by | Jun 2, 2023 | EDUCATION | 0 comments

Photo Credit – Freepik

Greater professional development and upskilling opportunities for early childhood educators ensure the sector stays competitive and progressive. Refreshed Early Childhood Education Leadership (ECEL) Certificate Programme promotes greater flexibility and career advancement. ECEL graduates can further pursue a full-fledged SUSS part-time degree programme and accelerate graduation with earned credits.

NTUC First Campus (NFC) and the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) have renewed their partnership to advance the Early Childhood sector. The new five-year agreement aims to equip early childhood educators with advanced teaching practices and leadership skills, empowering them to take on more strategic roles.

A key initiative under this partnership is the first-of-its-kind Early Childhood Education Leadership (ECEL) Certificate Programme, which was launched in 2020. ECEL participants work and study in a curriculum towards the completion of a Certificate jointly issued by SUSS and NFC. ECEL closely integrates classroom learning with a structured 12-month on-the-job training co-designed, co-delivered and co-assessed by both partners. This work-and-study structure is aligned with the national agenda to grow this into a ‘mainstream pathway’ to train and upskill the early childhood talent force.

With the new agreement, ECEL has been refreshed based on past cohorts’ experiences to make learning more flexible while boosting career progression. It will be offered to a new cohort this July. Beyond the continuous update of the curriculum, the programme structure has been adjusted to better meet early childhood educators’ schedules. Enhancements include change in assessment strategies and moving from the current two 6-week terms to a single 12-week semester to foster flexible and deeper learning.

ECEL is tailored for selected NFC early childhood educators with leadership potential and is fully sponsored by NFC. The programme provides them the opportunity to work and advance their leadership skills at the same time. Besides building and deepening participants’ skills and competencies, the ECEL programme also helps them fulfil their aspirations for a university education while continuing to pursue their career. Alumni of the ECEL programme who choose to enrol in a part-time degree with SUSS, including but not limited to the Bachelor of Early Childhood Education, will receive advanced standing of up to 30 credit units, enabling them to complete their degrees in a shorter time frame.

Through this collaboration, early childhood educators will also gain access to the latest research, industry best practices, and professional development opportunities. This allows educators to be equipped with up-to-date knowledge and skills to meet the constantly evolving needs of the sector. To date, 60 NFC educators have completed the programme and about 40% of them have been promoted to higher roles.

“ECEL has been an invaluable experience for me. It has not only helped me overcome my fear and anxiety towards assignments and exams, but also provided me with knowledge and skills that I could immediately apply in my daily work. Seeing the positive outcomes of my efforts was inspiring and motivated me to excel. The support from my leaders and colleagues in the programme was also instrumental in my success. Thanks to ECEL, I feel well-prepared for my new role,” said Ms Jeanne Tan, an ECEL graduate, who excelled in her assignments, earning top grades in several course modules and was promoted from Deputy Centre Lead to Principal at My First Skool, demonstrating the programme’s positive impact on participants’ personal and professional growth.

“Empowering our people for growth is a key pillar of NTUC First Campus’s people strategy. Our partnership with SUSS supports our educators in their lifelong learning journeys, with the ECEL programme serving as an important enabler to grow our talent pipeline. I am heartened by the enthusiastic response to the programme and delighted to see the graduates grow in confidence as well as in their leadership roles. I look forward to further developing our team of talented educators and advancing the sector together,” said Ms Chan Su Yee, CEO of NTUC First Campus.

Professor Robbie Goh, SUSS Provost, said, “This renewed partnership is recognition of SUSS’ expertise in adult learning, particularly among enterprises that need to grow their leadership talent and increase the competencies of their workforce. The revamp of the ECEL programme is also well-timed with the launch of SUSS’ new undergraduate curriculum which will deepen and broaden our students’ competencies and skills to navigate an increasingly disruptive and uncertain world. We are honoured by this opportunity to partner again with NTUC First Campus to grow a well-qualified pool of early childhood educators, and to upskill them for the challenges ahead.”