Update: TODAY has apologised for the mistake. It was $76 jumping to $96. That said, a fee hike of between 26% to 100% is still not "quite okay" to me.
This quote jumped right out at me:
"Parent Aileen Lee, 31, who would pay $96 from July instead of $20 now, said she was "quite okay" with the hike."
How anyone can be "quite okay" with that kind of kindergarten fee hike is beyond me. Maybe we've all gotten so numb by the inflation and price hikes that the only reaction we've left is "quite okay".
Sharp hike in kindergarten fees
Friday • April 25, 2008
Some 1,500 students attending the seven PAP Community Foundation (PCF) kindergartens in Woodlands will see their fees shoot up by 30 to 100 per cent from July.
Then, about 50-odd PCF branches will raise their fees when a freeze in effect since last July comes to an end.
The PCF, which has 84 branches, each with up to eight centres, told Today "65 per cent of the branches will be adjusting their fees because operating costs have increased".
A letter sent by the PCF Woodlands branch to notify the parents of its 250 students said that PCF branches in the Sembawang Group Representation Constituency (GRC) — which comprises Sembawang, Woodlands, Marsiling, Admiralty, Canberra and Chong Pang wards — "collectively submitted our applications for a standardised GRC fee structure for approval to PCF HQ".
Woodlands kindergartens in Blk 601 and Blk 875 will hike monthly fees from $50.90 to $110 per child because they will be air-conditioned. Air-conditioned kindergartens in blocks 899B, 652 and 824 will increase fees from $86.60 to $110, while non-air-conditioned ones in blocks 624B and 853 will hike theirs from $50.90 to $95.
Nurseries run by PCF Woodlands will also see a $20 to $30 monthly fee increase from July.
PCF Woodlands' letter attributed the hikes to, among other things, rising operational costs and the need to fund training programmes for staff to meet new Ministry of Education (MOE) requirements.
Last month, the MOE raised the bar for kindergarten teachers, who will need a teaching diploma in pre-school education, not just a certificate.
Last year, the PCF froze fees and absorbed the additional 2 per cent Goods and Services Tax from July to December.
Some parents from the Woodlands kindergartens had petitioned against the hike. But PCF Woodlands administrator Amy Chia said "after much consideration", they decided to proceed with the fee adjustment, since the Government Kindergarten Financial Assistance Scheme is available for low-income parents.
Parent Aileen Lee, 31, who would pay $96 from July instead of $20 now, said she was "quite okay" with the hike.
Meanwhile, fees look set to go up at other kindergartens and childcare centres — if they have not already done so.
A 35-year-old accountant, whose son was enrolled at The Experiential Learning Centre last year, got a "rude shock" when the childcare centre said subsidised fees will increase from $250 to $400 per month by the year end.
Ms Kate Tan, 32, who is self-employed, said within eight months of enrolling her five-year-old son in a kindergarten at Seng Kang Methodist Church last year, fees shot up by 20 per cent to over $500 per term.
A check with four other kindergartens showed Josiah Montessori had raised its fees last year, and Kidzone Kindergarten will do so in May. One school at Jurong East is considering a hike, while Zulfa Kindergarten and Sembawang Mart will stick to its $110 fee.
"PCF school fees are reasonable and affordable … We hope parents will understand," said PCF executive Sherlene Wong.