Photo of Tan Chuan Jin from CNA

Minister for Social and Family Affairs (MSF) Tan Chuan Jin told Parliament yesterday (Feb 28) that childcare centres are “unlikely” to increase fees due to the additional administration legislations that was proposed.

Under the new bill, all preschools will have to renew their licences within three years, preschool staffs will have to be approved by the government under the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA), and, there will be additional procedures required like monitoring the staffs’ movements in the schools. Training costs and additional hiring are expected for the preschools to meet the new standards, which will likely pass the administration costs to Singaporean parents by raising childcare fees.

Minister Tan Chuan Jin is unable to give a guarantee if costs will increase but instead said that it is “unlikely” costs will increase:

“Rental and staff salaries are the main costs for pre-schools, but there are no plans to raise requirements on space- child or staff-child ratios. The maximum licence tenure has also been extended from two years to three under the new law…We don’t expect costs to be onerous and, therefore, we are not expecting it to translate into higher fees… I also don’t want centres to think, ‘There is a new Bill, so there is no choice but to increase fees.'”

Cost of living is currently a major concern among Singaporeans amid the weakening economy and the increase of taxes including the raise of water prices by 30%. The increase in tax collections is timely in 2017, as the next election is 3 years away in 2020. Given that the next Presidential election has been rigged into a walkover with PAP MP Halimah Yacob the likely only candidate, the Singapore government does not see the need to hold back on raising taxes.