THE EARLY CHILDHOOD INDUSTRY DIGITAL PLAN
The Early Childhood Industry Digital Plan (EC IDP) is jointly developed by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), in partnership with SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and industry partners1. It provides a structured framework to guide preschool operators in their digital transformation efforts and, specifically, the digital solutions they can adopt across three stages of growth. The IDP will be updated over time as the industry progresses and newer and more relevant technologies are introduced. Aligned to the EC Industry Transformation Map (ITM), the sector-wide EC IDP contributes to the SMEs Go Digital programme2 that aims to make going digital simple for operators.
1Association of Early Childhood and Training Services (ASSETS) and Association for Early Childhood Educators (Singapore)(AECES)
Early Childhood’s Digital Roadmap
The three-stage Digital Roadmap of the IDP charts out the digital solutions that operators in the EC industry can adopt at each stage of their growth to support their digital journey.
Stage 1: Getting Ready for the Digital Economy – Adopt and Adapt. This stage calls for operators to adopt digital solutions such as e-enrolment and adapt centre processes for more efficient processes and digital-enabled work.
Stage 2: Growing in the Digital Economy – Analyse and Automate. This stage calls for preschoolers to adopt digital solutions such as data analytics that can help them analyse and automate operations and educator training for more data-driven operations and digital-enabled training.
Stage 3: Leaping Ahead – Advance Capabilities. This stage identifies solutions such as smart resource management and virtual training for teachers, so that operators can advance capabilities for smart centres and innovative learning.
With the introduction of the EC IDP, preschool operators can look forward to support in the following ways:
a. Pre-approved solutions. To make it easy for operators to adopt digital solutions recommended in the EC IDP, ECDA and IMDA will progressively curate more pre-approved solutions that are assessed to be market-proven, cost-effective and supported by reliable vendors. More preapproved solutions will be offered, beyond the current SMART Solutions initiative. Preschool operators can save on time and effort to search for solutions and benefit from the convenience of quickly adopting these pre-approved solutions.
b. Funding support. To encourage preschool operators to start adopting the EC IDP, ECDA will be introducing a new sectoral funding scheme that preschool operators may apply for to defray some of the cost of adopting pre-approved digital solutions recommended in the IDP. Details on the funding scheme will be provided in the 2nd half of 2021.
For more information on the solutions in each stage, you may wish to download and refer to our e-book here .
To find out more about Smart Solutions, visit here.
For further queries or assistance on the IDP, operators can approach ECDA directly at ECDA_SO@ecda.gov.sg.
Early Childhood (EC) Industry Digital Plan (IDP)
1. What is the EC IDP?
The EC IDP provides preschools and operators a structured framework to guide them on the digital solutions they can adopt across three stages of their digital development, as well as a roadmap on training to equip the sector’s workforce with the new capabilities and the necessary mindset to support digital transformation.
The IDP comprises three stages.
• Stage 1: Getting Ready for the Digital Economy – Adopt and Adapt. This stage calls for operators to adopt digital solutions such as e-enrolment and adapt centre processes for more efficient processes and digital-enabled work.
• Stage 2: Growing in the Digital Economy – Analyse and Automate. This stage calls for preschools to adopt digital solutions such as data analytics that can help them analyse and automate operations and educator training for more data-driven operations and digital-enabled training.
• Stage 3: Leaping Ahead – Advance Capabilities. This stage identifies solutions such as smart resource management and virtual training for teachers, so that operators can advance capabilities for smart centres and innovative learning.
2. What is the objective of the EC IDP?
The EC IDP aims to help address the trends that are impacting the EC sector:
a. Enhance productivity and cost management for preschool operators
b. Improve the quality and range of services delivered for parents
c. Improve job attractiveness and support professional development for EC professionals
3. How is the IDP different from past efforts to promote the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) (e.g. SMART Solutions3)?
With ICT solutions becoming increasingly complex, ECDA and IMDA recognise the need for clearer and more accessible guidance, especially for smaller businesses to go digital. Currently, preschool operators can already implement some preschool management solutions under the SMART Solutions programme. Building on these efforts, the IDP (developed in consultation with the industry) will support the EC sector in its digitalisation journey.
The EC IDP provides a structured framework to guide preschool operators on the digital solutions that they can adopt across three stages of growth, and introduce a roadmap on relevant training to equip the sector’s workforce. ECDA will work with IMDA to pre-approve more digital solutions under the IDP compared to the existing SMART Solutions for the sector, as well as to chart the development of new solutions together with the industry, as guided by the IDP.
3SMART Solutions was a Lean Enterprise Development (LED) Scheme initiative in collaboration with Workforce Singapore (WSG) to create a more supportive working environment and more productive work processes for our EC educators. 4 vendors have been endorsed by ECDA, ASSETS and IMDA after a stringent selection process, to provide an integrated package of IT solutions that support administrative processes such as attendance-/temperature-taking and communication with parents. The 4 vendors are Little Lives, TAIDII, Design Haven and Commontown. Moving forward, the SMART Solutions initiative will nest within the broader IDP efforts.
B. EC IDP Components
1. What is included in the EC IDP? Central to the EC IDP is a Digital Roadmap that guides operators in the EC sector to better understand the digital readiness of their businesses, the solutions available across different stages of digitalisation and the training required to raise their employees’ digital skills.
The IDP will be reviewed and updated over time to take into account the latest digitalisation advancements in the sector as new technologies are gradually introduced.
A Self-Assessment Checklist is provided for operators to assess how digitally ready they are. Operators can then plan their digitalisation journey according to their stage of digitalisation, business operations and growth plans.
Operators requiring funding support can look forward to a new funding scheme from 2H 2021 to help them get started in their adoption of relevant pre-approved soluti ons listed in the IDP.
In addition, eligible operators can also use consultancy services from the SME Digital Tech Hub for business diagnosis and advisory on digital solutions relevant to their operations.
2. How can preschool operators find more information and apply for sectoral funding support?
Preschool operators can find out more about the EC IDP Grant on the ECDA website at https://go.gov.sg/ecidp. More details on the IDP funding grant will be announced in the second half of 2021.
3. Which preschool operators qualify for IDP sectoral funding?
Preschools licensed or registered with ECDA can apply for government co-funding in the second half of 2021 to adopt digital solutions identified in the Digital Roadmap under the EC IDP.
4. What kind of solutions can preschool operators look forward to adopting with the EC IDP Grant?
Preschool operators can look forward to adopting pre-scoped ICT solutions that are available in Stage 1 for the preschool sector such as the Preschool Management System. ECDA and IMDA will progressively on-board and pre-approve other solutions under Stage 1 and Stage 2, such as e-enrolment and data analytics.
5. Will preschool operators that have already adopted digital solutions be eligible for the new grant?
The upcoming grant will support new applications for solutions listed in the IDP, including Smart Solutions. Preschool operators who have already implemented some digital solutions can consider other solutions that will help them further. Preschool operators with urgent pipeline plans to adopt Smart Solutions can continue to apply for funding under existing grant schemes until the transition to the new EC IDP grant in 2H 2021.
6. How do I apply to be a technology solutions provider for EC IDP?
Infocomm Technology (ICT) vendors with ready digital solutions proven to deliver productivity gains for EC operators are invited to submit their solutions to be pre-approved under the programme.
For more information, please visit http://www.imda.gov.sg/icmvendors.