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Singapore Government

Impact of pre-school teachers on recruitment and centre operations

Impact of pre-school teachers on recruitment and centre operations

Dr Lim Wee Kiak 
MP for Sembawang GRC 

To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development

a) what is the current status of the shortage of pre-school teachers; 

b) what efforts are being taken to attract more applicants to join the profession; and 

c) how has the shortage affected the operations of childcare centres.


Madam Speaker, there are around 15,000 early childhood educators today. Besides teachers, they include centre supervisors and infant educarers. The number has increased by over 1,000 in the past two years.

At the national level, most operators have sufficient manpower to run their centres. However, with the rapid expansion of pre-school capacity and the tight labour market, more employers have told Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) that they found it more challenging to fill staff vacancies. Hence, over the next two to three years, ECDA projects the sector manpower to have to grow by another 1,500 in order to meet the needs for child care.

ECDA has, therefore, implemented various initiatives to attract and retain early childhood educators. First, it has expanded intakes for pre-service training courses, such as those at our Polytechnics.  It is also providing more support to students through training awards and enhanced internships.

Second, ECDA has many more opportunities, through professional conversion programmes for mid-career entrants to join the sector. Mid-career entrants can work, receive a salary and also attain their professional qualifications at the same time. The response on this front has been encouraging.

Third, ECDA is doing more to retain in-service educators through better skills and career development opportunities. Last year, for example, ECDA launched the Professional Development Programme to equip educators with competencies needed for larger job roles. More recently, ECDA launched the SkillsFuture Study Awards for the early childhood sector to support aspiring centre leaders.

While we have made some progress with these initiatives, the manpower situation for this sector will remain tight. ECDA will continue to work closely with employers in the sector to attract and retain early childhood educators.

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