Press Releases

New Manpower Plan Unveiled to Create More Rewarding Careers for Early Childhood Educators

01 Oct 2018

1.          A new Early Childhood Manpower Plan was announced today by Minister for Social and Family Development, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, at the Early Childhood Conference 2016. An annual event organised by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA), the conference was attended by over 1,200 educators this year.

2.          The Early Childhood Manpower Plan is part of the national SkillsFuture movement and is a collaborative effort by ECDA, the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), as well as key sector partners represented on the Early Childhood Sectoral Tripartite Committee (see Annex A). It reflects inputs and suggestions from educators, employers and parents. With this plan, ECDA hopes to attract another 4,000 educators to join the sector by 2020, from around 16,000 today.

3.          Overall, the Early Childhood Manpower Plan envisions a sector that offers meaningful and rewarding careers for Singaporeans, and quality care and education for our children. To achieve this, it outlines three strategies to enable educators to have more opportunities to develop professionally, a more supportive working environment, and greater respect and recognition. This plan also builds on ongoing efforts to develop and support early childhood educators at every stage of their careers.

More opportunities to develop professionally 

4.          The Early Childhood Manpower Plan provi
des more opportunities for individuals to join and develop in their early childhood careers. In addition to existing initiatives to attract and develop early childhood educators (see Annex B), new initiatives that were announced today include:

     a.   A new Skills Framework for Early Childhood Care and Education, which spells out 
pathways as well as specific skills and competencies required for various
           job roles under
 the Educarer, Teacher and Leader tracks. It was developed in
           collaboration with the 
educators, employers, educational institutes
           (which include UniSIM, 
three  Polytechnics  and the Institute of Technical Education),
           training agencies, industry and 
professional  associations and the union in the
           early childhood sector. It will guide job 
seekers, educators and employers to plan
           skills and competency-based career 
development. ECDA and WDA will continue to work
           closely with employers to adopt the 
new Skills Framework  in their human resource
           frameworks and practices. Please refer to
Annex C for details. 

     b.   For mid-career entrants, early childhood educator training courses will now be
available in the Place-and-Train mode at all levels. Mid-career entrants can
           benefit from 
the WDA’s Professional Conversion Programmes (PCP) for Pre-school
           Teachers and 
Place-and-Train Programmes for Educarers, under the ADAPT and
           GROW initiative, to u
ndergo  training to attain competencies for a career in the
           Early Childhood profession 
while  earning a salary. 

To allow more opportunities for progression based on competencies gained rather than just academic qualifications, ECDA will recognise prior learning and working experience of in-service educators who are keen to upgrade themselves through these training courses, and take on different educator job roles. 

More supportive working environment

The Early Childhood Manpower Plan will also enable a more supportive working environment and more productive work processes for our educators. Presently, Association
of Early Childhood and Training Services (ASSETS) is collaborating with ECDA and
Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore to identify smart solutions to aid
pre-schools in their day-to-day processes and streamline administrative duties for 
 These solutions will leverage technology to assist in knowledge management or
improve productivity on administrative tasks. Please refer to Annex D for details. In addition,
WDA has appointed ASSETS as a multiplier to engage the rest of the sector in adopting
innovative productivity solutions under the Lean Enterprise Development Scheme. 

Greater respect and recognition

7.          The Early Childhood Manpower Plan also aims to bring about greater respect for and recognition of our early childhood educators.  

8.          Early childhood educators play an important role in nurturing our youngest children, so as to enable them to have a good start in life.  In recognition of their contributions, from 2017 onwards, ECDA will encourage and support all pre-schools to provide a day off for early childhood educators on Teacher’s Day. ECDA will provide an additional half a day of closure for child care centres, on top of the five-and-half days of closure allowed currently, of which one day will be used to celebrate Teachers’ Day. Please refer to Annex E for details.  






​​Mr Eugene Leong Chee Gin (Chairperson)

Chief Executive, ECDA 


​​Ms Julia Ng Lee Hoon (Deputy Chairperson)

Senior Director, Industry & Workforce Cluster, Enterprise Development Group, WDA 


​​Mr Ang Hin Kee

Executive Secretary, Education Services Union (ESU)
Assistant Secretary-General, NTUC 


Mr Victor Bay Swee Huat 

CEO, PAP Community Foundation 
Member, School Advisory Committee (School of Humanities and Social Sciences),   Temasek Polytechnic 


Mr Chan Tee Seng 

CEO, NTUC First Campus 
Director, SEED Institute 


Dr Jane Ching-Kwan 

CEO/Executive Director, KLC International Institute 


​Dr Lucy Chew-Quek 

Deputy Director (External Relations & CET), (School of Humanities and Social Sciences), Ngee Ann Polytechnic
Vice President of Association for Early Childhood Educators Singapore (Former)


Mr Robert Leong 

Director, Kinderland Educare Services Pte Ltd
Vice Chairman, ASSETS 


Mr Ben Lim Eng Kiat 

Director (School of Humanities and Social Sciences), Temasek Polytechnic 


Mr Liu Earnler 

Director, Pre-School Education, Ministry of Education, Education Services Division


Ms Dorcas Tang Teo Hiang 

Section Head (Early Childhood Education), Community Recreation & Services, ITE 


Ms Tan Beng Luan 

Founder and Principal, Creative O Preschoolers’ Bay 
ECDA Fellow 


Ms Jasmine Yeo 

Vice-President, ESU and Cluster Quality Manager, NTUC First Campus 




1.   What are some existing initiatives that ECDA had developed over the past few years
       to support and recognise early childhood professionals at each stage of their

       For trainee teachers: 

  • Support and professional growth opportunities through the ECDA Training
     for full-time Early Childhood Care and Education students at the Polytechnics
    and ITE. 
  • Enhanced internships for both full-time EC Polytechnic Diploma and ITE
    Higher Nitec 
    Students by introducing more structured learning outcomes,
    mentoring and a longer 
    duration to strengthen applied learning. 
  • An Early Childhood Capability Grant has also been introduced to support enhanced
    internship host centres 

 For in-service professionals:

  • ECDA launched the SkillsFuture Study Award for Early Childhood Sector in
    January 2016 to support experienced EC educators to deepen their skills and prepare
    to take on 
    larger job roles in the sector. 
  • Introduced the Continuing Education and Training (CET) Modular Diploma in Early 
    Childhood Care and Education (from Oct 2015) for in-service upgraders, which recognises
    learning and competencies acquired on-the-job for course entry and reduction
    of total course hours. 
  • Appointed early childhood professionals who display exemplary leadership
    expertise as ECDA Fellows 
  • Implemented the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Masterplan,
    courses and support measures to help teachers upgrade their competencies. 

 For mid-career entrants:

  • The Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) for Pre-school Teachers is
    an accelerated training programme (12-13 months) under the Place-and-Train mode 
    for  career-switchers with tertiary qualifications. 
  • Place-and-Train Programme for Educarers (educators who work with infants and/or
    young children aged between 2 months to 3 years). The programme is delivered over
    to 10 months. Trainees benefit from the programme’s structured work-and-study
    model b
    spending a part of their working hours attending classroom training. 



2.   What is the Skills Framework?

       The Skills Framework is a SkillsFuture initiative developed for the Singapore workforce
promote skills mastery and lifelong learning. 

       Developed by the government together with the employers, unions, industry associations
professional bodies, the Skills Framework provides useful information on:

  • Sector and employment opportunities
  • Career pathways
  • Occupations and job roles
  • Required existing and emerging skills
  • Training programmes for skills upgrading and mastery

3.   What is the Skills Framework for Early Childhood Care and Education?
       (“SF for ECCE”) 

       The SF for ECCE is an integral part of the Early Childhood Manpower Plan (ECMP).
       The ECMP
sets out the manpower and skills development strategy for the ECCE sector.
       It also includes 
various thrusts aimed at supporting job re-design and enhancing HR
       practices and working 
conditions for talent attraction and retention. 

       Th e SF  for ECCE supports the ECMP by identifying emerging skills for job roles as well as 
          articulating a skills-based career development and skills upgrading. It is the second Skills 
          Framework to be launched and was developed by ECDA and WDA in collaboration with the 
          educators, employers, education and training institutions (which include UniSIM, three 
          Polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education), union and associations of the ECCE  

        It provides up-to-date information about the ECCE sector and employment landscape, its 
        career pathways comprising the Educarer, Teacher and Leader tracks, its 13 occupations,
        ​210 existing and emerging skills and competencies, as well as relevant education and
        training programmes.

4.   How will the SF for ECCE benefit the EC sector? 

       The SF for ECCE will guide job seekers, educators and operators/centre leaders to plan
and competency-based career development, by referencing information on the
       ECCE sector 
and manpower landscape, occupations and skills, programmes and initiatives
       available w
ithin the framework.

       Aspiring and existing educators can use the SF for ECCE to make informed choices
career development and skills upgrading. They can assess their career interests and
athways to embark on, prepare for the desired EC occupations, identify
programmes to acquire new skills, to upgrade existing ones or develop expertise.
educators acquire deeper level of competencies aligned to their desired
       occupations over 
time, the overall quality of the EC sector will be enhanced.

       Operators and centre leaders can reference the SF for ECCE to strengthen HR practices
provide more career development opportunities for educators, thus attracting,
       developing an
retaining good quality educators. They can use it to identify relevant skills
competencies required for their educators, and design/optimise job roles and
structure needed  to support business needs. 

       On the training front, the SF for ECCE will help training providers improve their ECCE training 
       programmes in meeting industry’s needs by strengthening their alignment to the skills and 
        competencies identified in the SF. They will be able to develop relevant programmes,
       such as 
bite-size modularised courses, which could facilitate the recognition of prior learning
offer flexible mode of skills upgrading. They will also be able to readily identify the new
eme rging skills, both occupational and essential, for which appropriate training
       could be 
provided to educators.

5.    How does ECDA intend to implement the Skills Framework? 

       ECDA will work closely with the following key stakeholders to implement the Skills Framework:

  • For  In-service EC Educators: ECDA will develop Professional Development resources to 
    help educators plan and take ownership of their learning and career development,
    to the ECCE career pathways and skills and competencies within the
    Skills Framework. 
  • For Centre Leaders, HR Practitioners and HQ Staff: ECDA and WDA have organised 
    workshops to guide centre leaders, HR practitioners and HQ staff to use the Skills 
    Framework to enhance HR capabilities and PD practices. 
  • For Education and Training Providers:  ECDA and WDA have conducted a briefing for 
    Approved Training Organisations (ATOs) accredited under the Singapore Workforce
    Qualification (WSQ) system to align their courses with the SF for ECCE. Support
    will be 
    provided to education and training providers that wish to continue running their
    WSQ qualifications and ECDA-endorsed modular courses. ECDA and WDA will
    also be 
    working with the local universities and Polytechnics to align their ECCE
    programmes to
    the SF for ECCE. 

6.    Why are Para-Educators/Para-Educarers and Assistant Teachers not included in

       The  ECCE career pathways show possible development routes for ECDA-registered
ducators who have the required certificate or diploma-level qualification. All occupations
       within pathways have clear and specific skills defined to ensure that all educators possess
relevant knowledge and skills to work with young children and progress in the sector. 

       Para-Educators/Para-Educarers and Assistant Teachers are encouraged to go for
upgrading to enable them to become ECDA-registered educators. They may explore
manpower initiatives which ECDA offers to support educators in every stage
       of their careers.

7.    Is it mandatory for centres and organisations to adopt the Skills Framework?

      Operators play a key role in the development and growth of their staff.  ECDA and WDA
strongly encourage centres/organisations to adopt the SF for ECCE, within the contexts
their own organisation and to suit their organisational needs.

Alternate Entry Pathways to Early Childhood Training​

8.   How would EC educators benefit from the alternate upgrading pathways? 

       In-service educators who have demonstrated that they have the passion and relevant 
       competencies will have the opportunity to realise their professional and career aspirations
the early childhood sector. They will now have the opportunity to embark on training
to upgrade and develop themselves professionally, even if they have not attained
academic  qualifications.   

9.    How  would employers benefit from the alternate upgrading pathways?

       The alternate pathways will help employers in the retention and development of their early 
       childhood staff.  Well-trained educators will also allow employers to strengthen the quality of 
       th eir programmes to better meet the needs of parents and children.

10.    How will the alternate course entry pathways ensure that the quality of EC
is upheld? 

         Th e alternate pathways will still have certain requirements for course entry, although it will 
         recognise a broader set of criteria for course entry, such as competencies acquired from
         prior learning and work experience and good job performance.  For instance, trainees
         may be 
required to go through interviews to demonstrate effective oral and written
skills, obtain a strong recommendation from their centre and pass
         pre-requisite modules.

11.    What are the available courses for enrolment via the alternate entry pathways? 

         The following Early Childhood teacher training programmes are open for enrolment via 
         alternative entry pathways:


Training Provider​

​WSQ Advanced Certificate in Early Years (ACEY)​

Piloted at SEED Institute and KLC International Institute from Apr 2017​​​ ​

WSQ Advanced Certificate in Early Childhood Care and Education (ACECCE)​​

​CET Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education (DECCE-T) ​

​Currently offered at Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic​

         Interested applicants may enquire directly with the respective training providers.

12.   What are the requirements for educators to embark on the EC training programmes
         via the 
alternate pathways?

         For entry into the EC training programmes via the alternate pathways, candidates must be
service teachers with relevant working experience and undergo an interview
process. Selected candidates will also be required to pass pre-requisite modules
         before b
eing granted full admission into the training programme.  More details will be
         released at a
later  date.

Professional Conversion Programme and Place-and-Train Programme for EC Teacher Training Courses


13.    What  are the new Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) and Place-and-Train         
         Programme for EC teacher training courses? 

         The Pr ofessional Conversion Programme (PCP) WSQ Professional Diploma in Early 
         Childhood Care and Education (WSQ PDECCE), and Place-and-Train WSQ Advanced
         Certificate in Early  Childhood Care and Education (WSQ ACECCE) programmes will be
from 1 Oct 2016  onwards. 

         These programmes will allow a trainee to be employed by an ECDA-licensed
         child care centre 
or ECDA-registered kindergarten while undergoing training to take
         on the knowledge and 
competencies required for their new job role. 

         The Pla ce-and -Train and PCP programmes are open to all employer-sponsored
who are Singapore Citizens or Singapore Permanent Residents and newly-hired
         (no more
than 6 months prior to programme commencement) by ECDA-licensed child care
         centres or E
CDA- registered kindergartens. Applicants must also fulfil the minimum
         course entry

14.    Wh ere can mid-career candidates sign up for Early Childhood programmes that are 
          offered  in the Place-and-Train mode?

          Mid-career candidates ca n undertake the following Professional Conversion Programme
         (PCP) and Place-and-Train programmes, at both the Diploma and Certificate level.
         These programmes  are offered in the Place-and-Train mode and allow trainees to attain
ompetencies for a career in the Early Childhood profession while earning a salary.  


Training Institution​

Diploma Programmes​ ​

(NEW) WSQ Professional Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education (PDECCE)​

​​​- SEED Institute

- KLC International Institute

​Diploma (Conversion) in Kindergarten Education – Teaching (NVKET)​

​- Singapore Polytechnic

​WSQ Professional Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education – Childcare (PDECCE-CC)

​- SEED Institute

- KLC International Institute

​Certificate Programmes​ ​

​(NEW) WSQ Advanced Certificate in Early Childhood Care and Education (ACECCE)

​- SEED Institute

- KLC International Institute

​WSQ Advanced Certificate in Early Years (ACEY)

​- SEED Institute

- KLC International Institute

​WSQ Higher Certificate in Infant Care (HCIC)​​

​- SEED Institute

- KLC International Institute​

15.    When do the new Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) and Place-and-Train 
         programme commence, and where will they be offered?

​Training Agency

SEED Institute​

KLC International Institute​


​WSQ PDECCE (EL) – for English Language Teachers

​​WSQ PDECCE (CL) – for Chinese Language Teachers

​Minimum Course Entry Requirements​

​5 GCE ‘O’ level credits in different subjects including English

​5 GCE ‘O’ level credits in different subjects including Mother Tongue

Commencement Date

​22 Nov 2016

​28 Nov 2016

​Registration Deadline

​4 Nov 2016​

​14 Nov 2016​

*WSQ ACECCE programme will be available from Apr 2017 onwards.

[33 employers have committed to adopting the PCP and Place-and-Train programmes to r ecruit and train new EC educators.] 




16.    What is the objective of the SMART Solutions initiative? 

         The objective of this SMART Solutions initiative is to enable preschools to move away from
         prevailing labour intensive work processes and to adopt innovative technology based
         solutions, so as to deliver productivity gains and address critical gaps in preschool
         administration and management matters within the early childhood industry.

17.    W​ hat kind of benefits can preschools expect through adopting these solutions? 

          These solut ions will improve the working conditions and productivity of pre-schools in
day operations. They will help streamline administrative duties for educators,
         for example,
collecting and maintaining student records, attendance and
         temperature taking, portfolio
 management, and communication with parents.
         Some solutions are showcased at the Early 
Childhood Conference 2016. 




18 .    W​hat is the objective for the day off on Teachers’ Day? 

         The objective of the sector-wide Teacher’s Day is to recognise the critical role played by
 childhood educators in caring for and teaching our young. ​

19 .    W​ill parents be inconvenienced by the closure day on Teachers’ Day?

         In our survey conducted earlier this year, parents of children in preschools strongly
the suggestion to have such a closure day. Today, kindergartens and many
         child care centres
already practice having a day-off on Teachers day, and this move
         will ensure that the sector
as a whole celebrate and recognise the contributions of all
         our educators. 

         ​To reduce any inconvenience to parents, centres are advised to inform parents at the
         beginning of the year of their planned closure days, so that parents may make
for alternative care during these days. 




20.    W​ hat is the Early Childhood Conference? 

         The Early Childhood Conference (ECC) has been an annual signature event of ECDA
2013. This year, it will be held at SUNTEC Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre
         on 30
  September and 1 October 2016 (Friday & Saturday) from 9 a.m. to 5.15 p.m.
         The Conference
 provides a continuing professional development platform for
childhood professionals to learn and build networks with overseas and local experts
         and practitioners. It also provides a
platform to  recognise the outstanding early childhood
         professionals and centres. On the first
day, ECDA will  recognise outstanding educators
         and centres through the Singapore Pre-
School Accreditation  Framework (SPARK)
         Certificate Presentation Ceremony. On the second da
y, ECDA will announce the new
         initiatives for early childhood educators and celebrate the
achievements of                      
         outstanding  educators and recipients of the ECDA  Awards 2016. 

2​1.    W​ hat can EC professionals expect from the 2-day conference? 

          EC professionals will be able to attend keynote and plenary presentations by overseas
local experts, hands-on workshops as well as learning journeys as part of ECC 2016.
         They will
also be able to network with one another and gain insights in best practices in the
Award winning centres will showcase their programmes at the exhibition.  
         Various go
vernment agencies and community partners will also share resources for
         educators and

For enquiries, please email us at or at our hotline at 6735 9213.