NTUC ramps up pre-school spaces
Total number of places will reach 24,000
By 2021, NTUC First Campus will add another 4,000 places across its pre-school brands, including My First Skool (MFS), to bring the total number to 24,000.
The early childhood anchor operator - the second largest in Singapore - announced this yesterday at the official opening of MFS' first and largest early years centre.
The centre in Punggol Drive, which opened in May last year, can take in up to 1,065 children and infants. It currently has more than 600 children aged from two months to four years.
Early years centres were first announced in 2017 and are part of the Government's efforts to raise the quality of pre-schools during children's early years and to meet the growing demand for full-day childcare.
Eligible Singaporean and permanent resident Nursery 2 children in these centres will be guaranteed a place in a nearby Ministry of Education (MOE) kindergarten.
In a recent Straits Times report, the Early Childhood Development Agency said the number of children on the waiting list for childcare centres has almost halved in just two years - from 13,800 in 2017 to about 8,000 now. A third of them are already in a centre, but their parents hope to get them transferred to another.
The waiting list has shortened because the Government has significantly ramped up the number of childcare places by more than 80 per cent since 2012, the agency added. From around 90,000 childcare places in 2012, the number has since shot up to about 170,000, and will reach 200,000 in 2023.
NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng, who attended the centre's opening, said: "MFS wants to provide Singapore's families with accessible, affordable, high-quality childcare, to ensure that our children have a good start in life."
Parents whose children are in the Punggol early years centre have a choice of three MOE kindergartens that their children can attend when they turn five. The centre is MFS' largest childcare centre, spanning three storeys with a usable floor area of 8,785 sqm.
PCF Sparkletots, Singapore's largest pre-school operator, had previously announced that it will have 38 early years centres up and running by 2021.
It currently operates 12 such centres, which are mainly located in new towns like Sengkang and Punggol.
Another two centres will open in Toa Payoh by the end of this year.
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