Two anchor preschool operators improve on salaries, career tracks for teachers

Pupils attend a Chinese reading lesson at the PAP Community Foundation Teck Ghee kindergarten on July 27, 2012. -- ST FILE PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Pupils attend a Chinese reading lesson at the PAP Community Foundation Teck Ghee kindergarten on July 27, 2012. -- ST FILE PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Two of Singapore's largest preschool education operators announced on Wednesday they are adjusting salaries and opening up new career tracks for preschool teachers to become principals, centre supervisors, specialist educators or mentor teachers training others.

The PAP Community Foundation (PCF), which runs 357 kindergartens and childcare centres, said it had started a review of its career progression pathways, so that new teachers could opt for teaching or administrative tracks to eventually be mentor teachers or executive principals overseeing several centres.

It will also continue to adjust its salaries "based on relevant market benchmarks, to ensure fair and competitive remuneration for our staff". The review will be completed by early next year (2015), the PCF said in a statement.

Meanwhile, NTUC First Campus, which operates 107 My First Skool centres and hires some 1,500 principals and teachers, said it was adjusting principals' salaries so they would get a special increment of up to 16 per cent this year.

And, like the PCF, it is introducing different career tracks for teachers, starting with two new positions in the second half of this year. Experienced teachers can become Lead Teachers who mentor newer colleagues, while Deputy Centre Leads help out principals with centre administration, curriculum leadership and community engagement duties.

As more working parents enrol their children in childcare centres and preschools, operators have struggled to expand and manpower has been a limiting factor. Low pay and a lack of opportunities for career progression have been tapped as two reasons for the manpower crunch.