SINGAPORE - Speaking on the budget 2012 announced yesterday, Minister of State for Community Development, Youth & Sports Mdm Halimah Yacob elaborated on the benefits in store for the preschool sector.
Mdm Halimah was speaking at Jamboree 2012, held at Republic Polytechnic, which is a platform that brings together early childhood care and education professionals.
For the preschool sector, she said that it is important that Singapore provides more accessibility and affordability for parents.
Since April 2011, the Government has raised the family income threshold to $3,500 for two schemes: the Kindergarten Financial Assistance Scheme (KiFAS) and the Centre-based Financial Assistance Scheme for Childcare (CFAC).
For families with an income of $3,500 and below, they are eligible to benefit from the enhanced subsidies, on top of the $300 child care centre subsidy that parents receive when they place their children there.
Under the changes announced yesterday, the Government will consider the per capita income of the household, rather than just the total family income, in the disbursement of these subsidies.
This, she said, will benefit families with more children.
Mdm Halimah explained that for example, a family with a total income of $4,000 with four children would exceed the previous family income threshold of $3,500. However, with the per capita income, chances are that they will now be able to benefit from the enhanced CFAC and KiFAS subsidies.
Another positive change of the Budget is that the family income threshold for eligibility for subsidies for before and after school care services has been raised from $2,500 to $3,500.
She also briefly touched on the greater support for special needs children and of CPF rates having been increased to benefit those above 50 years of age.
Under Budget 2012, the CPF contribution rates for those aged 50 years old and above will be raised 2 per cent from the employers, and 0.5 per cent from the employee - which Mdm Halimah said will be the Government's support for older preschool teachers and professionals in the sector.
She encouraged employers in the education sector to take in older teachers and professionals, as under the Special Employment Credit, preschool operators who take in professionals 50 years old and above earning up to $3,000 will receive the Special Employment Credit of 8 per cent.
For those earning between $3,000 to $4,000, the Special Employment Credit amount will be less than 8 per cent.