Singapore tackling inequality from pre-school level

Minister for Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam at the launch of the Red Cross Junior Club.
Minister for Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam at the launch of the Red Cross Junior Club.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

The best chance of addressing inequality is during a child's pre-school years. This is why the Government is putting more resources to give every child a good start and the chance to succeed from a young age, said Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam yesterday at the launch of a children's first aid programme at Our Tampines Hub. Spending on the pre-school sector will double to $1.7 billion by 2022 while 40,000 more childcare places will also be added.

Mr Shanmugam said inequality is one of the most serious issues facing Singapore today, one that if allowed to grow and left unchecked will impact social cohesion.

The challenge of managing inequality in a small economy, one vulnerable to globalisation, is even greater, he added. Singapore's small size also means that in some areas, the richest live in bungalows no more than 15 minutes away from the poorest in rental flats, a situation where inequality can be seen by all.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 21, 2018, with the headline 'Singapore tackling inequality from pre-school level'. Print Edition | Subscribe