SINGAPORE - Five large childcare centres, each able to take in 300 to 500 children, will be built and ready by end-2016, to increase the number of places in areas with high demand for childcare. A centre in a Housing Board void deck can usually admit only about 100 children.
They are expected to add a total of 2,400 places, which goes beyond the Government's original goal of adding 20,000 places between 2013 and 2017 - a target that will be met ahead of schedule. Already, over 17,000 places have been added.
The new large centres will be built on undeveloped state land in Punggol, Sengkang, Jurong West, Woodlands and Yishun. These areas have a higher demand for childcare services due to the larger number of families.
The site locations are:
* along Jurong West Street 65, opposite Boon Lay Secondary
* along Edgedale Plains, near Horizon Primary
* junction of Fernvale Link and Sengkang West Way
* along Woodlands Street 12, near Woodlands Stadium
* along Yishun Avenue 11, near Block 415
The centres will be run by anchor operators, which currently get government grants and priority in securing HDB sites to set up centres, but have to keep fees below $720 a month, among other things.
Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin said on Thursday: "We have made good progress over the past two years in enhancing the accessibility, affordability and quality of early childhood services. These upcoming centres will further build on our ongoing efforts to better meet the needs of parents."
Currently, other initiatives to expand childcare capacity include co-locating centres with community facilities and building them above multi-storey carparks.