Promoting Early Childhood Education in Singapore
Association of Early Childhood and Training Services or ASSETS aims to promote high professional standards in early childhood education centres and teacher training.
From today, Singapore will see the formation of a new association for early childhood centre owners and training providers. Known as the Association of Early Childhood and Training Services or ASSETS, it aims to be the voice of the industry by advancing and promoting early childhood education in Singapore. It will also encourage and foster the observance of high professional standards by early childhood education centres and adopt a Code of Practice for the industry.
The founding members of ASSETS are: Advent-Links-SAUC Education, Carpe Diem Holdings, First Learning Training Centre, G8 Education, Julia Gabriel Group, Kinderland Educare Services, Knowledge Universe, Modern Montessori International (MMI), Nanyang Institute of Management and Zee Group.
ASSETS President Dr Chandroo (Executive Chairman & CEO of MMI) said:”ASSETS will work in line with the Singapore government’s thrust to define new standards of professionalism and quality among pre-school operators in Singapore.”
“More importantly, we intend to reach out to parents and relevant authorities to promote better understanding of what early childhood educators do, the challenges we face and how we can all work together to help Singapore children get a headstart in life-long learning.
”We also want to transform the image of the early childhood profession to attract more people to enter the industry and take up fulfilling careers in nurturing our young.
Therefore we urge early childhood educators to join us to achieve our vision which is to advocate for the highest quality investment in teacher training and the education of the nation’s most precious assets – our young children.”
The Association represents an increasingly important sector of the national education system. It reflects Singapore’s drive to enlarge the pool of quality early childhood education as part of its vision to encourage parenthood and the nurturing of talent in Singapore. The number of pre-schools has increased substantially over the years to meet the rising demand for early childhood education.
Singapore enjoys a high pre-school participation rate with more than 95% of children aged four to six years enrolled in kindergartens or childcare centres. Today there are about 500 kindergartens and almost 1000 childcare centres. This excludes children who may be home- schooled or enrolled in pre-school education in international schools, special education schools, playgroups and other enrichment centres.
Dr. Lily Wong (Director of Advent Links-SAUC Education Centre) indicated that raising the quality standards of the industry is one of the key objectives of ASSETS. She said, “We plan to achieve this through research and development in early childhood education skills, methods and techniques. We will also conduct specialized training programmes, and workshops in early childhood education and related fields for our members.”
The Association will also launch a Code of Practice to ensure best practices in the industry aimed at meeting quality benchmarks.This Code will be announced when it is ready in early 2013.
ASSETS will represent the views and aspirations of its members and the industry in addressing issues facing pre-school owners and teacher training institutions. It will work with government departments and other relevant authorities and bodies on early childhood education matters.
ASSETS will also establish, maintain affiliations and co-operation with relevant organizations internationally.
With the current supply crunch of early childhood educators, ASSETS will focus on not just the training of teachers, but also seek to brighten the image of pre-school educators.
Said Dr Chandroo, “Salaries of trained early childhood educators have gone up over the years. We have to work towards improving the image of pre-school teachers to gain wider recognition for their professionalism and contributions to society.”
Ms. Sally May Tan (CEO of Knowledge Universe South East Asia) who is spearheading membership drive, said “Our Association is targeting to recruit about 200 members by 2013. We hope many will see ASSETS as a relevant vehicle from which to share common concerns and solutions. “
There will be two categories of members – Ordinary and Associate Members. Ordinary Membership is open to owners of childcare centres, kindergartens, infant and toddler care centres and early childhood care and education training providers approved under the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) and/or under the Ministry of Education (MOE) and/or the Council of Private Education.
Associate membership is open to owners of Preschool Enrichment centres, Student Care services, or Preschool service providers as well as subsidiary companies, licensees, franchisees or sub-franchisees of an Ordinary Member.
Annual membership fees for Ordinary Members and Associate members will be S$120 and S$60 respectively.
As part of its membership recruitment drive, ASSETS will set up a booth at MCYS –Child Care Seminar Exhibition which will be held at MaxAtria, Singapore Expo on October 5, 2012. Application forms for memberships will be available at the booth. Early bird members, who sign up during the exhibition will receive a waiver for their one-time registration fee of S$50.
ASSETS is a non-profit organisation formed in Singapore in September 2012 to advance and promote early childhood education in Singapore. The Association will focus on driving quality and excellence in education of young children and teacher training.