NTUC First Campus’ Response to Budget 2013
The Government, by announcing a doubling of its budget for the pre-school sector, has sent a clear signal of the importance it places on pre-school education. NTUC First Campus (NFC) Co-operative Limited looks forward to the details on the schemes and initiatives that will support us in making childcare more accessible and affordable to more families in Singapore. NFC currently operates 114 childcare centres across Singapore. We plan to set up about 15 centres in 2013.
The theme of enhancing social mobility was consistently mentioned by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam in his budget speech. We strongly agree that quality pre-school education can be a great social leveler. Towards this end, My First Skool (MFS) intends to reserve 15 per cent of our places for children from less privileged families – those with an income of less than $3,500. We will strengthen our outreach to these families. Our goal is to have a good mix of children from different social backgrounds in our centres. We aim to give all children an equal start in life through offering high quality pre-school services.
This budget signals an important shift in how society values the early childhood education. We are heartened to see more grants and scholarships being offered to upgrade ECCE professionals. The sector can only grow if we are able to have a larger pool of qualified manpower who are passionate about working with young children. We hope to see more passionate individuals coming forward to join us in in this sector. The introduction of more training incentive schemes should help reduce the barriers to entry for individuals who currently lack the requisite qualifications. We believe it is time that people look upon a possible career in the ECCE sector differently.