PAP Women’s Wing calls for more affordable pre-schools, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

PAP Women’s Wing calls for more affordable pre-schools

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A call to make pre-schools more affordable has topped a list of proposals made yesterday by the People's Action Party Women's Wing.

The group also recommended the Government do away with the age limit for in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatments, as well as step up the promotion of flexible work arrangements and do more to include special needs children in the school system.

"We often hear feedback on the costs of pre-school education," said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and National Development Sun Xueling, an MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC.

"So top of our list today is making pre-school options more affordable, as pre-school is now a necessity for most parents."

The group unveiled the recommendations in a position paper based on a series of online surveys and focus group discussions Ms Sun and five other women MPs conducted to understand the concerns of young parents, employers and would-be parents.

A survey with about 1,000 parents found that proximity to home and cost of fees were the top two factors influencing their decision when choosing a pre-school.

Monthly fees for larger anchor operators are capped at $720 for full-day child care, while small and mid-sized partner operators have their fees capped at $800.

The survey also found that after subsidies, the amount households with a monthly income of $4,999 and below typically spend on fees and other pre-school expenses for each child is at least 10 per cent of the family income.

Ms Sun said the goal is to cut the proportion to 5 per cent.

She also called on the Government to expand the number of government-supported pre-schools so that eight in 10 children will have a place within 10 minutes' walk of their homes.

A separate survey of 700 people found that nearly half believe the age limit for IVF treatment should be increased to 50. Currently, women above 45 are not allowed to undergo the treatment.