Opinion: Singapore's 'mega day care' centres will help the country's declining birth rate

By Kai U Cheang, Macau Anglican College

The system offers many advantages, such as allowing women to keep their jobs, and is a positive example for other Asian countries

By Kai U Cheang, Macau Anglican College |

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Singapore's approach of catering to working parents may be just the thing the country needs to raise its birth rate.

Many Asian countries are dealing with problems such as an ageing population and a declining birth rate. 

Singapore has taken a positive step towards tackling these issues by opening large child care centres that cater to working parents. There are plans to open five more such facilities in the city state by the end of this year, raising the total number of large child care centres to 14.

These centres will offer modern facilities and well-planned programmes. This is an attempt to raise Singapore’s birth rate and encourage parents to have more children, who can be safely looked after in day care centres. It seems full-day child care facilities will continue to be in big demand as both parents start working to earn more money for their family and enhance their living standards.

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This system offers many benefits. The biggest advantage is that women can leave their children in day care centres and fully focus on their jobs. This ensures that women don’t drop out of the workforce, which could have an adverse effect on the economy. Also, Singapore’s birth rate could increase as parents realise that there is ample support for their children. Undoubtedly, this imposes huge responsibilities on nurseries and kindergartens which play a crucial in a child’s early development.

Day care centres will also play a very important role in countries such as China, South Korea and Japan, where the fertility rate is very low.

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But are bigger child care centres always better? 

Day care appears to be an easy solution for busy, working parents. However, there could be problems with regular day care, especially since there have been several reports about child abuse and neglect. Singapore’s mega day care centres will have to prove their worth as demand for child services grows.

The Lion City could be doing the right thing, so maybe it is time for other countries to invest more in nursery education to ensure that children can grow up in a safe environment.