SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and its subsidiary Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) on Wednesday (Mar 8) revealed measures to realise plans to attract 1,000 more infant educarers by 2020.
Designed to support the planned increase in the number of infant care places to more than 8,000 by 2020, as announced at Budget 2017, the initiatives include a new job role called Allied Infant Educarers, who will work with existing infant care staff to care for infants aged two to 18 months.
These educarers will be trained using a pilot, apprenticeship-style approach starting end-March and involving 30 childcare centres under the Anchor Operator scheme, which provides funding to selected operators so they can keep fees affordable for the disadvantaged.
Entrants will undergo a shorter training programme with more priority given to on-the-job experience and mentorship. This will suit more mature individuals who are not inclined towards long, classroom-based learning, according to MSF.
Said Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development Faishal Ibrahim: “Our emphasis will be on aptitude and competency, rather than academic qualifications.”
He also announced a Professional Development Programme (PDP) for Educarers, due to be launched in March.
“Similar to an earlier PDP for preschool teachers, educarers will undergo a structured training over three years to deepen their skills and prepare them for large job roles, such as team leaders and mentors to newer colleagues,” said Associate Professor Faishal. “Educarers will also receive cash awards ranging from S$3,000 to S$5,000 at the end of each professional development milestone.”
During the programme, educarers will continue to work at their existing centres and earn an income.
MSF will also introduce a new Advanced Diploma in Early Childhood Teaching and Learning (ADECT) for experienced early childhood teachers interested in upgrading. The SkillsFuture Study Award, worth S$5,000, will be extended to this programme.
Said Assoc Prof Faishal: “With this Advanced Diploma, teachers will be better prepared to take on larger roles such as lead teachers and curriculum specialists, and thereby raise the quality of our preschools.”