Saturday, 22 August 2015

Pre-nursery staff get on-job training

Programme pays trainees while they learn how to care for and teach infants, toddlers
By Priscilla Goy, The Straits Times, 21 Aug 2015

Many people think that taking care of infants or toddlers is no more than making sure that they have slept or eaten.

But a programme launched yesterday for pre-school staff who work with children aged two months to three years hopes to change such perceptions.

The Place-and-Train programme will teach the skills necessary to support a young child's learning, including the planning and execution of age-appropriate activities and care-giving practices.

It aims to equip new hires with the necessary qualifications and is in line with SkillsFuture, a national effort to integrate education, training and career progression. There is a similar programme for pre-school staff who teach older children.

Speaking about the programme on the sidelines of the Early Childhood Recruitment Fair, Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin said: "In the past, they had to be trained before they could come in, but now we're going to... place them in a job, and they can earn a salary even as they're being trained.

"I hope, in particular, that mid-career jobseekers and back-to-work women will consider taking up this programme to become early childhood professionals to nurture and care for our young ones."

Trainees in the new programme launched by the Early Childhood Development Agency and the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) will attend classes for part of the week and spend the rest of the time at their workplace.

This allows them to apply newly- acquired knowledge on the job. They will get Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications certification upon completing the programme, which lasts up to 10 months.

WDA provides the pre-school operator with salary support at 70 per cent of the basic monthly pay (capped at $1,400) and a course fee grant of up to 90 per cent for each trainee. The operator will co-fund the remainder.

Currently, about one in five of the pre-school sector's 14,000 staff works with children aged up to three years.

Ms Geraldine Lee, chief human resource officer at NTUC First Campus, said some are reluctant to care for young children as they see it as merely providing "routine care", checking if the children have eaten or slept, for instance.

"Staff who work with children aged up to three years potentially can be specialists in this niche area," she said, adding that they learn strategies that stimulate a child's learning, such as placing a mirror to encourage a child to turn to his side.

The fair runs till Sunday, from 10am to 8pm, at 313@somerset. More than 200 jobs are available, and over 700 have registered for the fair. More information is available at:

The Early Childhood Recruitment Fair 2015, organised by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) and WDA, is a...
Posted by Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) on Thursday, August 20, 2015

300 gain entry to early childhood courses before exams
Record number of offers 'heartening' as Singapore faces shortage of teachers: Indranee
By Amelia Teng, The Straits Times, 27 Aug 2015

Of around 600 O-level students applying to train as pre-school teachers, more than half have already secured places in courses for next year, it was revealed yesterday.

Ngee Ann and Temasek polytechnics have been given greater flexibility to admit them through a discretionary route under the direct polytechnic admission (DPA) scheme. The two institutions offer four full-time diploma courses in the early childhood field between them and this year's number of applicants was 50 per cent more than last year's.

The 300 offers for early childhood courses is the highest number since the DPA was set up in 2007.

It allows polytechnics to select students based on criteria other than academic results, such as their suitability for certain courses and how they fare in interviews.

And off they go! 24 CPEE students are starting their SkillsFuture Enhanced Internships soon, so we made them Early...
Posted by Ngee Ann Polytechnic on Wednesday, August 26, 2015

From this year, Temasek and Ngee Ann polytechnics can admit up to half of their intakes in the early childhood programmes under the DPA - compared to a 30 per cent cap for other courses.

It comes amid efforts in recent years by the Government to attract and retain pre-school teachers with better pay and training incentives.

Each student accepted through the DPA will receive an Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) training award of up to $40,000.

Senior Minister of State for Education Indranee Rajah revealed the offer figures and said interest in the sector is "heartening", given its shortage of teachers. She attributed the growing interest to factors including a "good career progression plan" developed by the ECDA and greater awareness of the diplomas.

Ms Nur Afiqah, 16, who has accepted an offer to study child psychology and early education at Ngee Ann Polytechnic next year, is relieved to have secured a place before sitting her O levels in October.

"I've been interested in being a pre-school teacher since primary school because I like playing with young children and toddlers," said the youngest of five children.

"I'm looking forward to learning about children's behaviour and how they think. I want to understand them better."

Ngee Ann Polytechnic will set up an Academy for Early Childhood Education to train school-leavers and those already in the sector. It will start next year and combine the institution's existing part-time and full-time programmes.

It will also expand the courses' intakes, from 200 students in full- time diplomas to 500 next year. It hopes to enrol more people for its continuing education and training courses, which now have about 100 mid-career students. The academy will hire 80 staff over three years and develop more courses on topics like pedagogy, languages, developmental needs and early care.

Ms Indranee said: "We hope that with this, we will encourage those who have been out of the workforce to re-enter... and take up early childhood as a career."

She was speaking at the launch of a revamped internship scheme at Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

Next month, 24 diploma students training to be pre-school teachers will go on placements lasting 51/2 months, almost twice the length of previous stints.

They are part of SkillsFuture, a national effort to integrate education, training and career progression.

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