10 September 2018
Mr Ang Hin Kee
MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC
To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development in light of more MOE Kindergartens (MKs) being set up (a) how will the transition of early childhood educators from other kindergartens and childcare centres be managed to ensure a seamless shift to the new work environment or employer; (b) whether there have been many enquiries and applications from existing educators to join the MKs; and (c) whether there is re-skilling required for affected teaching staff whose kindergartens are impacted by the emergence of MKs and who have not been successful in transiting to the MK environment or employment.
1. With more dual-income families and working grandparents, as well as growing awareness of the importance of early childhood development, there has been a rising demand for preschool services in Singapore. To meet this demand, over 30 per cent more or 40,000 new preschool places will be provided by 2023.
2. The expansion of MOE Kindergartens, which cater to children aged five to six, is only one part of this effort to provide for more affordable and quality early childhood services. Selected MOE Kindergartens partner with Anchor Operators, which run Early Years Centres catering to children aged four and below. The sector remains open to other operators, who continue to play an important role in meeting the demand for preschool services and the different needs of parents and children.
3. In this context, the demand for early childhood educators for the entire sector, and not just the MOE Kindergartens, will continue to grow. For this reason, the Early Childhood Diploma intake at polytechnics has almost doubled from 380 places in 2015 to 727 places in 2017. The Early Childhood Development Agency (or ECDA) will work with the new National Institute of Early Childhood Development to ensure a sufficient pipeline of qualified early childhood educators for the entire sector.
4. ECDA requires the same professional qualifications for early childhood educators, regardless of the preschool they work in. Hence, existing early childhood educators who have taken up employment at the MOE kindergartens would have similar skillsets needed to succeed in their new environment. To supplement their professional training, operators generally have their own on-boarding and induction programmes for new staff to smoothen the transition for them into the workplace. In the case of MOE Kindergartens, headquarter and centre-level induction programmes have helped incoming MOE Kindergarten teachers adjust well to their new working environment.
5. Given the growth and transformation of the sector, Early Childhood educators today have a wide array of options for their career development. We will continue to encourage all early childhood educators to deepen their competencies through continuing development opportunities and milestone programmes for the sector. This not only helps them to keep current with professional requirements and developments in the early childhood field, but also enhances their chances to teach in the centres of their choice. Overall, the quality of the sector will rise.