Channel NewsAsia

Don't 'play-play' with early childhood education: MP Lim Wee Kiak

Those who aspire to be in early childhood education must be given the same recognition as education officers in our primary and secondary schools, suggests MP Lim Wee Kiak.

SINGAPORE: The Government should take a more hands-on approach in early childhood education, said Member of Parliament for Nee Soon GRC, Dr Lim Wee Kiak, on Thursday (May 29).

Weighing in on the debate over the President's address, he said the Early Childhood Development Agency - set up last year - is making efforts to improve standards.

"This is good. But, in my view good is not enough," he said.

Dr Lim said a Parliamentary Secretary, if not a Minister of State, should be devoted full-time to look into policies, curriculum and standards in this sphere, and even into issues relating to children's health.

"It should not be left to an agency where the MOE and Ministry of Social and Family (MSF) have oversight on its operations. On matters relating to the elderly and ageing we have a Minister to handle the portfolio. I feel for pre-school and young children it should also be given similar priority," he said.

Planning and building bigger and better pre-school facilities is another area of concern, he highlighted.

Said Dr Lim: "Instead of building childcare and kindergartens at void decks and other opportunistic spaces available which are usually limited in size, can we change our current paradigm and consider building bigger preschool and childcare that have better facilities and bigger capacity similar to the the primary schools? There will be economy of scale in terms of operations. More facilities can be built, including child gyms, music facilities and art rooms that can further enhance our pre-school education.”

He also stressed that it is important to make pre-school education an attractive career option for young Singaporeans, as "it is time to sculpt a new and accurate image for pre-school educators".

Those who aspire to be in early childhood education must be given the same recognition as normal education officers in our primary and secondary schools as early childhood education is not a "play-play thing", he said.

Dr Lim also asked to "review and double all penalties including fines and demerit points to motorists who commit traffic offences within the school zone".

He said the current additional demerit point to be given to errant motorists, who commit any traffic offences that already attract demerit points, may not be a sufficient deterrent to offenders.

Tweet Photos, Videos and Update on this Story to  #cna