New S $ 4 million grant to help preschools adopt digital solutions over the next 3 years
SINGAPORE: A $ 4 million AS grant was launched on Saturday, October 16 to help preschools lower the cost of adopting pre-approved digital solutions over the next three years.
Digital solutions include electronic payment and electronic registration systems, the use of data analytics to analyze and automate operations, as well as virtual training for preschool educators.
These are covered by a three-step digital industry plan, which lists solutions preschools can adopt at each stage of growth, the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) said in A press release.
“ECDA and IMDA have pre-approved solutions that will help preschools in their operations at various stages of digital readiness,” the agency said.
“These solutions are supported by certified vendors and have been designed to facilitate quick and easy adoption by preschools,” he added.
“In addition to the management of the nursery school, operators and educators can expect new solutions for electronic registration and data analysis for center operations from the beginning of November. Other pre-approved solutions will be added gradually.
Announcing the Early Childhood Digitization Grant, Social and Family Development Minister Masagos Zulkifli said: “Under the PDI (Digital Industry Plan), your preschools can find IT solutions that we approved. These can help them cut down on time spent on routine chores and even help them educate your parents more easily.
“Preschools can also look for new solutions to help them enroll children online and use data analysis to improve the way our preschools operate. ”
Operators can now submit their grant applications via the Business Grants Portal.
EXPANDED DEVELOPMENT, LEARNING SUPPORT
ECDA will also expand the development aid – learning aid program to more preschools. The program enables children who need low levels of early intervention support to access such services in their preschools.
The goal is for each preschool to appoint a member of its staff as an inclusion coordinator from the second semester of 2023. They will partner with early childhood educators to identify children with “potential developmental needs.” For early assessment, said ECDA.
They will also connect educators and parents with “relevant early intervention resources and services”.
Kindergartens can expect training for their inclusion coordinators from the end of this year, Mr. Masagos said.
“In addition to improving vocational training and the quality of preschools for the benefit of all children, we are making our preschools more inclusive and stepping up support for children with developmental needs,” said Mr. Masagos.
The program will cover 60% of preschoolers aged five to six by 2025, and 80% of them in the long term, ECDA said in its press release.
MSF will also pilot a new inclusive support program in selected preschools for children who need medium levels of early intervention support, and will release more details later, Masagos said.
For children from low-income families, annual supplements to the Child Development Accounts will be introduced as part of the Brighter Futures with KidSTART initiative.
Each KidSTART child will receive S $ 100 for each year of regular attendance until they turn six, an ECDA spokesperson said in response to media requests.
Children will also be entitled to an additional one-time supplement when they enroll in kindergarten, they said.
The one-time top-up will be higher – S $ 200 – if they register between three and four years, compared to S $ 100 for those who register over four years old, the spokesperson noted.
The government also recently announced an additional S $ 200 in the Child Development Accounts (CDA) of all Singaporean children aged six and under, Masagos said.
“It will benefit all families by helping to offset the costs of raising a child.” But we will go further. We will provide more support to families and children who register and participate regularly in preschool and KidSTART activities through annual add-ons from CDA.
This is to encourage families to enroll early and attend regularly, ECDA said.
A larger additional amount would be granted to families who enroll their children in kindergarten earlier, between three and four years old, he added.
The Brighter Futures with KidSTART initiative was launched in 2019 to increase community support for children from low-income families. It has raised S $ 4 million in cash donations and corporate and individual sponsorships, ECDA said.
“We also want to give every child the best possible chance to thrive in life. Regardless of their family background or resources, ”Mr. Masagos said.
“I hope that with these new measures, we can better support children with diverse needs in our preschools, so that every child can shine and reach their full potential.”