According to Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA), around 330 childcare centres in Singapore are looking into increasing their full-day childcare fees for Singapore citizens in 2020.
Preschools intending to increase their fees by September 1 of the preceding year must inform ECDA and the parents, so that that are able to make an informed decision regarding their child’s preschool expenses.
On 28 August, subsidies were introduced to extend support for parents across all eligible tiers. For instance, instead of forking out the full fee of $70, families with a gross monthly income of S$3,000 will only have to spend $3 a month per child for preschool. These subsidies will help with the increase in preschool fees.
Moreover, Minister for Social and Family Development, Desmond Lee, also mentioned that fee caps will be imposed by ECDA on anchor and partner preschool operators. This is to limit the fee increases to be moderate. The government will also consider reducing the fee caps for government-aided preschools. However, private and non-profit preschool operators need not adhere to the fee caps.
COVERING INCREASING OPERATING COSTS
Some of the centres under My First Skool, Star Learners and PAP Community Foundation (PCF) are also looking into raising their school fees.
Singapore’s largest preschool operator, PCF, mentioned that a few of their centres, that are performing well below the ECDA fee caps, will be considering fee adjustments. The parents, whose children are affected, have been notified in July.
As for My First Skool, some adjustments to the school fees will be introduced at some centres in 2020 to gradually standardise their fees across the board. Moreover, the preschool also further offers financial aid for low-income families via their Bright Horizons Fund.
Therefore, My First Skool centres charging below the $720 fee cap for full-day childcare under the Anchor Operator Scheme will be adjusted to meet the cap.
While both PCF and My First Skool fall under the Anchor Operator Scheme, Star Learners has 35 out of 41 of their childcare centres on the Partner Operator (POP) Scheme. On September 1, the preschool has informed some of the parents about the adjustments that will be made to the fees.
The fee adjustment ranges between a monthly fee of $20 and $90. It will only be applied to Star Learners centres that were offering monthly fees below the Star Learners published rates.
According to Star Learners, their school fees are annually assessed to cover increasing operating costs while delivering excellent childcare and educational services for children.
The rise in fees help to cover the increasing operating costs, which includes location and rental costs, remuneration for staffs and other miscellaneous expenses.
Hence, Star Learners centres, whose monthly fees are limited to $800 for Singaporean citizens under the POP Scheme, will see their fees adjusted to meet the cap in 2021.