Parents queue overnight to register at anchor operator's pre-school

Parents queue overnight to register at anchor operator's pre-school

SINGAPORE - Some parents queued for up to 14 hours to ensure that their children could be placed into pre-schools run by an "anchor operator", Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao reported on Sunday.

E-Bridge, run by EtonHouse, started registration activity for two of its pre-school yesterday in Sengkang. The registration was supposed to start at 9am, but some parents were already queuing up at 6pm the previous day.

Lianhe Zaobao said that there were five parents in the queue at midnight, and 10 in the queue by 5am. When staff of the pre-school arrived at about 7am, there were about 20 parents in the queue.

Within an hour of registration opening, about 100 children had been registered.

The Anchor Operator Scheme was introduced in 2009 to provide funding support to pre-school operators who are required to keep fees affordable.

One 29-year-old parent who started queueing at midnight said that she was registering her 21-month-old daughter. Her daughter is currently enrolled in a pre-school where she works, but that means her daughter has to leave their home early and return home late in the evening. Hoping to let her daughter get more sleep, she was determined to enrol her daughter in a pre-school closer to her home.

"We knew that demand for pre-school places in Sengkang is high, so I decided to queue early to secure a place."

Another parent said that he registered his eight-month-old daughter because the E-Bridge school is very close to his home and that EtonHouse was a famous operator.

EtonHouse managing director Ng Gim Choo said that response to the registration activity was expected, and expects even more parents at the Punggol registration next weekend, the newspaper reported.

She believed that the positive response was because of high demand in the area; the Government's effort to keep pre-school fees affordable, and that EtonHouse is a brand trusted by parents.

Two other pre-school operators were also conferred "anchor operator" status this year: Kinderland Consortium's Skool4Kidz and Metropolitan YMCA's MY World Preschool.

MY World Preschool has said that it has been getting inquiries from parents even before they started registration activities.

sinsh@sph.com.sg

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