National day focus: Something very wrong with preschool help? (Part 1)

I refer to the article “PM Lee Hsien Loong zooms in on three areas for Singapore to prepare for the future” (Straits Times, Aug 9).

It states that “First, the Government will create more preschool places, raise the quality of education, and improve the skills of preschool teachers, he said. He noted that the move will provide parents with more support, and ease the burden of childcare.

“We want every child to have a good start in life, and a bright future. We have been investing in preschools, because the early childhood years make a big difference to children not just academically, but for life,” he said.”

I googled and worked out the following example of the childcare fees’ financial assistance that a family will receive:-

A couple whose Singaporean husband is self-employed and the sole breadwinner with gross monthly income of $4,501 ($4,096 after CPF Medisave contribution), with two children in full day childcare costing $1,734 (the median fee is $867 as of Q2 2017), will get financial assistance of $600 and pay net fees of $1,134.

This leaves the family with a net disposable income of $2,962 ($4,096 – $1,134).

If we assume that the monthly mortgage on their HDB flat is $899 ($225,000 HDB loan for 30 years at 2.6 per cent) – the net disposable income becomes $2,063.

Isn’t $2,063 a month for a family of four kind of tight – having to pay for utilities, transport, food, schooling expenses, service and conservancy fees (S & CC), property tax, income tax, insurance premiums, phone and wifi, healthcare, savings for emergencies, etc?

Looking at the above example, is it any wonder that our Total Fertility Rate (TFR) as I understand it – is now at its lowest and the second lowest in the world?

Why do we have procreation policies that give up to $80,000 tax reliefs a year for mothers with very high income (who can easily afford to have children), whereas lower income mothers who do not have to pay any income tax may get very little tax reliefs? (“Procreation tax benefits 166x more than childcare help?“, Oct 30, 2015)

Also, why is it that a mother must work at least 56 hours a month in order to be eligible for the additional subsidy for childcare fees? Isn’t it arguably needed even more, by families which have only the husband as the sole breadwinner?

We should do more to help particularly lower income families to raise their children (“Childcare: Stingy $50m – $5.2b Budget surplus?“, Mar 19), instead of having huge Budget surpluses like the $5.2 billion for FY2016, and the typical $20 billion cash Budget surpluses a year under IMF fiscal reporting guidelines.

 

Leong Sze Hian

 

 

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11 Responses to “National day focus: Something very wrong with preschool help? (Part 1)”

  • She looks more like ET than EP:

    Young parents out there, do not be fooled.

    Remember, G recently decided to close down 7 Pri schs, 3 Sec schs and 4 JCs due to low birth rate. Now they say they’ll create more preschool places? Also not forgetting they’ve also told us it’s no use getting Degrees. Now they say they’d raise the quality of education? For what if there’s no need to go Uni?

    And now Mr Leong has alerted us on the peanuts they hand out. Are they to attract monkeys? We aren’t monkeys. They are.

    This G is completely clueless. They’ve no concrete nor sincere plans for our future. Just only always thinking about how to win votes in the next GE with fake assistance.

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  • doggie:

    make no mistake, the “help” is just wayang. Their main purpose is to eventually make sg a large hotel, using FT driven working age pple for economy and retire elsewhere so the cost for the very old and young to be reduced.

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  • One Up:

    That’s why you have that schoolboy showing his middle finger at NDP. LOL.

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  • PAP cannot be trusted:

    LHL talks about preschool because PAP is failing so badly it has to start brainwashing Singaporeans at an earlier age. LHL want to raise the “quality” of education. What is PAP’s definition of “quality education”? Young Singaporeans are brainwashed into silence and obedience. They are trained to do what they are told by PAP.

    Bottom Line. PAP wants to stay in power at all cost. It will lie and cheat Singaporeans to achieve this. PAP cannot be trusted.

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  • Never About Poor Singaporeans:

    Is it true?
    From Day 1
    LKY’s reason for founding PAP was never about helping Singaporeans.
    Especially Singaporean families who are poor.

    Whose interest do you think PAP is protecting?
    Rich families or poor families?

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  • Sputzy:

    “Help” is a four-letter word that the PAP uses v loosely.
    It has Completely No Idea of what the word really means.

    As far as the party is concerned, giving help does not
    help it earn money, so it offers no help. It is unaware
    that the returns from giving help can take other forms.
    Our leaders have learnt nothing from years of education!
    Karang guni men and gangsters have more street smarts…
    So the contradictions betw what’s said and what’s done go
    on. Basically, these guys are an uneducated bunch!!

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  • Boh Kia See:

    I think the PAP’s focus on pre-school education is to ensure that their own chain of pre-schools will get the bulk of the funds.

    This is a form of transfer of funds and the people are being softened up when the practice is in full swing.

    The talk about giving children the best chance at life is rubbish–don’t belief it. The PAP is not that kind of organisation.

    It is about the money–moving it to the PAP enterprise.

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  • 民间有高手:

    超白政府是在吸干人民的血。
    每个人都要做牛做马还一辈子。

    赚钱时难存也难,东风无力百花残。
    春蚕至死絲方尽,蜡炬成灰泪始干。

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  • 陈芬兰:

    手心相连???结果要钱

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  • We Must Tell Ourselves...:

    The further a society drifts from the truth. The more it will hate those who speak it.

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  • l'ingenieur:

    There arent even enough days of statutory leave to cover for MOE school holidays. Where can the children go when the teachers are vacationing for 12 weeks a year?

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