Govt investing $30m on early childhood sector

Govt investing $30m on early childhood sector

SINGAPORE - The Government will invest $30m over the next three years in the early childhood sector in an effort to provide more support for new and existing early childhood educators and help operators better attract, develop and retain their staff.

Acting Minister for Social and Family Development, Mr Chan Chun Sing, outlined the plan to enhance scholarships and training awards for the Early Childhood sector today.

As part of this effort, a new Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) Training Award was launched for full-time Polytechnic students taking up the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Diploma at Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic.

The Training Award is a scholarship that will cover the full course fees of $7,000, and will also replace the existing Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) full-time diploma scholarship scheme.

Other added incentives also include an increase in the monthly study allowance from $300 to $800; introduction of funding support of up to $1,000 per annum for professional development, and flexibility to apply for the Training Award at the start of or partway through the Diploma programme.

Students who receive training award will serve a one year bond in the sector for each year of funding support. Interested students may access ECDA's website to apply for the Training Award from Friday, Aug 30.

For current educators, existing Ministry of Education (MOE) and MSF scholarships and teaching awards for degree/masters programmes and part-time diplomas will be streamlined under ECDA.

This will provide more opportunities and greater flexibility for educators across both child care centres and kindergartens to participate in professional upgrading.

Also it will allow flexibility for sponsorship recipients to serve their bond in the Early Childhood sector as a whole, rather than only in child care centres or kindergartens.

It will also expand eligibility to educators from all registered kindergartens. Currently, MOE scholarships and training awards for the kindergarten sector are restricted to non-profit kindergartens only.

The new scholarships and teaching awards will take effect in January 2014.

abrahamr@sph.com.sg

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