Preschool education (PSE) is not compulsory in Singapore. However, most parents like to send their children for a one-year preschool program before they enter primary school. The Singapore government supports the value of quality in early childhood education and cares to establish a strong foundation for lifelong learning.
Singapore preschool sector comprises of two primary forms of PSE for children below the age of 7, viz. Child Care Centre, and kindergartens. These preschools were started for children to support parents from low-income families.
Presently most of the families in Singapore attending childcare and infant care programs receive a basic subsidy. The number of grants increases among all eligible tiers, with lower-income families receiving higher subsidies.
In addition, the fee caps for full-daycChildcare is set to lower from January 2021 to provide more support to the families. In the long-term, preschools in Singapore have decided to lower the full-day children’s expenses further to cost about the same as primary school fees.
Governance and Regulation
Preschools and childcare centers are licensed by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) of Singapore. Its responsibility is to focus on meeting the educational needs of children with priority for enhancing the quality of classroom teaching and learning.
MSF’s priority for preschools is focussed on meeting social and family needs through improving the affordability and accessibility of custodial care services.
Preschool, infant care, and childcare subsidies
All parents with children up to 6 years of age are entitled to a basic subsidy for Childcare. A child must be enrolled in an ECDA-licensed childcare center to avail the subsidy. The amount of this subsidy depends on the mother’s working status and the type of program the child is enrolled in (Full-day or Half-day).
Primary and Secondary school subsidies
Children from 7 years old onwards are eligible to get financial support from the Singapore government in the form of Edusave. A child enrolled in a MOE-funded school, independent school, or a madrasa, etc. is eligible for a subsidy program funded by the government.
Parents interested in applying for the primary and additional subsidy must approach the child’s preschools directly. The school will provide all the forms required for the application.
Once the applications get approved, the subsidies are sent directly to the school, and the parent has to pay the net fees as per the subsidy availed.
Factors affecting subsidy
1. Basic subsidy depends on the parent’s working status and the child’s program
2. For additional subsidy, an income of the family is considered along with the program a child is attending
3. KiFAS applicants are computed according to the household per-capita income. The parents have to qualify under the threshold household income for their grant to be computed
The affordable student program support by the Singapore government enlightens a range of pathways to progress and pursue the young aspirants, regardless of their financial background.
With the number of schemes and grants offered at every stage, students can get the most out of the opportunities available to them at every level of education.