Govt looking at ways to attract early childhood educators

SINGAPORE - The Government will build on existing efforts to attract, develop and retain early childhood educators, said Acting Minister for Social and Family Development, Mr Chan Chun Sing.

He was responding to Member of Parliament Ang Hin Kee's question on whether the Ministry will consider setting up a fund similar to Australia's $300 million "Early Years Quality Fund" for childcare operators to tap on to pay higher wages and retain a stable, qualified and professional pool of educators.

Here is Mr Chan Chun Sing's written reply in full: 

The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) is looking into different areas to enhance attraction, development and retention of early childhood educators. This will build on existing efforts.

We provided more support for professional development and talent attraction by introducing new professional pathways and entry routes for Educarers in 2011. In 2012, we enhanced scholarships and teaching awards for diploma and degree courses in early childhood care and education. We also introduced a framework for continuing professional development, and conduct ongoing training to help centre leaders use the framework to plan for the training needs of their staff.

In the area of wages, ECDA is currently conducting a job evaluation and compensation study to better understand the HR and pay practices in the sector. This will help it determine what more should be done, and how best to go about doing it.

Other aspects are also being worked on. For example, we will further enhance scholarships and training awards for pre-service and in-service trainees, as well as mid-career entrants, so as to encourage more to join the sector. For better professional development and retention, ECDA will introduce initiatives to better support educators. This may include structured induction, mentoring and continuing professional development programmes.

ECDA will continue to work with employers and unions, as they too have an important role to play. For example, we help pre-schools embrace good HR practices by providing them with a Good Employers Toolkit, which was developed together with employers and unions. This will help contribute towards better attraction and retention of educators.

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