Pre-school stat board to be set up Aug28

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Pre-school stat board to be set up

SINGAPORE – A new statutory board will be set up to oversee pre-school education, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced yesterday in his National Day Rally speech.

In addition, the Government will also run a few pre-school centres under a pilot scheme which will test new concepts in kindergarten education, The Straits Times reported.

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The measures are part of efforts to keep pre-school, especially kindergarten education, affordable, and improve the quality of education available. There are currently about 500 kindergartens and 950 childcare centres here.

According to The Straits Times, a recent study commissioned by the Lien Foundation ranked Singapore 29th out of 45 countries in standards of early childhood education.

Affordability and quality were highlighted as weak areas.

Mr Lee added that more support will be given to those from middle- and lower-income families, and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

But he stressed that the pre-school sector will not be nationalised.

In his address, PM Lee also asked that parents let young children enjoy their childhod, and not to hothouse and “over-teach” pre-schoolers.

“Instead of growing up balanced and happy, he grows up narrow and neurotic. No homework is not a bad thing. It’s good for young children to play, and to learn through play.”

Said Mr Lee: “Pre-school is to teach the kids certain skills which are best learnt at that age – languages, social skills, basic motor skills.

“It’s not meant for you to prepare with a P1, P2 textbook and to drill the kid at three or four years old so that by the time he goes to P1, he already knows what the teacher’s supposed to teach him.”

And to parents who send their children to two pre-schools or tuition, he had this to say: Don’t.

“I’ve heard of parents who send their children to two kindergartens. I read of parents who send their kindergarten-age children to tuition,” he said. “Please don’t do that.”