Education Minister Heng Swee Keat (centre) at the MoU signing between the ministry and the four self-help groups. (Photo: Monica Kotwani)
30 School-based Student Care Centres in the Pipeline
These 30 centres include the three school-based student care centres already operating under the CDAC and Mendaki, MOE says.
By Monica Kotwani
Posted: 13 Aug 2015 15:30
Updated: 13 Aug 2015 23:55
SINGAPORE: There will be 30 school-based student care centres that will be rolled out in the coming years, announced the Ministry of Education (MOE) on Thursday (Aug 13).
These 30 centres will be set up and run by four self-help groups: Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC), Yayasan Mendaki, Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA) and the Eurasian Association. They will operate the centres through a joint venture company owned by the four groups. MOE signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the four groups on Thursday.
The student care centres will benefit students of all races, especially those from lower-income families, said the groups and MOE in a joint statement.
“What we bring to the table would be our experience dealing with those from low-income families,” said Mendaki’s chief executive officer, TuminahSapawi.
Education Minister Heng Swee Keat added: “We can design a whole range of innovative programmes that can stimulate learning of our students and that can promote the holistic development of our students. And this is particularly important for students who come from more disadvantaged families, where the home support may not be there.
“This is an important aspect of our efforts to promote social mobility and to give opportunities to our students regardless of their backgrounds.”
CDAC said running the student care centres together will benefit families too.
“Besides organising programmes for students, we are also using it as a good platform to engage the parents,” explained CDAC’s executive director Pok Cheng Chong. “When the different self-help groups come in, each has their unique programmes targeted at parents, targeted at families, and that is where we can pool together different programmes.”
Currently, CDAC’s student care centre programmes include e-reading classes, among other enrichment courses, for the students to complement what they learn during school hours.
The 30 centres include the three school-based student care centres already operating under the CDAC and Mendaki, MOE clarified after the event. It was earlier reported that the 30 centres were in addition to the existing three.
There are currently 114 school-based student care centres run by voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs), private companies and the two self-help groups. They have an enrollment figure of more than 10,000. Fees range between S$200 and S$300 a month, but those who qualify for financial assistance pay a smaller amount.
MOE said the new student-care centres will open with an enrollment of about 60 students but could increase to more than 100 over time, depending on demand and their ability to increase capabilities and resources. Details on funding and other operational issues will be announced at a later date.