Ladies and gentlemen
A very good afternoon to all of you. Let me first welcome our scholarship and training award recipients, parents and family members, anchor operators and training institutions for joining us in the third ECDA Scholarships and Awards Presentation Ceremony.
Today is a very proud moment for all 61 recipients of the ECDA Scholarships and Training Awards. We are here to celebrate your achievements, as you develop your potential in an area you are passionate about. Each and every one of you will contribute to the talent pool in the early childhood profession.
Centre leaders, teachers and educarers play an important role in the holistic development of our young children and giving them a solid foundation in life. Developing early childhood professionals is a top priority for us, to support a fast growing early childhood sector. Over the past few years, we have made significant efforts to support our early childhood professionals, at every stage of their career.
Let me recap a few examples: In 2013, ECDA introduced training awards and scholarships for both new entrants and in-service educators. Most recently, we launched a place-and-train programme, so that aspiring educarers can earn a salary and pursue their studies at the same time. In November 2013, we launched the Continuing Professional Development Masterplan, where every educator was encouraged to undertake at least 20 hours of professional development per year. ECDA has provided more than 50 courses this year, almost double the number from 2014. As of today, over 12,000 training places have been taken up through the various professional development platforms introduced by ECDA.
Just last month, at ECDA's Early Childhood Conference, I announced the introduction of a Professional Development Programme, where ECDA will support experienced educators through a structured programme to help them prepare for larger job roles. Later this year, ECDA will launch One@ECDA, a portal which will provide individual accounts to support early childhood educators in their professional development.
We will continue to invest in initiatives to attract, develop, retain and recognise early childhood professionals. And to enable them to have good career opportunities, and to fulfil their aspirations.
One such example is Ms Nancy Ong, who is awarded the ECDA Scholarship this year to pursue the Master of Education in Early Childhood at National Institute of Education (NIE). Nancy is a dedicated early childhood educator who has been in the sector for 22 years. Nancy’s passion to upgrade her skills has led her to a life-long learning journey. She started off with her basic course in early childhood, followed by an intermediate and advanced course, then the Diploma, Degree and now the Master programme.
Nancy was also awarded the MSF Scholarship in 2009 for the Bachelor of Education in Early Childhood at SEED Institute. The knowledge and skills Nancy gained over the years has put her in a good position to mentor and motivate the next generation of early childhood educators.
Mr Lim Wei An is a proud recipient of the ECDA Training Award for the Higher NITEC in Early Childhood Education at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE). He was inspired to follow in his sister’s footsteps to be an early childhood educator, and now hopes to be an inspiration to other men to do the same.
Despite personal challenges of juggling between studies and caregiving commitments, Wei An was selected to be in the Director’s List for top 10% for academic performance. He has since graduated from ITE and is currently pursuing the Diploma in Early Childhood Education at Ngee Ann Polytechnic under the ECDA Training Award.
I hope that, like Nancy and Wei An, all of you will continue to pass on the torch and inspire more people to join the early childhood sector. As you embark on this remarkable journey to create a good start for every child, continue to learn, give your best and put the interests of the children at the heart of all you do.
To the family members, training institutions and employers here, thank you for your unwavering support and guidance as you walk this journey together with our recipients.
To the scholarship and training award recipients, congratulations again on your achievements. I wish all of you a fruitful and rewarding career in the early childhood sector.