for decades, but many are shutting their doors in the face of difficulties and dwindling enrolment.

Set up from the 1970s to 1990s mostly by churches as ministries to provide affordable and accessible education, these non-profit centres are facing intense competition today from larger operators, which benefit from government funding and economies of scale.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 24, 2019, with the headline 'End of the road for small pre-schools in churches?'. Print Edition | Subscribe