By Leow Si Wan
PARENTS will soon have a one-stop centre on the Internet for queries on their kids' kindergarten education.
To be launched in October, the website will help parents in several areas - from looking for kindergartens near their homes to details about fees - as well as carry relevant Government announcements on education.
It will also allow parents to compare and contrast kindergartens and see some of the subjects which are being taught.
The website will be available through Kindergarten Link (K-Link), developed to support data management in kindergartens and allow for more effective communication between them and the Education Ministry (MOE).
At the launch of K-Link at the annual MOE Kindergarten Conference at Singapore Polytechnic yesterday, Senior Minister of State for National Development and Education Grace Fu said: 'Every good kindergarten needs to be supported by an effective administration system... The K-Link system provides kindergartens with an array of tools... to enhance their administrative efficiency.'
The system, available in four months' time to the estimated 500 kindergartens here, aims to enable preschools to manage teacher and pupil data, apply to appoint principals, directly register teachers for training and share best practices, among other resources.
The up-to-date information provided by the kindergartens through K-Link can also help when policies for the sector are being reviewed, said Ms Fu.
For instance, pupil data can help MOE identify children who are not in preschool, allowing for 'timely corrective action', she said.
Mr Lim Ee Tuo, the senior head of MOE's preschool education branch, said: 'The percentage of such children is about 2.1 per cent this year. With K-Link, we hope to bring the figure to below 2 per cent.' The figure was 5 per cent four years ago.
Meanwhile, kindergarten operators - who will be trained over the next two months - are excited about the development.
Said PAP Community Foundation kindergarten Punggol South principal Png Kim Yang: 'I am looking forward to a better user interface. The portal we use now to register teachers for training is quite inflexible, so hopefully K-Link will be more user-friendly.'
St James' Church Kindergarten principal Jacqueline Chung said: 'I have tried out some of the tools available in K-Link, and I think the whole idea is to save us time in administrative processes.'
Parents, such as IT professional Joel Ong, 38, said the website will allow for easier comparison.
The father of a three-year-old boy added: 'It will be good for a forum page to be on the website so parents can provide feedback about different kindergartens.'