New early childhood sector initiatives for teachers introduced

This article is more than 12 months old

Pre-school educators often do not stay long at the job.

To retain them, a year-long programme to improve the human resource (HR) capability of such operators was introduced yesterday.

At the same time, another programme is being launched to advise job seekers eyeing a career in early childhood education, a sunrise industry.

A total of 24 professionals from the sector, including pre-school teachers, leaders of care centres and curriculum specialists have been roped in to be career advisers.

The two initiatives are a joint effort of Workforce Singapore, Association of Early Childhood and Training Services and Association for Early Childhood Educators.

Even as they were announced by Minister of State for Manpower Teo Ser Luck yesterday, industry professionals were already brimming with ideas on ways to reduce the attrition rate.

These include giving teachers adult-size furniture, letting mothers work flexible hours and hiring administrators to reduce paperwork for teachers.

Director of Zee Schoolhouse Peh Li Lin said teachers who quit cited family demands, long hours and the 5½-day work week.

Her centre allows five mothers to work flexible hours as part of a trial introduced last year.

Also, doing work on child-size tables and chairs can be uncomfortable, said an educator.

These are set to be issues that the consultants of the Progressive Human Resource Practices Early Adopter Programme will look into.

A total of 22 centres have signed up to let the consultants analyse their HR practices as the first step in the 12-month programme.

Their owners and HR personnel will be trained on ways to build a company culture and improve employee engagement before being guided on implementing better HR practices to retain employees.

Owners have until October next year to sign up for the programme.

The early childhood sector employs about 16,000 people, and 4,000 more are needed by 2020.

"There are a lot of jobs available in this sector," noted Mr Teo.

It is important that they have an understanding of the sector, Mr Teo added.

"It's not just another job. It's really meaningful because they're going to influence young minds."