New partnership between PAP Community Foundation and Temasek Foundation, facilitated by UPLIFT, to top up the Child Development Accounts of 8,500 PCF Sparkletots children
PAP Community Foundation (PCF) and Temasek Foundation have launched the Temasek Foundation First Step programme, a Child Development Account (CDA) top-up programme which will benefit approximately 8,500 PCF Sparkletots children over three years. This new programme aims to provide financial support for lower-income families in order to reduce the barriers to preschool enrolment and support sustained enrolment. It is facilitated by Uplifting Pupils in Life and Inspiring Families Taskforce (UPLIFT), an inter-agency taskforce led by the Ministry of Education and set up in 2018 to strengthen support for students from disadvantaged families. Over the course of the three years, Temasek Foundation will be contributing $3.38 million to fund the programme.
From 6 May 2021, every eligible Infant Care to Nursery 2 child from lower-income families enrolled in PCF Sparkletots will receive a top-up of $200 per year for two years. With the Government’s dollar-for-dollar matching contributions for the top-ups, each child’s CDA will receive up to $800 in total1. Families with household income of $4,500 and below, or per capita income of $1,125 and below, will be eligible to benefit from the top-up. These additional funds in the CDA can be used by parents or guardians to meet the educational and healthcare needs of their children who are enrolled in PCF Sparkletots.
In tandem with the launch of Temasek Foundation First Step programme, PCF will also be conducting virtual briefing sessions with community partners and Social Service Agencies (SSAs)2 to share information on the importance of early childhood education as well as the various financial support available for lower-income families. This will help these organisations, who are at the frontline of providing care and services to vulnerable families, encourage more lower-income families to enrol their children in preschool.
Second Minister for Education, Dr Maliki Osman, who was the Guest-of-Honour at the launch event of the programme shared: “I am heartened by the timely partnership between PCF and Temasek Foundation, which seeks to enhance access to quality preschool education by helping parents defray preschool costs. We welcome efforts by PCF and Temasek Foundation to raise awareness on the importance of early childhood education. Through UPLIFT, MOE will continue to encourage more like-minded community partners and corporates to step forward so that we can better nurture our future generations through education.”
Deputy Chairman of Temasek Foundation, Mr Richard Magnus, said: “Nothing warms the hearts of parents more than seeing their children grow up discovering the joys of learning and achieving their goals in life. And for their sake, we need to start them on their path from their early years, which are formative to their cognitive and social development. Children who do not attend preschool do not have an equal head start as their peers by the time they enter Primary 1 and this gap may widen further as they move through the education system. The programme will help optimise the development of children from lower-income families, as well as provide additional support for families who may experience financial difficulties arising from the pandemic.”
PCF’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Victor Bay, said: “As a preschool operator at the forefront of early childhood education, PCF is committed to ensuring that quality and robust preschool education is accessible for every child. The early years is a period of critical importance for a child’s development, which will also form the foundation for future learning and growth. Children who do not attend preschool may take longer to catch up with their peers in cognitive and social development by the time they enter primary school. We recognise this gap and hope that the launch of this CDA top-up programme with Temasek Foundation will encourage more parents from lower-income families to send their children to preschool or attend preschool more regularly. For the programme to be truly holistic and inclusive, we look forward to partnering closely with our network of community partners and social service agencies to render better support to these families.”
1 The Government’s dollar-for-dollar matching contributions for the top-ups will be up to the child’s eligible contribution cap. The dollar-for-dollar matching caps are (i) 1st child – up to $3,000, (ii) 2nd child – up to $6,000 (an enhancement, applicable only for births on or after 1 Jan 2021), (iii) 3rd & 4th child – up to $9,000 each and (iv) 5th child and above – up to $15,000 each.
2 The SSAs include AWWA, Care Corner, Fei Yue Community Services and Thye Hua Kwan Moral Charities.