Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivered his National Day Rally speech on Sunday (20 August) and here’s the good news for all mummies: there are going to be more childcare places, better preschool education quality and reduced levels of sugar in soft drinks sold in Singapore.
1. More Childcare Places
About 40,000 childcare places will be added by 2022, a 30 per cent increase from the current number of available places. This is as PM Lee has recognised that preschools for children aged two months to six years are important for giving them “a good start and the best chance to succeed in life”.
There has been a notable shortage for children up to four years of age, thus the government plans to get anchor operators to open “Early Year Centres” that will have reasonable prices and quality programmes.
2. Better quality preschool education
There are plans to increase the number of MOE kindergartens from the current 15 to 50 with the next five years. This will allow MOE to have a wider impact and raise the quality of the preschool industry in Singapore.
Early Year Centres will also be affiliated to the nearby MOE kindergartens – a place in the kindergarten will be reserved for each child in the Early Year Centre, should the parents choose to take it up. Mummies, you won’t ned to worry about securing a place in kindergarten once your child is enrolled in an Early Year Centre.
There will also be a new centralised training institute for preschool teachers, the National Institute of Early Childhood Development that will consolidate the existing training programmes found in polytechnics, ITE and SEED institute.
3. Reduced amount of sugar in soft drinks sold in Singapore
Sugary drinks are hard to resist, especially if you are a young kid, which is why the national effort to reduce the amount of sugar found in soft drinks is a welcome move, and all soft drink producers in Singapore have pledged to lower sugar levels in the drinks they sell in Singapore.
That said, mummies, you will still have to monitor your little one’s sugar intake and make concerted efforts to watch over his diet as the incidence of diabetes amongst Singaporeans is on the rise – we are currently second only to the United States.
For more information on the announcements made during the National Day Rally 2017 Speech, click here.