SINGAPORE - An operator of pre-schools has fended off competition from more than 20 rivals to secure the first two heartland sites for private childcare centres under the revised tender scheme.
Little Footprints Schoolhouse trumped 29 other bidders for the site at Block 168D Punggol Field while its offer for a plot at Block 22A Teban Gardens Road in Jurong left 22 others in the shade.
In the past, a tender simply went to the highest bidder, a process that sparked bidding wars which often drove up rents and school fees.
The system was revised in June as part of a government drive to make quality pre-school education more affordable and accessible.
The bid price now comprises half the total score of 100 points. The rest focuses on quality criteria, including affordable fees and an operator's track record.
Tender results released on Monday showed that Little Footprints scored 91.49 points for the Punggol site and 94.65 for the Teban Gardens plot.
Its "quality score" of 42.2 points was highest among the bids for the Punggol site and second-highest - it scored 44.65 points - among those for the Teban Gardens one.
The firm beat more well-known operators such as Carpe Diem, which runs a chain of 26 childcare centres.
Little Footprints said its curriculum is distinctive because it exposes the children to the Chinese language as early as 18 months of age through songs and role playing.