Assoc Prof Jamus Jerome Lim asked the Prime Minister (a) what are the criteria used to determine whether a programme is regarded as an “optional enrichment programme” for the purposes of Child Development Account usage; and (b) whether after-school care programmes, especially those based within schools that have a substantial extended educational component, may be reconsidered as a form of approved expense.
Ms Indranee Rajah (for the Prime Minister): The Child Development Account (CDA) supports parents in child raising and parents can use CDA funds to defray healthcare and educational costs, including preschool fees.
In planning their curriculum, preschools are required to take reference from national frameworks approved by the Early Childhood Development Agency, to create quality learning experiences that are holistic and developmentally appropriate for children. We want to safeguard the use of CDA funds for fees covering the preschool curriculum and other associated expenses such as uniforms and books, hence they cannot be used for optional enrichment programmes offered on top of the preschool curriculum.
With regard to after-school care programmes, parents have given feedback that it would be helpful if CDA funds could be used for Student Care Centre (SCC) expenses. We are considering this carefully and will provide an update in due course.
Other forms of financial support are available for low-income families who require assistance with SCC expenses for their children. The Ministry of Social and Family Development provides them with monthly subsidies of up to 98% of student care fees (up to a maximum amount of $290 per month) and a one-off grant (up to $400) to offset enrolment costs.
Prime Minister’s Office
6 February 2023