GOVERNMENT INVESTING $30 MILLION OVER THE NEXT 3 YEARS ON MANPOWER EFFORTS IN EARLY CHILDHOOD SECTOR
The Acting Minister for Social and Family Development, Mr Chan Chun Sing, outlined the Government’s plan to enhance scholarships and training awards for the Early Childhood sector today. The changes will provide more support for new and existing early childhood educators and help operators better attract, develop and retain their staff. In total, the government will invest about $30 million over the next three years on these efforts.
ECDA Training Award for Full-Time Diploma Students
As part of this effort, a new ECDA Training Award was launched for full-time Polytechnic students taking up the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Diploma at Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic. The Training Award will replace the existing MSF full-time diploma scholarship scheme.
Besides continuing to provide full course fee support, the new award will have the following enhancements (see Annex A for details):
a) Increase in the monthly study allowance from $300 to $800;
b) Introduction of funding support of up to $1,000 per annum for professional development, and;
c) Flexibility to apply for the Training Award at the start of or partway through the Diploma programme.
Students who receive training award will serve a one year bond in the sector for each year of funding support. Interested students may access ECDA’s website (www.ecda.gov.sg) to apply for the Training Award from today.
Teaching Awards for In-Service Educators
For in-service educators, existing MOE and MSF scholarships and teaching awards for degree/masters programmes and part-time diplomas will be harmonised under ECDA. This will provide more opportunities and greater flexibility for educators across both child care centres and kindergartens to participate in professional upgrading. The key changes will be to:
a) Widen flexibility for sponsorship recipients to serve their bond in the Early Childhood sector as a whole, rather than only in child care centres or kindergartens.
b) Expand eligibility to educators from all registered kindergartens.
The new scholarships and teaching awards will take effect in January 2014. ECDA will be releasing further details over the next few months.
 MOE scholarships and training awards for the kindergarten sector are currently restricted to non-profit kindergartens only.
ECDA Training Award (Polytechnic)
The ECDA Training Award (Polytechnic) is a new award for students undergoing the full-time Early Childhood Education (ECE) diploma courses at either Ngee Ann Polytechnic or Temasek Polytechnic.
A summary of the support offered under the ECDA Training Award is below:
|ECDA Training Award (NEW)
||Full Course Sponsorship at $7,000
|Learning Resource Grant
||One-off grant of $1,050 for study-related expenses
Funding for Professional Development
Up to $1,000/year
For related supplementary courses supported by the Polytechnics (e.g. Art, Speech & Drama, Special Needs, etc)
||1 year bond to the Early Childhood sector for each year of support
|Total value of award (for 3 year course)
ECDA will facilitate the placement of Training Award holders to centres in the Early Childhood sector. All operators are eligible to hire Training Award holders if they provide them proper induction and mentoring support, and pay starting salaries that are commensurate with market norms. ECDA will co-fund 90% of the total award quantum, with the operator co-funding the remaining 10%.
In addition, when placing Training Award holders to centres, ECDA will set aside more Training Award holders for operators who provide quality and affordable services, or have a social mission. For these operators, ECDA will co-fund 95% of the total award quantum, with the operator co-funding the remaining 5%.
 Relative to the median starting salary of Polytechnic diploma graduates.
 Such operators would include Anchor Operators, Voluntary Welfare Organisations, and other eligible non-AOPs (ECDA will release details on the eligibility criteria for other non-AOPs subsequently).