$5k SkillsFuture grant to boost pre-school teachers' leadership

K2 pupils do memory exercises at Little Footprints Preschool. The SkillsFuture Study Award for Early Childhood is meant to help educators deepen their skills and take on larger roles in the sector.
K2 pupils do memory exercises at Little Footprints Preschool. The SkillsFuture Study Award for Early Childhood is meant to help educators deepen their skills and take on larger roles in the sector.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Early childhood educators accepted into a new leadership programme can soon apply for a $5,000 government cash grant.

This bond-free SkillsFuture Study Award for Early Childhood is meant to help educators deepen their skills so that they can take on larger roles in the sector.

It is open to those who have been accepted into the new Advanced Diploma in Early Childhood Leadership programme - an 850-hour management skills course to help senior pre-school teachers develop as leaders in their centres.

The new course is offered by Ngee Ann and Temasek polytechnics and starts in April. It costs $880 to around $2,400 for Singaporeans, depending on whether they are eligible for subsidies such as the Workfare Training Scheme.

The course can be completed in 11/2 years on a part-time basis. Applicants will know early next month if they have been accepted into the course, and can start applying for the study award from Feb 15.

The award is part of the SkillsFuture movement, a national effort to integrate education, training and career progression.

SkillsFuture study awards were announced last February and is for five growth sectors and four priority sectors identified by the Government. These include advanced manufacturing, smart urban solutions, hospitality and social services.

Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin said professional development for the early childhood sector is important.

"We've been placing a lot more emphasis on the sector and what we're doing also explains why you're finding people joining the sector, especially midstream. A lot of professionals are beginning to look at coming into the sector so that's very encouraging," he said.

Ms Zahra Xie, 34, a senior teacher at Little Footprints Preschool (Woodlands), is keen to apply for the award. She said the centre's principal Christina Yong has noticed her leadership potential. "I feel encouraged and motivated because I see that I've a longer career progression with the company and they sincerely want to groom me."

Mrs Yong, who is a cluster principal who oversees another four centres, said she has made manpower arrangements to allow Ms Xie to go for classes.

She said: "I'm grooming Zahra to be my future leader. After she completes this course she will be the new principal of this school, or will transfer to other centres."

Kok Xing Hui

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 05, 2016, with the headline '$5k SkillsFuture grant to boost pre-school teachers' leadership'. Print Edition | Subscribe