NTUC First Campus’ Response to National Day Rally Speech 2012

August 27, 2012

Boosting the Pre-school Sector

At the National Day Rally Speech 2012, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced several new measures for the pre-school sector. We are glad that the Government is committed to invest substantial resources in this sector and play a more active role.

NTUC First Campus Co-operative Limited (NFC) welcomes the slew of new measures that will further raise the quality of pre-school sector as our children and their families will benefit from a higher standard of early childhood care and education.

We are excited about the formation of a new statutory board to oversee the sector as this means that there will be a single, harmonised regulatory regime for childcare centres and kindergartens. It will also enable the pre-school sector to be viewed as a single continuum that fosters the holistic development of children from birth to six years old. The early years, from birth to the age of four, are critical learning and development windows for young children, especially in the areas of language, social and emotional development. Hence whilst we applaud the initiatives to raise the quality of pre-school for children aged five and six, we hope that continued emphasis and attention will be placed on the quality of early years education for children from birth to four years old who attend childcare centres.

In over 110 childcare centres that are owned and managed by NFC, about one-third of our children attend Kindergarten One (K1) and Two (K2) classes. Our curriculum, specially developed for children in this age group, is aligned with the Education Ministry’s Pre-School Curriculum Framework. We will be pleased to work with the new statutory board to bring the programmes within our centres to a new level.

We are also glad that the Government is looking into providing and upgrading pre-school teacher training to raise standards. Teachers play a critical role in implementing curriculum and programmes to enhance young children’s learning and development in pre-schools. Today, more than 90% of our teaching workforce has a diploma qualification or are pursuing one, and 15% are degree holders. We are constantly investing in the training and upgrading of our teachers. With this new announcement from the Government, we believe that we can do more in raising the qualifications and skills of our pre-school teachers.

We are encouraged by the Government’s commitment to boost this sector, and we look forward to working even closer with the Government to raise the quality of pre-school in Singapore.