After more than a year of intense discussion and consultation between SIM University (UniSIM) and Beijing Normal University (BNU), the details of the new Master of Education in Early Childhood Education (in Chinese) (MECE) have been finalised, and the collaboration was formalised in a ceremony, held in Beijing on 7th November 2016, to exchange the signed agreement.
The seven-member UniSIM delegation, led by President Cheong Hee Kiat, was warmly welcomed by BNU Chairman Mdm Liu Chuan Sheng who in her welcome address spoke warmly of the long and successful collaboration between the two universities dating back to 1999. She further stressed that such collaboration should continue and be strengthened. She added that it is through working together and common understanding that we can break through new frontiers of knowledge, innovation and research.
In response, Prof Cheong announced UniSIM's transition to an autonomous university (AU), the sixth in Singapore, and will come under the purview of the Ministry of Education (MOE). In addition to having access to MOE funding, the new AU status affirmed UniSIM’s unique standing within the local education landscape as a leading provider of applied training and education for working adults. Prof Cheong also reiterated UniSIM’s focus on the social sciences, particularly in early childhood education, as a critical area of focus of the MOE to increase the quality of pre-school teacher training in Singapore.
Back in 2012 the Ministry of Education (MOE) and then Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) formed the Implementation Committee for Enhancing Pre-School Education (ICEPE) to formulate and oversee the strategies to enhance pre-school education in Singapore. One of the recommended key strategies was to strengthen teacher training through the increase and upgrading of pre-school teacher education. In response to this demand for quality teacher training, Beijing Normal University (BNU) and SIM University (UniSIM) decided to embark on the MECE programme which will be conducted fully in Chinese while incorporating a multicultural Singapore perspective.
Student recruitment for the MECE programme is expected to begin by early 2017 with the first intake commencing classes in July 2017. Under this agreement, there will be one intake per academic year with three intakes in total. This new programme will serve as an extension of the current Bachelor degree programme offered by the School of Human Development and Social Services (HDSS), UniSIM.
The MECE programme will be taught entirely at UniSIM by BNU faculty andThe degree will be awarded by BNU in collaboration with UniSIM. Following the curriculum requirements for similar BNU programmes, the MECE will adopt a Credit Unit (CU) system and will be taught on a part-time basis. The curriculum will comprise six main areas: General Knowledge; Theory; Application; Research; Professional Development; Teaching and Learning.
The programme is open to applicants who have an undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education or a recognised undergraduate degree with an accredited Diploma in early childhood education. There will be an entry test conducted for admission. However, candidates with a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood from BNU or UniSIM may be exempted from the entry test.
The programme will be administered by UCCS, with support from the Early Childhood & Chinese Language Education programme in HDSS.