Should Preschool Education Be Regulated?

General comments and chit-chat, or tell us how we can improve KiasuParents.com

Should Preschool Education Be Regulated?

No. I'm fine with it as it is.
3
10%
No. But the Government should provide more subsidies for preschool education based on income levels.
7
23%
No. But the Government should provide more subsidies for preschool education providers to improve their competency.
8
27%
Yes. The Government should set and enforce standards for preschool teachers.
5
17%
Yes. The Government should set and enforce standards for preschool course syllabus.
7
23%
 
Total votes : 30

Should Preschool Education Be Regulated?

Postby ChiefKiasu » Sun Jul 22, 2012 4:44 pm

The recent report by Lien Foundation and the study it commissioned that placed Singapore preschool education at a "dismal" 29 out of 45 countries renewed the debate surrounding the quality of Singapore's preschool education.

The key issues highlighted by the report are:
- Uneven quality, equity and affordability currently present in the sector
- Difficulties faced by the preschool profession - high turnover, low status and low pay
- Need for increased efforts for greater parental awareness and education
- Need for more cohesive governance of the preschool sector, at policy and
operational level

The report suggests the following improvements to be made:
- Leveling the gaps in quality, affordability and accessibility for better equity
- Elevating the early education workforce to revitalize the profession
- Drawing greater community and parental involvement for a holistic preschool education
- Advocating the formation of a new distinct lead ministry for greater efficiencies and coherence of policies and implementation


While acknowledging the issues pointed out by the report, and some of the suggested improvements, I do have some concerns.

The study calls for the Government to take a stronger lead in regulating early childhood education, on the basis that it should be seen as a public good. While this appears to be the correct solution to tackling the thorny issue of inequality in terms of access to quality education for every preschool child, it is in my humble opinion that the long-term effect of a Government-regulated pre-school education would be to increase the level of stress amongst parents and children, leading to unhealthy social ills as parents see preschool education as the new "PSLE".

The side effect of regulation is the creation of "standards". Standards for delivering education in as prescribed syllabi. Standards for measuring the performance of preschool children meeting these academic targets, which could eventually be used to classify children into gifted, high achievers, good, and "normal". This would be an extension of our already heavily-regulated, result-oriented culture. Is it wise for us to start comparing and classifying our children at such young ages, telling them what they are, or are not capable of doing? And what is to stop the education experts, who are always looking for ways to upgrade workforce competencies, from suggesting that the pre-school performance can actually be used to replace the current "inefficient" or "unfair" processes of registration for Primary Schools, given that it allows us to compare the academic capabilities of individual children? So the entry criteria for Primary Schools could be based on pre-school "T-scores", just like that for Secondary schools.

I cannot express the horror I felt when I considered this possibility. If parents are already lamenting the "lost childhood" of our children today, there's a good chance that preschool regulation could knock off more of the childhood years of our children.

My contention is that before considering regulation, it is necessary to prove that there is market-failure in the current ways by which preschool education is meted out to our citizens. Is the majority of our preschool children unprepared for the rigours of Primary School education? If so, is it because of the varying quality of preschools that created this situation, or because children are of different qualities and mature at different times?

What I do agree with the report is the importance of the role of parents in preschool education. In these early formation years, it is important for children to spend lots of time with parents to bond and inculcate principles that form the backbone of our children's character. To me, understanding that it is not right to hurt another person or animal through one's actions or inaction, is far more important than learning ABCs, or 2x2=4. It forms the basic notion of society. It tells us that we do not live alone, and we have to cooperate with others to achieve our own goals. It mitigates the pragmatism and economic behavior that characterises our Singaporean culture today.

ChiefKiasu
Site Admin
 
Posts: 15277
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 9:16 am
Location: Singapore
Total Likes: 320


Re: Should Preschool Education Be Regulated?

Postby Busymom » Sun Jul 22, 2012 8:49 pm

None of the 5 options best describe what I feel, so which one do I choose? :scratchhead:

I am not for a one-size-fits-all preschool education. I believe parents should have choices with respect to the kind of preschool education best suited to the needs of their children. Some children learn best through play, others may need more structure, and yet others blossom under the Montessori method.

However, I do really wish that the government could make K1 and K2 education compulsory. Yes, compulsory for all to attend school, but not necessarily schools that are run by the government. My impression could be wrong, but seems that some PCFs are teaching their children beyond the K1 and K2 levels. Not all children are suited for such an academically driven program. If regulation means a standardized syllabus, then we will see the same argument that we have today on the primary school education shifting to the preschool education. And we can argue till the cows come home and still not reach any consensus.

Busymom
Councillor
Councillor
 
Posts: 7294
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2009 6:56 pm
Total Likes: 26


Re: Should Preschool Education Be Regulated?

Postby Oppsgal » Sun Jul 22, 2012 9:14 pm

Busymom wrote:None of the 5 options best describe what I feel, so which one do I choose? :scratchhead:

I am not for a one-size-fits-all preschool education. I believe parents should have choices with respect to the kind of preschool education best suited to the needs of their children. Some children learn best through play, others may need more structure, and yet others blossom under the Montessori method.

However, I do really wish that the government could make K1 and K2 education compulsory. Yes, compulsory for all to attend school, but not necessarily schools that are run by the government. My impression could be wrong, but seems that some PCFs are teaching their children beyond the K1 and K2 levels. Not all children are suited for such an academically driven program. If regulation means a standardized syllabus, then we will see the same argument that we have today on the primary school education shifting to the preschool education. And we can argue till the cows come home and still not reach any consensus.


Wish that preschool and Kindergarten education are fully subsidize, or at least remove school fees based on working, non-working mothers for Singaporeans and make it same for all? :shrug:

Oppsgal
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 1776
Joined: Fri May 01, 2009 4:24 pm
Total Likes: 1


Re: Should Preschool Education Be Regulated?

Postby DesertWind » Sun Jul 22, 2012 9:39 pm

For some reasons, I tend to think the kindergartens, who are under the MOE, are much more well-regulated compared to those child-care centres, administered by the MCYS.

For one, I think kindergartens fees seem much more reasonable compared to the child care centres. Secondly, due to the nature of the kindergartens ie. only about 3 or 4 hours per session, the time-table seems a lot better structured and well-planned.

The child-care centres seems a lot more "free & easy". No uniform standards in terms of fees or cirriculum. The only strict regulation they follow seems to be enforced by the MOH on those health checks on kids. As the recent uproar over the pre-school fees shows, not regulated enough.

DesertWind
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 1908
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2010 2:24 pm
Total Likes: 1


Re: Should Preschool Education Be Regulated?

Postby ChiefKiasu » Sun Jul 22, 2012 9:57 pm

Busymom wrote:None of the 5 options best describe what I feel, so which one do I choose? :scratchhead:

I am not for a one-size-fits-all preschool education. I believe parents should have choices with respect to the kind of preschool education best suited to the needs of their children. Some children learn best through play, others may need more structure, and yet others blossom under the Montessori method.

However, I do really wish that the government could make K1 and K2 education compulsory. Yes, compulsory for all to attend school, but not necessarily schools that are run by the government. My impression could be wrong, but seems that some PCFs are teaching their children beyond the K1 and K2 levels. Not all children are suited for such an academically driven program. If regulation means a standardized syllabus, then we will see the same argument that we have today on the primary school education shifting to the preschool education. And we can argue till the cows come home and still not reach any consensus.


It will be very difficult to make K1/2 compulsory and still allow independent operators to run the programs without a "common" standard. The moment the government mandate that all preschool children must attend kindergarten, it must provide the necessary resources to create an equitable environment for all preschoolers. This will mean standardised syllabus for all kids.

ChiefKiasu
Site Admin
 
Posts: 15277
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 9:16 am
Location: Singapore
Total Likes: 320



Re: Should Preschool Education Be Regulated?

Postby laughingcat » Sun Jul 22, 2012 10:04 pm

DesertWind wrote:For some reasons, I tend to think the kindergartens, who are under the MOE, are much more well-regulated compared to those child-care centres, administered by the MCYS.



This one I can't agreed with you. My DS used to attend a well known kindy and the curriculum really sucks as compared to the current CC that he is attending. No offense yeah :salute: I merely pointing out my experiences.

DesertWind wrote:The child-care centres seems a lot more "free & easy". No uniform standards in terms of fees or cirriculum. The only strict regulation they follow seems to be enforced by the MOH on those health checks on kids. As the recent uproar over the pre-school fees shows, not regulated enough.


This one I totally agreed. My DC's CC increased the fees 3 times over the span of 6 months! :stompfeet:

laughingcat
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 1451
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 2:01 am
Total Likes: 7


Re: Should Preschool Education Be Regulated?

Postby laughingcat » Sun Jul 22, 2012 10:14 pm

I have a different takes in this. I quite agreed with Busymom that there is no one-size-fits-all preschool education.

I personally hope that K1 and K2 are not made compulsory. I can home-schooled my children just fine and I want my children to play more before going to Primary Schools which is already stressful enough. And especially so with childhood years being so short.

So pls do not make K1 and K2 a compulsory education. :nailbite: :pray:

laughingcat
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 1451
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 2:01 am
Total Likes: 7


Re: Should Preschool Education Be Regulated?

Postby Oppsgal » Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:29 am

If make kindergarten education compulsory, hope they subsidies fully... if not, the fees keep increasing, who can afford?

For me, I find that the preschool education very slow. My kid only taught up to number 10. Boring!

Malaysia's preschool education much faster in terms that they taught 3 languages, though also same numbers? Here, ask school for additional language, said not in their syllabus. :gloomy:

I do not know how to teach the third language, so don't know how :? :shrug:

Oppsgal
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 1776
Joined: Fri May 01, 2009 4:24 pm
Total Likes: 1


Re: Should Preschool Education Be Regulated?

Postby Busymom » Mon Jul 23, 2012 3:51 pm

ChiefKiasu wrote:
Busymom wrote:None of the 5 options best describe what I feel, so which one do I choose? :scratchhead:

I am not for a one-size-fits-all preschool education. I believe parents should have choices with respect to the kind of preschool education best suited to the needs of their children. Some children learn best through play, others may need more structure, and yet others blossom under the Montessori method.

However, I do really wish that the government could make K1 and K2 education compulsory. Yes, compulsory for all to attend school, but not necessarily schools that are run by the government. My impression could be wrong, but seems that some PCFs are teaching their children beyond the K1 and K2 levels. Not all children are suited for such an academically driven program. If regulation means a standardized syllabus, then we will see the same argument that we have today on the primary school education shifting to the preschool education. And we can argue till the cows come home and still not reach any consensus.


It will be very difficult to make K1/2 compulsory and still allow independent operators to run the programs without a "common" standard. The moment the government mandate that all preschool children must attend kindergarten, it must provide the necessary resources to create an equitable environment for all preschoolers. This will mean standardised syllabus for all kids.


But why not?

Those who want choices and don't mind paying more can go for private operators, while those who are happy with PCFs can do so and use the money saved to go for selected enrichments. Better than having some children fall through the cracks and miss preschool altogether.

How different is this from what we have today?

Ok, I think I am going to get flamed.. :duck:

Busymom
Councillor
Councillor
 
Posts: 7294
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2009 6:56 pm
Total Likes: 26


Re: Should Preschool Education Be Regulated?

Postby BeContented » Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:21 pm

Busymom wrote:
ChiefKiasu wrote:
It will be very difficult to make K1/2 compulsory and still allow independent operators to run the programs without a "common" standard. The moment the government mandate that all preschool children must attend kindergarten, it must provide the necessary resources to create an equitable environment for all preschoolers. This will mean standardised syllabus for all kids.


But why not?

Those who want choices and don't mind paying more can go for private operators, while those who are happy with PCFs can do so and use the money saved to go for selected enrichments. Better than having some children fall through the cracks and miss preschool altogether.

How different is this from what we have today?

Ok, I think I am going to get flamed.. :duck:


Different. It will be called 'mandatory Pre-school at K1/K2' & regulated.
:evil:
Wait, will it evolve to become 'all preschools are EQUALLY good'?

BeContented
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 3670
Joined: Thu Nov 18, 2010 10:25 am
Total Likes: 84


Next

Return to Recess Time