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Singapore Government

New initiatives for aspiring early childhood educators

New initiatives for aspiring early childhood educators

ECDA introduces Training Award for university students and Commendation Award for outstanding Training Award recipients 

Two new initiatives for aspiring early childhood educators were announced today by Minister for Social and Family Development Mr Tan Chuan-Jin at the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) Scholarships and Awards Presentation Ceremony 2016. They are the ECDA Training Award for university students, and Commendation Award for outstanding Training Award recipients. 

These two new initiatives will complement the comprehensive suite of initiatives under the new Early Childhood Manpower Plan launched on 1 Oct 2016, and will support the next generation of early childhood professionals to have meaningful and rewarding careers in the early childhood sector. 

New ECDA Training Award (University) 

To attract passionate and committed individuals who are keen to pursue a degree course of study, ECDA will introduce a new ECDA Training Award (University). This will complement ECDA’s existing Training Awards for Polytechnic and Institute for Technical Education (ITE) students. Every Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident who successfully enrols in the full-time Bachelor of Early Childhood Education (with Minor) at SIM University (UniSIM) commencing in July 2017 will be invited to apply. 

As with the other ECDA Training Awards, the Training Award (University) includes full sponsorship of the direct honours programme, learning resource and professional development grants, and a monthly allowance. With each year of sponsorship, the student commits to work a corresponding year in the early childhood sector. 

“UniSIM is happy to collaborate with ECDA on the offer of the Training Award to our full-time degree programme students. This is a great boost in attracting more individuals to join the early childhood education profession and building a pipeline of talented educators for this critically important sector,” said Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, President of UniSIM. ​

New Commendation Award for outstanding Training Award recipients 

To recognize and celebrate the achievements of outstanding Training Award recipients for their good performance during their course of studies, ECDA will also introduce a new Commendation Award from 2017. The awardees will be specially selected for being excellent role models for their peers, performing consistently well in their studies, including during their internships and practicum, and displaying outstanding conduct, attitude, and leadership qualities. Their contributions to the sector during the course of their studies would also be recognised. 

Eligible students will be nominated by their respective educational institute and undergo an interview with ECDA. Commendation Awardees will each receive a certificate of commendation and a $1,000 cash prize. 

Record number of Training Awards taken up 

At the Scholarships and Award Presentation Ceremony 2016, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin also revealed that the ECDA Training Award was given to more than 300 students from ITE, Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic this year. This is about a four-fold increase from 81 awarded last year. 

“I am very happy to see the strong interest from students in pursuing a career as an early childhood educator. These training awards complement our recently launched Early Childhood Manpower Plan to enable educators to have more career progression opportunities, a supportive working environment, and greater respect and recognition. I am confident that our aspiring educators can look forward to meaningful and rewarding careers in this important sector,” said Mr Eugene Leong, Chief Executive of ECDA. 

The ceremony attended by more than 420 recipients and guests this year, is part of ECDA’s initiative to recognise outstanding and deserving early childhood educators and committed and passionate aspiring educators who have taken up ECDA Scholarships and Training Awards to fulfil their career aspirations in the sector.​ 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How are the ECDA Scholarships and Training Awards part of ECDA’s overall strategy to boost manpower supply and raise quality and professionalism of educators? Are they linked to the recent Early Childhood Manpower Plan announced at the Early Childhood Conference 2016? 

Under the Early Childhood Manpower Plan, ECDA has put in place a comprehensive suite of initiatives to attract, retain and develop quality educators, for better quality care and education for our children. 

Through the Training Awards, ECDA supports pre-service teachers who possess the right qualities and are passionate about working with children, to have a meaningful and rewarding career in the early childhood (EC) sector. The new Training Award (University) and Commendation Award will allow more deserving candidates to be eligible, including those pursuing university courses in early childhood, as well as recognise outstanding Training Awards recipients. 

Through the ECDA Scholarships, ECDA supports in-service teachers who wish to deepen their knowledge and competencies through further studies. 

Apart from the ECDA Scholarships, there are a range of options to deepen the competencies of in-service teachers and facilitate meaningful career progression, including Continuing Professional Development courses, the Professional Development Programme, and SkillsFuture Study Award for EC sector. 

New ECDA Training Award (University) 

2. Why is ECDA introducing a new Training Award for university students? Who qualifies for it? 

The Training Award is introduced to support passionate individuals who are committed to a career in the early childhood sector, and are keen to pursue a degree course of study. 

All Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident students who can demonstrate their ability and potential to contribute to the sector and successfully enrol into the new full-time Bachelor of Early Childhood Education (with Minor) at SIM University (UniSIM) commencing in July 2017 will be invited to apply.

Applications for admission into the July 2017 UniSIM intake will open in December 2016. ECDA is working closely with UniSIM to publicise the degree and the ECDA Training Award (University).

ECDA Scholarships are offered to outstanding and deserving early childhood professionals who wish to pursue a Bachelor or Master Degree in Early Childhood education on a part-time basis.

3. What funding support is ECDA offering for the Training Award for university students?

The Award, which is worth up to $75,000 per student, includes full course sponsorship, the Learning Resource and Professional Development grants and an $800 monthly allowance during the course of study. Each year of sponsorship comes with a corresponding year of service to the early childhood sector.

In addition, ECDA will work closely with UniSIM to engage Training Award recipients to better support them at key stages of their early childhood journey. These include newsletters and dialogues to keep them updated on developments in the early childhood landscape, a job emplacement programme and various engagement platforms to learn from experienced educators and experts on starting and sustaining well in the sector.

4. Does one need to have a degree to enter the early childhood sector, as a regulatory requirement by ECDA?

Early childhood educators are not required to have attained a degree to teach in the sector. All early childhood (EC) educators are currently required to obtain a Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education - Teaching (DECCE-T) in order to be registered as a teacher for children aged eighteen months to six years. For those teaching the younger ages (e.g. children from eighteen months to four years), they are required to minimally obtain an Advanced Certificate in Early Childhood Care and Education (ACECCE).

Commendation Award for outstanding Training Award recipients

5. What is the purpose of the Commendation Award, and what will recipients receive?

The Commendation Award aims to provide an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the achievements and successes of the Training Award (TA) Recipients, and in doing so encourage every individual to achieve their personal best.

It is a prestigious award given to TA recipients taking the full-time Higher NITEC, Diploma or Degree course in Early Childhood Education in their graduating year. Each commendation awardee will receive a certificate and a cash prize of $1,000.

The inaugural group of Awardees will be formally recognized at the ECDA Scholarships and Awards Appointment Ceremony 2017.

6. Who can qualify for the Commendation Award? How are the Awardees selected?

Awardees would be selected based on several factors, including their leadership abilities and potential to contribute to the sector.

There will be two rounds of selection for the Commendation Award. Students will be nominated by their respective lecturers at the Institutes of Higher Learning. Those who have been shortlisted will then undergo an interview assessment with ECDA.

7. How many awards will ECDA give out each year?

As this is a prestigious award accorded to outstanding and deserving TA recipients, ECDA will give the Commendation Award to not more than 10% of the graduating cohort of TA recipients.

ECDA Scholarships and Training Awards Ceremony 2016

8. Why does ECDA organise the ECDA Scholarships and Awards Presentation Ceremony?

The annual ECDA Scholarships and Awards Presentation Ceremony is part of ECDA’s efforts to recognize outstanding and deserving EC educators and committed and passionate aspiring educators who have taken up ECDA Scholarships/Teaching Awards (for Degree and Master programmes), Training Awards (for ITE and Polytechnic) and Sponsorships (for part-time diploma) to fulfil their career aspirations in the sector. The ceremony has been held annually since 2013.

9. Why was there a record number of Training Award recipients in 2016?

More students took up the Training Award (TA) due to the following reasons:

  • At Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic, since 2016, Training Awards are now offered to every Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident student who successfully enrols in the Early Childhood-related course; and passes the selection interview.
  • ECDA also worked more closely with the polytechnics and ITE raise awareness of and to nominate deserving students for the training awards.
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