Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivered the 2017 National Day Rally speech on Sunday, 20 August, highlighting a few key issues that concern young parents and those who are planning to start a family.
1. Increase in Pre-School Places
In the next 5 years, the government will be adding an additional 40,000 places in pre-schools. The total number of places will come up to about 200,000, and children aged 2 months to 4 years will be able to attend Early Years Centres which will be set up by anchor operators located in new HDB developments. These centres will partner with nearby Ministry of Education (MOE) kindergartens so that children will have a place reserved for them when reach five years old.
2. Higher Quality of Pre-School Education
At the K1, K2 level (5 & 6 years old), MOE will be raising the education standards. With another 50 MOE-run kindergartens in the next five years, there will be a new centralised training institute called the National Institute of Early Childhood Development, much like the National Institute of Education (NIE), set up to raise standards of pre-school teachers. it will consolidate existing training programmes currently run by two polytechnics, ITE and the SEED institute.
3. Health Check Ups at $5 & Reducing Sugar Intake
With PM Lee’s emphasis on health and reducing the rate of diabetes, parents needs to be aware of health as well, so that we can translate these good habits to our younger generations as well as be around to watch them grow up. From September, the Ministry of Health will offer health check-ups at S$5 (usual cost: $100) for Singaporeans above the age of 40 in an effort to encourage Singaporeans to go for regular health check-ups to manage the risk of diabetes. Said PM Lee, “It is precisely because you are not worried (about diabetes) that I am worried … It has become a serious problem.” Citing statistics, PM Lee said one in nine Singaporeans have diabetes. “As a first step, we have got the soft drink producers to agree to reduce the sugar in all their drinks sold in Singapore”, PM Lee mentioned.
PM Lee plans to make all of these improvements and more so that we keep “Every generation striving and building for the next; keeping our eyes on tomorrow and investing in our children; undaunted by challenges and disruptions, instead working together to overcome every obstacle, seize every opportunity and realise a bright future for all of us.”
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