Be wary of scams or phishing attempts (e.g. fake website on MSF services). MSF will never ask you to send money, give us your credit card information, or One-Time Passwords (OTP). Learn more from our scam advisory. Stay vigilant and protect yourself against scams.

Have a question about MSF? Find quick answers with our chatbot Ask MSF or search for Frequently Asked Questions

MSF website will undergo scheduled maintenance on Saturday 25 May, 10pm to Sunday, 26 May, 6am. During this maintenance period, users may experience intermittent access issues when accessing the website. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Speech by Minister Masagos Zulkifli at the Early Intervention Conference “Deepening Intervention Practices in the Early Years” on 26 April 2024

Type: Official Speeches: Masagos Zulkifli, Official Speeches (All) All

Topic(s): Children & Families All

Conference co-chairs, 

Ms Becky Hoo, Director of SPD’s Children Services; and

Ms Low Hwee San, Chief of Thye Hua Kuan Early Intervention for Children Services,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. Good morning. I am pleased to join you at the Early Intervention Conference. Glad to see many Early Childhood and Early Intervention educators, allied healthcare professionals, and social workers coming together to connect and learn from one another. 

  1. Let me congratulate the 10 SSAs for organising this insightful conference.

Supporting families with children with developmental needs

  1. In Singapore, we are continually building a Singapore Made for Families. As a society, we want to support families, including families with children with developmental needs.

  1. Over the years, the Government has increased access and affordability of early intervention services. We are making good progress. Last year, ECDA worked with both Social Service Agencies and private operators to add 1,200 government-funded EI places. This included the opening of two new EIPIC centres.

  1. This year, we will go further. We are adding another 1,500 EI places to better support children requiring medium to high levels of support. This will be done through opening 3 new EIPIC centres and further maximising the capacity of existing EIPIC centres. By end-year, we expect to have a total of 7,200 places.

  1. I am pleased to share that with these combined efforts, we are on track to meeting our goal of supporting 80% of the children requiring medium-to-high levels of EI support through government-funded programmes by 2027. This means more and more children with developmental needs will be able to receive timely support. 

Affirming and recognising EI professionals

  1. Our support for children with developmental needs would not be possible without the dedicated and professional EI workforce. From EI educators, therapists, and psychologists, to social workers, you are instrumental in helping children with developmental needs gain the skills and confidence to achieve their fullest potential. Working closely together with parents, and those from the EC sector.

  1. Over the years, the Government has enhanced our efforts to better support EI professionals in their professional and career development.

  1. In 2021, we refreshed the Skills Framework for Early Childhood (EC) to include Early Intervention and Learning Support educators. We also expanded the EC Continuing Professional Development Roadmap to support EI educators in charting out their training pathways, and support their career development.

  1. To acknowledge accomplished EI professionals, we have recognised Outstanding EI Professionals at the ECDA Awards since 2021.  

  1. Earlier this week, we inducted 2 EI professionals as ECDA Fellows, a first. They are Ms Justine Ho from NTUC First Campus and Ms Janice Leong from Rainbow Centre who are on the Learning Support and EI tracks respectively. This is a recognition of the importance of early intervention in the early years. We look forward to hearing from them, tapping on their expertise and their contributions in their capacity. 

Implementation of salary targets 

  1. Nevertheless, as we embark on new initiatives, we must not lose sight of the fundamentals – salaries. We need to ensure that EI professionals are adequately compensated for their work and efforts.  

  1. Today, I’m glad that most of our EI operators are paying EI educators at or above the recommended starting salaries. However, we need to go beyond, for the sector to be able to attract and retain talent, and support EI professionals in pursuing a meaningful career.

  1.  This means providing good salaries for EI educators, commensurate to their skills and expertise. 

  1. ECDA has therefore set salary benchmark targets for SSA providers. This is done in tandem with the 2024 Social Service Sector Skills and Salary Guidelines that NCSS has published. As EI educators attain more skills and competencies and their job responsibilities expand, their salaries should also grow. SSAs will be adjusting to meet these salary targets within the next three years.

  1. With these latest revisions, an EI educator today will see an increase of around 3% to 16% per year in their annual package over the next 3 years. In the form of monthly salary increases, performance bonuses and other variable payments. We can look forward to these increases. Through efforts like the salary adjustments, we trust that more will join the sector and will be able to build a meaningful and sustained career here. 

Partnering across parents, professionals and preschools 

  1. Looking ahead, to deepen intervention practices, we must pioneer new ways and partner across sectors for better child outcomes. The second strand of the conference “Strengthening family, school, and community partnerships” affirms this. Indeed, as EI professionals, the preschool, and parents see the child in different contexts, there are ways we can thoughtfully design new approaches and partner with each other to better support children with developmental needs across their daily environments. 

  1. I’m glad to see many EI providers doing this and developing creative ways to achieve better outcomes. 

  1. Thye Hua Kwan’s use of technology in the “Building Blocks of Communication” pilot is an excellent example of this. The programme equips parents with the knowledge and skills to meaningfully engage their child through play, and support the child’s social-emotional development. THK leveraged video recordings and teleconferencing, which enabled EI professionals to provide individualised and remote coaching for the families while their children awaited enrolment into EIPIC.

  1. Rainbow Centre’s partnership with St James’ Church Kindergarten, PCF, and Lien Foundation exemplifies the sector’s shift towards greater inclusion in preschools. The various agencies came together, marrying their rich expertise and experience to trial collaborative teaching in the preschool environment. Through a pilot, they found that co-teaching by EC and EI educators can support children with developmental needs and sustain engagement of typically developing children. At the same time, the EC educators became more confident of managing all children in the classroom. 

  1. Many of these initiatives are showcased here today. I encourage everyone to learn more about them, draw relevance to your own practice, and look for opportunities to partner with one other. 


  1. In closing, early intervention can alter lives, enabling children with developmental needs to gain the skills and confidence to achieve their fullest potential. As parents, EI and EC professionals, and policymakers, we know the joy of nurturing children and helping them thrive.

  1. Let us continue to work together to strengthen the EI sector and give every child a good start in life. 

  1. I wish everyone a fruitful and enjoyable conference ahead. Thank you.