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I am a Practitioner of 'The 7e Way of Leaders' where a Leader will Envision, Enable (ASK for TOP D), Empower, Execute, Energize, and Evolve grounded on ETHICS!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Daily Lessons from Life 05 January 2016 - Waiting lists for infant care despite supply exceeding demand

"Waiting lists for infant care despite supply exceeding demand - CNA 5 Jan 2016

SINGAPORE: The supply of infant care places in Singapore exceeds demand, with only about 3,900 out of 6,300 places taken up, according to a spokesperson from the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA).

However, major childcare operator PAP Community Foundation (PCF) said that the waiting list can be "quite substantial" at centres in non-mature estates like Sengkang and Punggol. PCF offers about 1,800 infant care places at 109 centres.

It added that its main challenge is the availability of qualified staff. The PAP Community Foundation also said regulatory agencies could consider on-the-job training for ideal candidates, such as stay-at-home mothers and seniors.

Member of Parliament Tin Pei Ling said it is important to ensure that infant care places are located close to young couples who require such services.

"Young mothers are concerned about the availability and accessibility of these care services that are available to them. So I think beyond the monetary subsidy for the fees involved, it is really about whether we can have enough infant care places that would be near to these young couples,” she said.

In response to media queries, ECDA said it works with the pre-school anchor operators to increase the supply of places in areas of high demand.

It said it has also implemented measures to keep fees affordable, as well as to raise quality.

ECDA said lower- and middle-income families can qualify for additional infant care subsidies – as much as S$540 per month – on top of the S$600 basic infant care subsidy for working mothers."

Strange that Supply is BIGGER than Demand!

Lessons for me are:

1. such business is 'seasonal' UNLESS there are continuous stream of babies and kids year after year. Otherwise, if it is has to be 'location-based', then it is NOT a sustainable business to get into!;

2. if item 1 above is TRUE, then the Operators HAVE to be very nimble and make hays when the sun is out! i.e. to make as much business and MONEY as possible with quality services that meet or even exceed the expectations of the eager beaver parents!!;

3. IF somehow the country produces enough babies year after year and keep it going i.e. the worst case scenario of item 1 not happening, then it will be about how to plan so that the non-mature estates will get sufficient places that can match the demands. Since it is location bias, the interim measure maybe is to help those 'suppliers' who had LANDED in the 'wrong locations' to MOVE to the 'right locations where demands are outstripping supplies' with a lending hands in securing HDB void decks to convert to infant/child care centres!

As for qualified personnel, again, got to move them around and be creative to draw from the retirees living nearby. It is about CARE and not, hopefully drilling or preparing the kids for their FORMAL pre-school and primary education! So, retirees and stay-in-home mums CAN do a DECENT job of being an infant/child care professional! Yes?

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