Full-time students in SIM University's (UniSIM) Bachelor of Early Childhood Education (with minor) programme who are Singaporeans or Singapore Permanent Residents will qualify for the Training Award (University) introduced by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) to support passionate individuals committed to an early childhood sector career. The full-time programme, which will open for applications in December 2016, will commence classes in July 2017.
The Training Award for university students is one of the two new initiatives that were announced by Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Minister for Social and Family Development, at the ECDA Scholarships and Awards Presentation Ceremony 2016, held on November 2. This annual ceremony, which was first organised in 2013, is part of ECDA's initiatives to recognise outstanding and deserving early childhood educators, and committed and passionate aspiring educators, who have taken up ECDA Scholarships and Training Awards to fulfil their career aspirations in the sector.
UniSIM students who are presented with the Training Award – worth up to S$75,000 per student – can look forward to full sponsorship of the direct honours programme, learning resource and professional development grants, and a S$800 monthly allowance during the course of study. With each year of sponsorship, the students commit to work a corresponding year in the early childhood sector.
UniSIM and ECDA will work closely to engage the Training Award recipients to better support them at key stages of their early childhood journey, including dialogues to keep them updated on developments in the sector, a job emplacement programme, and various platforms for them to learn from experienced educators and experts.
UniSIM President Professor Cheong Hee Kiat said: "UniSIM is happy to collaborate with ECDA on the offer of the Training Award to our full-time degree programme students. This is a great boost in attracting more individuals to join the early childhood education profession and building a pipeline of talented educators for this critically important sector."
The other initiative announced by Minister Tan is the Commendation Award, which will be launched in 2017, for outstanding Training Award recipients who perform well during their course of studies. UniSIM will nominate exceptional students to undergo an interview assessment with ECDA, with the awardees to be selected based on a stringent criteria, including their potential to contribute to the sector, being excellent role models to their peers, performing consistently well in their studies, including during their internships and practicum, and displaying outstanding conduct, attitude, and leadership qualities. The Commendation Award recipients will each be presented with a certificate of commendation and a S$1,000 cash prize, and will be formally recognised at the ECDA Scholarships and Awards Appointment Ceremony in 2017.
The Training Award and Commendation Award complement the comprehensive suite of initiatives under the recently launched Early Childhood Manpower Plan – part of the national SkillsFuture movement – to enable educators to have more opportunities to develop professionally, a supporting working environment, and greater respect and recognition.
Part-time students in UniSIM are already receiving support from ECDA. Outstanding and deserving early childhood professionals in UniSIM's Bachelor of Early Childhood and Chinese Language Education programme and Bachelor of Early Childhood Education programmes (offered with various minors) can continue to apply for the ECDA Scholarships and Teaching Awards.