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New manpower plan unveiled to create more rewarding careers for early childhood educators

A new Early Childhood Manpower Plan was announced today by Minister for Social and Family Development, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, at the Early Childhood Conference 2016. An annual event organised by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA), the conference was attended by over 1,200 educators this year. 

The Early Childhood Manpower Plan is part of the national SkillsFuture movement and is a collaborative effort by ECDA, the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), as well as key sector partners represented on the Early Childhood Sectoral Tripartite Committee. It reflects inputs and suggestions from educators, employers and parents. With this plan, ECDA hopes to attract another 4,000 educators to join the sector by 2020, from around 16,000 today. 

Overall, the Early Childhood Manpower Plan envisions a sector that offers meaningful and rewarding careers for Singaporeans, and quality care and education for our children. To achieve this, it outlines three strategies to enable educators to have more opportunities to develop professionally, a more supportive working environment, and greater respect and recognition. This plan also builds on ongoing efforts to develop and support early childhood educators at every stage of their careers.

More opportunities to develop professionally

The Early Childhood Manpower Plan provides more opportunities for individuals to join and develop in their early childhood careers. In addition to existing initiatives to attract and develop early childhood professionals (See Annex B), new initiatives that were announced today include:

a. A new Skills Framework for Early Childhood Care and Education, which spells out enhanced career pathways as well as specific skills and competencies required for various job roles under the Educarer, Teacher and Leader tracks. It was developed in collaboration with the educators, employers, education and training institutions (which include UniSIM, three Polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education), union and associations in the early childhood sector. It will guide job seekers, educators and employers to plan skills and competency-based career development. ECDA and WDA will continue to work closely with employers to adopt the new Skills Framework in their HR frameworks and practices. Please refer to Annex C for details.

b. For mid-career entrants, early childhood educator training courses will now be made available in the Place-and-Train mode at all levels. Mid-career entrants can benefit from the WDA’s Professional Conversion Programmes (PCP) for Pre-school Teachers and Place-and-Train Programmes for Educarers, under the ADAPT and GROW initiative, to undergo training to attain competencies for a career in the Early Childhood profession while earning a salary.

To allow more opportunities for progression based on competencies gained rather than just academic qualifications, ECDA will recognize the prior learning and working experience of in-service educators who are keen to upgrade themselves through these training courses, and take on different educator job roles.

More supportive working environment

The Early Childhood Manpower Plan will also enable a more supportive working environment and more productive work processes for our educators. Presently, Association of Early Childhood and Training Services (ASSETS) is collaborating with ECDA and Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA) to identify smart solutions to aid pre-schools in their day-to-day processes and streamline administrative duties for educators. These solutions will leverage technology to assist in knowledge management or improve productivity on administrative tasks. Please refer to Annex D for details. In addition, WDA has appointed ASSETS as a multiplier to engage the rest of the sector in adopting innovative productivity solutions under the Lean Enterprise Development Scheme.

Greater respect and recognition

The Early Childhood Manpower Plan also aims to bring about greater respect for and recognition of our early childhood educators.

Early childhood educators play an important role in nurturing our youngest children, so as to enable them to have a good start in life. In recognition of their contributions, from 2017 onwards, ECDA will encourage and support all pre-schools to provide a day off for early childhood educators on Teacher’s Day. ECDA will provide an additional half a day of closure for child care centres, on top of the five-and-half days of closure allowed currently, of which one day will be used to celebrate Teachers’ Day. Please refer to Annex E for details.

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Annex A
Members of the Early Childhood Sectoral Tripartite Committee

S/N  Name / Designation / Organisation(s) 
 1 Mr Eugene Leong Chee Gin (Chairperson)
Chief Executive, ECDA
 2 Ms Julia Ng Lee Hoon (Deputy Chairperson)
Senior Director, Indsutry & Workforce Cluster, Enterprise Development Group, WDA
 
 3 Mr Ang Hin Kee
Executive Secretary, Education Services Union (ESU)
Assistant Secretary-General, NTUC
 4 Mr Victor Bay Swee Huat
CEO, PAP Community Foundation
Member, School Advisory Committee (School of Humanities and Social Sciences), Temasek Polytechnic
 5 Mr Chan Tee Seng
CEO, NTUC First Campus
Director, SEED Institute

 6 Dr Jane Ching-Kwan
CEO/Executive Director, KLC International Institute

 7 Dr Lucy Chew-Quek
Deputy Director (External Relations & CET), (School of Humanities and Social Sciences), Ngee Ann Polytechnic
Vice President of Association for Early Childhood Educators Singapore (Former)

 8 Mr Robert Leong
Director, Kinderland Educare Services Pte Ltd
Vice Chairman, ASSETS

 9 Mr Ben Lim Eng Kiat
Director (School of Humanities and Social Sciences), Temasek Polytechnic
 10 Mr Liu Earnler
Director, Pre-School Education, Ministry of Education, Education Services Division
 11 Ms Dorcas Tang Teo Hiang
Section Head (Early Childhood Education), Community Recreation & Services, ITE
 12 Ms Tan Beng Luan
Founder and Principal, Creative O Preschoolers’ Bay
ECDA Fellow

 13 Ms Jasmine Yeo
Vice-President, ESU and Cluster Quality Manager, NTUC First Campus


Annex B
Frequently Asked Questions
Existing Early Childhood Manpower Initiatives 

1. What are some existing initiatives that ECDA had developed over the past few years to support and recognize early childhood professionals at each stage of their careers?

For trainee teachers:

  • Support and professional growth opportunities through the ECDA Training Awards for full-time Early Childhood Care and Education students at the Polytechnics and ITE.
  • Enhanced internships for both full-time EC Polytechnic Diploma and ITE Higher Nitec Students by introducing more structured learning outcomes, mentoring and a longer duration to strengthen applied learning.
  • An Early Childhood Capability Grant has also been introduced to support enhanced internship host centres

For in-service professionals:

  • ECDA launched the SkillsFuture Study Award for Early Childhood Sector in January 2016 to support experienced EC educators to deepen their skills and prepare to take on larger job roles in the sector.
  • Introduced the Continuing Education and Training (CET) Modular Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education (from Oct 2015) for in-service upgraders, which recognises prior learning and competencies acquired on-the-job for course entry and reduction of total course hours.
  • Appointed early childhood professionals who display exemplary leadership and expertise as ECDA Fellows
  • Implemented the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Masterplan, including courses and support measures to help teachers upgrade their competencies.

For mid-career entrants:

  • The Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) for Pre-school Teachers is an accelerated training programme (12-13 months) under the Place-and-Train mode for career-switchers with tertiary qualifications.
  • Place-and-Train Programme for Educarers (educators who work with infants and/or young children aged between 2 months to 3 years). The programme is delivered over 5 to 10 months. Trainees benefit from the programme’s structured work-and-study model by spending a part of their working hours attending classroom training.

Annex C
Skills Framework for Early Childhood Cre and Education

1. What is the Skills Framework?
The Skills Framework is a SkillsFuture initiative developed for the Singapore workforce to promote skills mastery and lifelong learning.
Developed by the government together with the employers, unions, industry associations and professional bodies, the Skills Framework provides useful information on:

  • Sector and employment opportunities 
  • Career pathways
  • Occupations and job roles
  • Required existing and emerging skills
  • Training programmes for skills upgrading and mastery

2. What is the Skills Framework for Early Childhood Care and Education (“SF for ECCE”)?
The SF for ECCE is an integral part of the Early Childhood Manpower Plan (ECMP). The ECMP sets out the manpower and skills development strategy for the ECCE sector. It also includes various thrusts aimed at supporting job re-design and enhancing HR practices and working conditions for talent attraction and retention.

The SF for ECCE supports the ECMP by identifying emerging skills for job roles as well as articulating a skills-based career development and skills upgrading. It is the second Skills Framework to be launched and was developed by ECDA and WDA in collaboration with the educators, employers, education and training institutions (which include UniSIM, three Polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education), union and associations of the ECCE sector.

It provides up-to-date information about the ECCE sector and employment landscape, its career pathways comprising the Educarer, Teacher and Leader tracks, its 13 occupations, 210 existing and emerging skills and competencies, as well as relevant education and training programmes.

3. How will the SF for ECCE benefit the EC sector?

The SF for ECCE will guide job seekers, educators and operators/centre leaders to plan skills and competency-based career development, by referencing information on the ECCE sector and manpower landscape, occupations and skills, programmes and initiatives available within the framework.

Aspiring and existing educators can use the SF for ECCE to make informed choices about career development and skills upgrading. They can assess their career interests and pathways to embark on, prepare for the desired EC occupations, identify relevant programmes to acquire new skills, to upgrade existing ones or develop expertise. As educators acquire deeper level of competencies aligned to their desired occupations over time, the overall quality of the EC sector will be enhanced.

Operators and centre leaders can reference the SF for ECCE to strengthen HR practices and provide more career development opportunities for educators, thus attracting, developing and retaining good quality educators. They can use it to identify relevant skills and competencies required for their educators, and design/optimise job roles and organisation structure needed to support business needs.

On the training front, the SF for ECCE will help training providers improve their ECCE training programmes in meeting industry’s needs by strengthening their alignment to the skills and competencies identified in the SF. They will be able to develop relevant programmes, such as bite-size modularised courses, which could facilitate the recognition of prior learning and offer flexible mode of skills upgrading. They will also be able to readily identify the new and emerging skills, both occupational and essential, for which appropriate training could be provided to educators.

4. How does ECDA intend to implement the Skills Framework?
ECDA will work closely with the following key stakeholders to implement the Skills Framework:

  • For In-service EC Educators: ECDA will develop Professional Development resources to help educators plan and take ownership of their learning and career development, aligned to the ECCE career pathways and skills and competencies within the Skills Framework.
  • For Centre Leaders, HR Practitioners and HQ Staff: ECDA and WDA have organised workshops to guide centre leaders, HR practitioners and HQ staff to use the Skills Framework to enhance HR capabilities and PD practices.
  • For Education and Training Providers: ECDA and WDA have conducted a briefing for Approved Training Organisations (ATOs) accredited under the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) system to align their courses with the SF for ECCE. Support will be provided to education and training providers that wish to continue running their ECCE WSQ qualifications and ECDA-endorsed modular courses. ECDA and WDA will also be working with the local universities and Polytechnics to align their ECCE programmes to the SF for ECCE.

5. Why are Para-Educators/Para-Educarers and Assistant Teachers not included in the pathways?
The ECCE career pathways show possible development routes for ECDA-registered educators who have the required certificate or diploma-level qualification. All occupations within the pathways have clear and specific skills defined to ensure that all educators possess the relevant knowledge and skills to work with young children and progress in the sector.
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Para-Educators/Para-Educarers and Assistant Teachers are encouraged to go for skills upgrading to enable them to become ECDA-registered educators. They may explore relevant manpower initiatives which ECDA offers to support educators in every stage of their careers.

6. Is it mandatory for centres and organisations to adopt the Skills Framework?

Operators play a key role in the development and growth of their staff. ECDA and WDA would strongly encourage centres/organisations to adopt the SF for ECCE, within the contexts of their own organisation and to suit their organisational needs.

Alternate Entry Pathways to Early Childhood Training

7. How would EC educators benefit from the alternate upgrading pathways?
In-service educators who have demonstrated that they have the passion and relevant competencies will have the opportunity to realise their professional and career aspirations in the early childhood sector. They will now have the opportunity to embark on training courses to upgrade and develop themselves professionally, even if they have not attained certain academic qualifications.

8. How would employers benefit from the alternate upgrading pathways?
The alternate pathways will help employers in the retention and development of their early childhood staff. Well-trained educators will also allow employers to strengthen the quality of their programmes to better meet the needs of parents and children.

9. How will the alternate course entry pathways ensure that the quality of EC educators is upheld?
The alternate pathways will still have certain requirements for course entry, although it will recognise a broader set of criteria for course entry, such as competencies acquired from prior learning and work experience and good job performance. For instance, trainees may be required to go through interviews to demonstrate effective oral and written communication skills, obtain a strong recommendation from their centre and pass pre-requisite modules.

10. What are the available courses for enrolment via the alternate entry pathways?
The following Early Childhood teacher training programmes are open for enrolment via alternative entry pathways:

Programme  Training Provider 
 WSQ Advanced Certificate in Early Years (ACEY)  Piloted at SEED Institute and KLC International Institute from Apr 2017
 WSQ Advanced Certificate in Early Childhood Care and Education (ACECCE)  Piloted at SEED Institute and KLC International Institute from Apr 2017
 CET Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education (DECCE-T)  Currently offered at Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic

Interested applicants may enquire directly with the respective training providers.

11. What are the requirements for educators to embark on the EC training programmes via the alternate pathways?
For entry into the EC training programmes via the alternate pathways, candidates must be in-service teachers with relevant working experience and undergo an interview selection process. Selected candidates will also be required to pass pre-requisite modules before being granted full admission into the training programme. More details will be released at a later date.

Professional Conversion Programme and Place-and-Train Programme for EC Teacher Training Courses

12. What are the new Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) and Place-and-Train Programme for EC teacher training courses?
The Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) WSQ Professional Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education (WSQ PDECCE), and Place-and-Train WSQ Advanced Certificate in Early Childhood Care and Education (WSQ ACECCE) programmes will be offered from 1 Oct 2016 onwards.

These programmes will allow a trainee to be employed by an ECDA-licensed child care centre or ECDA-registered kindergarten while undergoing training to take on the knowledge and competencies required for their new job role.

The Place-and-Train and PCP programmes are open to all employer-sponsored applicants who are Singapore Citizens or Singapore Permanent Residents and newly-hired (no more than 6 months prior to programme commencement) by ECDA-licensed child care centres or ECDA-registered kindergartens. Applicants must also fulfil the minimum course entry requirements.

13. Where can mid-career candidates sign up for Early Childhood programmes that are offered in the Place-and-Train mode?
Mid-career candidates can undertake the following Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) and Place-and-Train programmes, at both the Diploma and Certificate level. These programmes are offered in the Place-and-Train mode and allow trainees to attain competencies for a career in the Early Childhood profession while earning a salary.

Programme   Training Institution
Diploma Programmes 
(NEW) WSQ Professional Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education (PDECCE) SEED Institute
KLC International Institute
Diploma (Conversion) in Kindergarten Education – Teaching (NVKET) Singapore Polytechnic
WSQ Professional Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education – Childcare (PDECCE-CC) SEED Institute
KLC International Institute
Certificate Programmes   
(NEW) WSQ Advanced Certificate in Early Childhood Care and Education (ACECCE) SEED Institute
KLC International Institute
WSQ Advanced Certificate in Early Years (ACEY) SEED Institute
KLC International Institute
WSQ Higher Certificate in Infant Care (HCIC) SEED Institute
KLC International Institute 


14. When do the new Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) and Place-and-Train programme commence, and where will they be offered?

Training Agency  SEED Institute  KLC International Institute 
Programme* WSQ PDECCE (EL) – for English Language Teachers WSQ PDECCE (CL) –
for Chinese Language Teachers
Minimum Course Entry Requirements 5 GCE ‘O’ level credits in different subjects including English 5 GCE ‘O’ level credits in different subjects including Mother Tongue
Commencement Date 22 Nov 2016 28 Nov 2016
Registration Deadline 4 Nov 2016 14 Nov 2016
*WSQ ACECCE programme will be available from Apr 2017 onwards.

CALL FOR SMART SOLUTIONS

15. What is the objective of the SMART Solutions initiative?
The objective of this SMART Solutions initiative is to enable preschools to move away from prevailing labour intensive work processes and to adopt innovative technology based solutions, so as to deliver productivity gains and address critical gaps in preschool administration and management matters within the early childhood industry.

16. What kind of benefits can preschools expect through adopting these solutions?
These solutions will improve the working conditions and productivity of pre-schools in day-to-day operations. They will help streamline administrative duties for educators, for example, collecting and maintaining student records, attendance and temperature taking, portfolio management, and communication with parents. Some solutions are showcased at the Early Childhood Conference 2016.
 

TEACHER’S DAY OFF

17. What is the objective for the day off on Teachers’ Day?
The objective of the sector-wide Teacher’s Day is to recognise the critical role played by early childhood educators in caring for and teaching our young.

18. Will parents be inconvenienced by the closure day on Teachers’ Day?
In our survey conducted earlier this year, parents of children in preschools strongly supported the suggestion to have such a closure day. Today, kindergartens and many child care centres already practice having a day-off on Teachers day, and this move will ensure that the sector as a whole celebrate and recognise the contributions of all our educators.

To reduce any inconvenience to parents, centres are advised to inform parents at the beginning of the year of their planned closure days, so that parents may make arrangements for alternative care during these days.

EARLY CHILDHOOD CONFERENCE 2016

19. What is the Early Childhood Conference?

The Early Childhood Conference (ECC) has been an annual signature event of ECDA since 2013. This year, it will be held at SUNTEC Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre on 30 September and 1 October 2016 (Friday & Saturday) from 9 a.m. to 5.15 p.m. The Conference provides a continuing professional development platform for early childhood professionals to learn and build networks with overseas and local experts and practitioners. It also provides a platform to recognise the outstanding early childhood professionals and centres. On the first day, ECDA will recognise outstanding educators and centres through the Singapore Pre-School Accreditation Framework (SPARK) Certificate Presentation Ceremony. On the second day, ECDA will announce the new initiatives for early childhood educators and celebrate the achievements of outstanding educators and recipients of the ECDA Awards 2016.

20. What can EC professionals expect from the 2-day conference?
EC professionals will be able to attend keynote and plenary presentations by overseas and local experts, hands-on workshops as well as learning journeys as part of ECC 2016. They will also be able to network with one another and gain insights in 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.

For enquiries, please email us at contact@ecda.gov.sg or at our hotline at 6735 9213.
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Published On Sat, Oct 1, 2016
Last Reviewed On Thu, Dec 8, 2016

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