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Parents want K1, K2 to be part of formal education

date:Aug 22,2012 source:Singapore TODAY editorial staff:sky clicks:

In line with the recent calls by pre-school leaders and experts, an online survey showed that seven in 10 parents want kindergarten classes to be part of the formal education system.

A majority of the respondents also want the Government to play a bigger role in early childhood education. However, only about a third (36%) wanted a free pre-school for all - a suggestion which was also mooted earlier by the educators and experts.

The survey, whcih was conducted by the Lien Foundation between July 17 and July 31, follows the foundation's recent release of two studies on early childhood education: The first showed that Singapore's pre-school education ranked in the bottom half internationally, while the second involved preschool leaders and experts who called for sweeping and urgent reforms - including making pre-school education free and partially nationalising the sector to level the playing field.

The latest survey, which was targeted at parents of pre-schoolers, had almost, 1400 respondents who gave their views via a website. Email addresses were collected to avoid duplication of responses.

On the finding that most respondents want kindergarten classes to be part of public education, early childhood expert Lynn Ang, who led the study, said: "This finding showed parents felt pre-school education is important and should be an essential part of the public education system."

However, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event at the Singapore Art Museum, Senior Minister of State for Education Lawrence Wong reiterated yesterday that pre-schools "should not be formalising academic learning at an early age."

Noting that the Ministry of Education has content guidelines for pre-school operators, Mr Wong said: "In fact, many studies around the world have shown that there is a risk of prematurely formalising learning in pre-schools. And it might lead to negative outcomes for the children."

The survey also found a majority of the respondents calling for more government intervention in regulating pre-school fees and raising the qualification and pay of pre-school educators.

Among the respondents, 171 had children in PAP Community Foundation centres and 62% of these said they were satisfied with the pre-school.

Of the 242 respondents whose children are enrolled in NTUC First Campus centres, 70% were satisifed with the pre-school.

About 50% of the respondents (702) enrolled their chil in private pre-schools. Of these, eight in 10 said they were satisfieed with their child's pre-school.

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