Muhammad Ilyasa Munauwir is an ECDA Training Award recipient and a second-year student pursuing the Higher NITEC in Early Childhood Education programme at ITE College Central.
My childhood dream of being an early childhood (EC) educator stemmed from my grandfather, who was an educator. I loved hearing his stories about the good old days and somehow these stories planted a seed in my heart.
After my 'O' Levels, I enrolled in the Pharmaceutical Science course at Republic Polytechnic, but soon realised it was not my passion. As I re-evaluated my options, I realised that I had never forgotten about my childhood dream of being an early childhood educator. Family and friends tried dissuading me from joining the sector, forewarning me of the challenges of the job.
Against all odds, I took a leap of faith and applied for the Higher NITEC in Early Childhood Education at ITE. When I first started, the learning curve was steep and I started to doubt my choice. I gradually overcame my doubts after I began participating in early childhood events and activities such as the Sarada Kindergarten Science Experiment Day, ECDA's Start Small Dream Big, and the one-week Preschool Immersion Programme. The opportunities I was given to work with young children affirmed my decision to stay in the field.
As an ECDA Training Award recipient, I feel both grateful and honoured to be given this award despite being just an upstart in the sector. The funding of course fees, learning resources and monthly allowance really helped me to focus on my studies and ease the burden on my parents. The various initiatives under the ECDA Training Award such as the Job Emplacement Programme, networking and dialogue sessions and other engagement activities are also very useful in helping me understand more about the sector and connect with other educators. With the ECDA Training Award, I am more confident of my future. I plan to further my studies at a polytechnic after graduation from ITE, then gain some work experience after serving my National Service. Eventually, I aspire to be an early childhood lecturer so that I can inspire the next generation of educators. I also hope to set up a centre one day, one where I can design my own curriculum for young children. I am convinced I have made the right career choice and I see a bright future ahead.
Ilyasa reading to the the pre-schoolers from House on the Hill Montessori
I would like to share this tip with all my juniors who are still pursuing their studies in early childhood -- "Never lose the passion to teach children. You can make a difference to their lives."
Inspired to join the Early Childhood sector?
Click here for more information on ECDA Scholarships and Training Awards.