There was much focus on Singapore’s Preschool Education sector in Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally last night (20 August 2017).
(Photo credit: Straits Times)
From the need for a proper foundation for all Singaporeans to raising the standing of teachers and carers.
It is good that we do more to help build up preschools and give young children a good start.
But in order to do that, there is one important party in this effort that needs to be looked after. Teacher and carers.
Need for better preschool education teachers and carers
Singapore’s education system is one of the world’s best partly because of its educators who help to shape and form tomorrow’s generation. The formation of teachers in the National Institute of Education (NIE) is rigourous.
Hence, in order that preschool teachers be of the same standard, much needs to be done to form and educate preschool educators and carers.
PM Lee mentioned the government’s plan to set up a new institute to train teachers well. The National Institute of Early Childhood Development (NIEC) will bring together programmes from the various institutions currently offering preschool teacher training programmes.
Like the NIE, the NIEC will provide a full range of diploma and certificate programmes for preschool professionals and will also have the scale to develop curricula with different specialisations.
What’s most important is that with better skills come better career prospects and better remuneration as well.
PM Lee gave the assurance that the government will “work with employers to ensure good career prospects and competitive pay”.
“As we upgrade the profession, salaries need to improve further…in particular, salaries will match career progression.”
(Photo credit: mothership.sg)
Education Services Union Executive Secretary Ang Hin Kee said that the plans are a right move, since the Labour movement has been advocating AAQ- Affordability, Accesibility and Quality – from the get go.
The Education Services Union has been advocating for higher salary to attract more preschool teachers.
Mr Ang who is also the NTUC’s Assistant Director-General suggested that the government can also consider having early childhood holistic development course or content for parents so that they can “work in close partnership with educators and complement their efforts”.
But ultimately, it is one thing as Mr Ang said, that will draw more entrants into the preschool education profession:
“Respect the Profession; respect the educators.”