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Singapore Government

New Initiatives to Enhance Skills and Career Development of Early Childhood Educators

New Initiatives to Enhance Skills and Career Development of Early Childhood Educators

Early childhood (EC) educators can look forward to two new Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) initiatives that will help them develop and progress in their careers.

First, ECDA will introduce a structured programme – the Professional Development Programme (PDP) – to help pre-school teachers develop themselves to take on larger job roles in their organisations. Teachers nominated by their employers and selected for the programme will deepen their knowledge and hone their competencies through a combination of modular courses, projects and continuing professional development offerings. These will take place over a 3-year period, while the teachers continue to work and earn an income. The teachers will receive cash awards after key programme and services milestones in recognition of the competencies attained and their achievements.

Nominations for the first batch of PDP participants will open from 1 October to 31 December 2015. Please refer to Annex A for details on the PDP. Similar programmes will be introduced for educarers and leaders in future.

Second, ECDA will introduce a new online platform – ONE@ECDA – at the end of 2015 to provide EC professionals with a convenient online account to chart and track their professional development. EC professionals will be able to receive updates on and sign up for training courses and other development opportunities. Pre-school operators and training providers will also stand to benefit from ONE@ECDA. Operators can make online applications for teacher registration, and nominate teachers for training courses. ONE@ECDA will help training providers streamline business processes through online course applications and the issuance of e-certificates to trainees who have completed their courses. More details are in Annex B.

The initiatives are the latest in ECDA’s ongoing effort to support and develop EC professionals at every stage of their careers. They are also in line with the national SkillsFuture movement.

Minister for Social and Family Development, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin announced the two new initiatives at the Early Childhood Conference and Carnival 2015 attended by 2,000 early childhood educators (details in Annex C). He said “Early childhood professionals play a key role in nurturing the next generation of Singaporeans. The two new initiatives are the latest in ECDA’s ongoing manpower development efforts. They will not be the last. We are committed to creating many more opportunities for early childhood professionals to upgrade their skills and progress in their careers so that they can in turn do their best for our children.”

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Annex A - PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME FOR TEACHERS (“PDP (TEACHERS)”)

1. The Professional Development Programme (PDP) is a structured 3-year upgrading programme to support the professional development of early childhood (EC) professionals. Details of the PDP(Teachers) are below:

Component
Description
Eligibility Criteria
 Nominees should meet the following requirements:
a) Have at least 3 years of relevant teaching experience in the early childhood sector
b) Be currently employed in a pre-school registered or licensed with ECDA
c) Be a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident
d) Be an ECDA-certified at L2
e) Be nominated by their current operator
f) Have met the relevant competencies and skills required 
Professional Development
PDP(Teacher) recipients will undertake 180 hours of professional development over 3 years, including the completion of the following:
a) One compulsory module in Year 1
b) At least one Modular Course in either Year 1, 2 or 3
c) At least one Project in either Year 1, 2 or 3
d) Fulfil the remaining hours via Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses
Cash Awards    PDP(Teacher) recipients will receive cash of up to $12,000 over the 3-year duration at programme milestones. Recipients must remain employed in their nominating organisation for at least six months after the end of each PDP year to qualify for these cash awards:
 Year 1: $3,000
 Year 2: $4,000
 Year 3: $5,000

2. Professional development under the PDP include:

a. Modular Courses. These are skills-based courses run by the Post-Secondary Education Institutes (PSEIs) and Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) such as Polytechnics and Universities. They are stackable components that contribute toward the attainment of a specialist diploma, advanced diploma or degree in Early Childhood Care and Education4.

b. Projects. These include Innovation Guidance projects, Practitioner Inquiry and Networked Learning Communities to support learning on-the-job.

c. CPD courses, as part of the CPD Masterplan.

3. The PDP is a partnership between operators, teachers and ECDA:

 Stakeholder  Description 
 Operator The PDP complements the operators’ HR development and training frameworks. Operators need to:
i. Identify teachers who have potential to take on larger job roles in the near to medium-term
ii. Commit to develop their nominated teachers through professional development opportunities
 EC Teacher PDP(Teacher) recipients need to:
i. Engage in professional development while balancing work commitments
ii. Complete programme milestones and remain with their nominating employer to receive cash awards at programme milestones over the 3-year duration of the programme
 ECDA ECDA, in collaboration with other government agencies, will provide support to:
i. EC educators through professional development and progression opportunities
ii. Operators through course subsidies and absentee payroll


Annex B - ONE@ECDA

ONE@ECDA is a new online system to support the recognition and deepening of professional skills of early childhood (EC) educators for stakeholders in the sector (see Table 1). ONE@ECDA will streamline processes and make it more convenient for educators, operators and training providers in the following areas:

a) Teacher registration;

b) Course sign-up; and

c) Tracking of training hours and professional development.

ONE@ECDA will be launched in at the end of 2015.

   Stakeholder Benefits of ONE@ECDA
EC Educators (i.e. principals, teachers, educarers)   Easy 24-hour online access to:
a) Sign up for courses including Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses run by training providers under the CPD Masterplan;
b) Access their professional profile such as their certification level; and
c) Receive updates from ECDA on announcements and resources. 
 2 Centres registered or licensed with ECDA to provide kindergarten or child care services More efficient business processes including::
a) One-time account set-up for each educator;
b) Online application for teacher registration; and
c) Easy tracking of educators’ professional development to support HR management and training frameworks.
 Training providers  More streamlined business processes for:
a) Online sign up for CPD courses;
b) Easy tracking of attendance and training hours; and
c) Issuance of e-certificates to educators who have completed their courses.

Annex C - EARLY CHILDHOOD CONFERENCE AND CARNIVAL 2015

The Early Childhood Conference & Carnival (ECCC) 2015, organised by ECDA, will be held at SUNTEC Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre on 25 and 26 September 2015 (Friday & Saturday) from 8.30am to 5.30pm. The conference is a key annual event for early childhood professionals to learn insights, best practices and research development on early childhood care and education, and build networks with overseas and local experts and practitioners. On the first day, ECDA will recognise outstanding educators and centres through the ECDA Awards and SPARK Certificate Presentation Ceremony. On the second day, ECDA will also celebrate the finale of its President’s Challenge Project – Start Small Dream Big (SSDB).

(A) Day 1 of ECCC on 25 September

Opening and ECDA Awards Ceremony
Minister for Social and Family Development, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, the Guest of Honour (GOH) for Day 1 of the ECCC, will open the conference and present 21 ECDA Awards across five categories. This includes awards for Outstanding Leader and Outstanding Centre for Teaching & Learning. 2,000 participants will be present for the ceremony.

SPARK Certificate Presentation Ceremony
Senior Minister of State for Law and Education, Ms Indranee Rajah, will grace the Singapore Pre-school Accreditation Framework (SPARK) Certificate Presentation Ceremony. 203 centres will receive their SPARK Certification. To date 59 centres have also been recognised with the new SPARK (Commendation) certification for their higher quality teaching and learning practices.

(B) Day 2 of ECCC 2015 on 26 September

Start Small Dream Big President’s Challenge Project Finale
“Start Small, Dream Big” is an initiative by ECDA that brings the EC sector together to celebrate SG50 and the 15th Anniversary of President’s Challenge. Over the past six months, more than 8,000 pre-school children over 150 centres have participated in in a variety of community service projects. President, Dr Tony Tan will grace the ceremony to mark the success of SSDB, together with Minister Tan Chuan-Jin, and more than 1,000 children and their parents. Children will share their journeys in playing their part to give back to the nation.

Plenary Sessions, Workshops and Exhibition
More than 1,500 EC professionals will attend 113 concurrent sessions and 12 learning journeys as part of ECCC 2015. They will also be able to network with one another and find out more gain insights from best practices in the sector. Award winning centres will showcase their programmes at the exhibition. Various government agencies and community partners will also share resources for educators and parents.

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