NIEC to welcome first early childhood education trainees in 2019 [TODAY Online]

The new national training institute for early childhood educators will admit its first batch of teacher trainees in 2019. It will also be funded and overseen by the Ministry of Education (MOE).

kids painting

Announcing this at a media briefing yesterday, the MOE said that the National Institute of Early Childhood Development (NIEC) will be set up under the National Institute of Education (NIE), which is the national institute for teacher education and educational research in Singapore.

This means that the new academy can tap the expertise of staff members at the NIE when planning its curriculum, pedagogy and teacher training, for instance.

Earlier on Sunday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had announced the setting up of the NIEC at the National Day Rally, noting that it was important to enhance the quality of the profession because pre-school teachers “make all the difference to our children”.

The MOE said yesterday that the present “early childhood training ecosystem” is fragmented, and there is no national institute to oversee training and professional development for the sector.

“We want to build something that is special for early childhood professionals and really strengthen their foundational training and their continuing professional development,” its spokesperson said.

The NIEC will offer certificate- and diploma-level training for post-secondary students, and continuous education and training courses for those wanting a mid-career switch.

For those already teaching, they can take professional development courses.

The NIEC will also bring together the early childhood faculties and expertise from Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic, the Institute of Technical Education and NTUC’s Seed Institute.

All students doing their studies in this field at these institutions would be identified as NIEC students and undergo a “more unified foundational training”, the MOE said.

The courses will continue to be conducted at the respective institutions, and the students will be given NIEC qualifications upon graduation.

Asked if training at the institute will eventually be a pre-requisite for pre-school educators, the MOE spokesperson said that the ministry still sees “the value of private training agencies in playing some role in the market”.

The NIEC is expected to cover 60 per cent of the training in the sector. Other major training providers in the private sector include Kinderland Consortium International Institute and Asian International College.

There are 16,000 early childhood education professionals now, and the Early Childhood Development Agency estimates that the industry will need 20,000 professionals by 2020.

To attract more manpower, all NIEC pre-employment students will be offered training awards that include a full sponsorship and allowance.

The NIEC will be headed by Mrs Loke Teck Yong, 50, who is the divisional director of the education services division at the ministry.

She had played an instrumental role in the set-up of MOE Kindergarten, and worked on its programming and curriculum development, among other things.

“With the skills and capabilities as well as the national mandate, I’m very confident that with the set-up of NIEC, we will make a positive, significant impact on the professional development and training of the teachers. And that in itself will be important in raising the quality of education and care services in the sector,” Mrs Loke said.


Source: TODAY Online

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