The Gist: Preventing abuse in pre-schools and meeting demand for HDB flats

10 months ago 105

SINGAPORE - MPs discussed ways to strengthen the system to prevent child abuse in pre-schools, and ways to meet the strong demand for public housing from segments such as singles and the elderly.

The key takeaways:

ECDA to relook investigation processes, penalties

The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) plans to strengthen investigation protocols and possibly enhance financial penalties on errant operators, to strengthen its system of preventing child abuse in pre-schools.

The agency will also work with the National Institute of Early Childhood Development and training providers to ensure all educators know what constitutes inappropriate and prohibited methods of child management, and better equip them to call out bad practices.

Minister of State for Social and Family Development Sun Xueling, announcing the moves in Parliament, said any operator’s policy on the use of mobile phones should not hinder their staff from reporting any wrongdoing.

Why it matters:

The review of ECDA’s regulatory framework for pre-school operators comes after a case of abuse came to light at the Kinderland Woodlands Mart pre-school. A teacher exposed the abuse, having filmed videos of another teacher forcing children to drink water among other things.

Minister of State for Social and Family Development Sun Xueling said there are about 10 cases of child mismanagement each year per 100,000 enrolled children, and though this figure has remained low in recent years, each case is one too many.

Notably, by training teachers to recognise abuse and endorsing the use of mobile phones to capture evidence, the authorities are sending a strong signal to operators and teachers that educators have a responsibility to whistleblow.

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