Mr Muhamad Faisal Bin Abdul Manap (Aljunied): Sir, I have made several calls in this Chamber to have the Kindergarten Fee Assistance Scheme (KiFAS) made available to Singapore students from less privileged families who attend kindergartens apart from the Ministry of Education (MOE)’s and that run by anchored operators. However, the situation remains.
As one of the main focus for this year’s Budget Statement is to strengthen our social compact, it would be appropriate for me to echo my earlier calls on this.
Sir, each child is unique. The diverse choices of kindergartens give parents the option to select the centre which they deem to be in the child’s best interest. Parents know their child best. They would obviously want their child to attend a preschool education centre which suits that child’s learning style.
Apart from the child’s learning style, there are parents who may also want their children to attend a preschool institution which provides religious knowledge. Naturally, their choices would be kindergartens run by religious entities, such as mosques and churches.
However, this choice can be out of reach for parents who do not have the financial means to do so because the Kindergarten Fee Assistance Scheme (KiFAS) would not be extended to their children if they were to attend such institutions.
I hope that the scheme’s coverage can be extended beyond MOE kindergartens and kindergartens run by anchor operators.
The second suggestion I have, Sir, is for KiFAS to be made available for children who are Permanent Residents (PRs), provided one of their parents or stepparents is a Singaporean. I have also suggested for MOE’s Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) to be extended to school-going children who have such parentage for the same reasons of elevating the financial burdens of such households where a Singapore Citizen has a child or stepchild who is a PR resulting from a transnational marriage.
Ministry of Social and Family Development
3 March 2023