Better terms for pre-school teachers

Better terms for pre-school teachers

Amid the ongoing manpower crunch in the pre-school sector, PAP Community Foundation (PCF) and NTUC First Campus (NFC) announced initiatives to make a career in early childhood care more appealing, through improving career progression opportunities and competitive salaries.

The two organisations made these announcements separately yesterday.

NFC, which is behind the My First Skool, The Little Skool-House International and The Caterpillar's Cove brands, announced a salary raise this year for their pre-schools' principals. Factoring in a regular annual increment, principals' salaries could rise by as much as 16 per cent, said NFC.

The raise comes in recognition of the responsibilities of the job, such as coaching and mentoring teachers, and engaging parents of their students.

In addition, NFC will introduce two new positions - lead teacher and deputy centre lead - to its teachers' career ladder, to provide them with more opportunities for progression.

Seasoned teachers will be offered the role of lead teacher, allowing them to play a bigger part in the mentoring of their newer colleagues.

Deputy centre leads will take on more leadership roles, supporting principals in larger schools as a second-in-charge. They will consequently have a lighter teaching load, allowing them to venture beyond teaching to explore leadership responsibilities in areas such as centre administration.

"We want to make the early childhood profession more attractive and viable so that we can attract more and better qualified individuals with a passion to work with young children to join the profession," said Chan Tee Seng, NFC's chief executive.

Meanwhile, PCF announced an organisation-wide review to update its career structure and remuneration scheme, which was started this month and is expected to be completed by early next year.

The new career structure will include more differentiated levels for teachers and centre leaders, said PCF, with clearly defined work scopes and responsibilities for each level. Teachers can progress on the teaching track, taking on roles such as lead or mentor teacher.

Alternatively, they can take on a leadership position, such as supervising a centre, and eventually progress to becoming an executive principal.

The review of PCF's remuneration scheme will update salaries based on relevant market benchmarks, allowing it to ensure competitive and fair salaries for its employees.

Being able to attract, develop and retain staff has long been a challenge for employers in the pre-school sector. Low pay and a lack of opportunities have led to high turnover rates in the pre-school labour market.

This article was published on May 1 in The Business Times.

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