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4 September 2006 


          MOE UNVEILS $250M PLAN TO BOOST THE TEACHING PROFESSION   

       New “Grow” Package Strengthens Teacher Development and Recognition

             The Ministry of Education (MOE) will be spending $250m over the next three years, to ensure that the teaching profession continues to attract, motivate and retain good teachers, capable school leaders, and dedicated specialists. 

2.          This was revealed at the annual Teachers’ Mass Lecture on 4 September 2006, by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister for Education and Second Minister for Finance. Addressing a gathering of more than 5,000 Education Officers, he introduced the new GROW package, for the professional and personal Growth of Education Officers, through better Recognition, Opportunities, and seeing to their Well-being.   

3.         The following are the key recommendations that will be implemented in phases starting January 2007.  They are based on a comprehensive review and consultation with 2,300 teachers and stakeholders starting Mar 2006 through till Aug 2006.

Professional Development and Growth

4.         MOE will enhance sabbatical opportunities for teachers to give them time to undertake purposeful professional development.  We will help teachers to do so by enhancing the Professional Development Leave (PDL) scheme.  Today, teachers with at least 6 years of service can take half-pay leave under the scheme to recharge and renew themselves.  Now, an Enhanced PDL will allow a teacher who has had at least 12 years of experience to take up to 2½ months (1 school term) of full-pay leave (see Table 1). 

 Table 1: Professional Development Leave Scheme

Years of Trained Service

Eligible for

Half-Pay leave

Eligible for Full Pay

At least 6 years

Eligible for 1 month of half-pay for every year of trained service

-

At least 12 years

Eligible for 1 month of half-pay for every year of trained service

New

Eligible for up to 1 term (2.5 mths) of full-pay leave through conversion of 2 mths of half pay-leave to 1 mth full pay leave, plus 7 mths of half-pay leave


5.         To support our teachers in pursuing part-time postgraduate programmes, teachers will also have the option of either taking PDL at one stretch, or make flexi-PDL arrangements to spread out the leave over different periods of time.

6.         MOE will introduce a new Learning & Development Scheme.  In the scheme, teachers will be entitled to claim up to $400 or $700 per year, for any learning-related expenses that they choose (see Table 2 below).  Teachers can claim for items such as subscriptions to magazines and journals, professional societies, and purchases of computers and IT-accessories, just to name a few.

Table 2: The Learning & Development Scheme 

Years of Trained Service

Quantum per Year

<15 years

$400

≥15 years

$700

 

       

 

7.         In addition, every school will eventually have a School Staff Developer (SSD), a senior personnel whose job is to ensure that the training and professional development programmes are customised to our teacher’s needs, while supporting the school’s goals.  The SSD may be a more senior teacher or a Head of Department.  The SSD will also work with other Senior Teachers and Heads of Departments to mentor and coach teachers in the areas of teaching and career development. 

8.         A new centre for teacher development will be built to serve as a focal point for the professional development of teachers.  The centre will provide a venue for teachers to come together in learning circles; or to undertake action research, curriculum designs and pedagogical innovations.  The centre will also serve as a meeting place for both local and overseas expertise.  The centre will incorporate both the elements of a heritage gallery to showcase the history of the teaching profession, and showcase the use of the latest technology to show the way forward.

Recognition and Opportunities
 
9.         MOE is committed to ensuring that total compensation for Education Officers remains competitive.  Based on the salary study undertaken by its consultants, this is indeed so for most teachers.  MOE will however be making improvements in three areas:-

  1. Strengthening retention benefits. The annual CONNECT Plan contribution that MOE puts into an officer's account will increase by about 30% within the first 15 years of service and by about 20% thereafter. The aim of the CONNECT Plan is to encourage CONtiNuity, Experience and Commitment in Teaching.  A teacher with 15 years of service can expect a total CONNECT Plan payout of $56,600 to $78,400 under the revised terms, up from the current $43,600 to $60,500.  A teacher who has 40 years of service would receive a total payout of $120,000 to $160,000, up from $90,000 to $120,000.  The revised CONNECT benefits will take effect in 2007.
  2. Starting salaries.  MOE is increasing the starting salaries of Pass/ Pass (Merit) Degree and Diploma recruits by 1 increment (which is equivalent to an increase of 5-8%) with effect from 1 Sep 06.  The current starting salaries of trainee teachers holding other qualifications remain competitive.
  3. Mid-career entrants.  MOE recognises that mid-career entrants make valuable contributions to the Education Service.  We will be reviewing their pay so that those who do well are given due recognition and are not disadvantaged relative to other teachers.

10.        There will also be more career options and advancement opportunities for teachers, along both the teaching and leadership tracks:-

  1. A classroom teacher can now look forward to an additional promotion during his or her teaching career with the creation of a new promotional grade for General Education Officers (GEO) (GEO2A3/GEO1A3).
  2. The role of Senior Teachers (STs), whose traditional focus has been in pedagogy and mentoring, will now be broadened.  Schools can appoint STs in more varied areas of expertise, such as school-based curriculum design, testing & assessment, staff development, counseling.
  3. A new apex position, Master Teacher Level 2, for promising teachers will be created. The Master Teacher 2, whose job level is equivalent to that of a Vice-Principal, will operate at the zonal or national levels.
  4. A majority of Heads of Department (HODs) can currently be promoted to the first Senior Education Officer (SEO) grade.  To enhance the promotional prospects for HODs, outstanding HODs can look forward to a promotion to the next higher SEO grade.

More Flexible Work Arrangements and Support for Teachers

11.        The Part-Time Teaching Scheme (PTTS) was introduced in Year 2000 to allow for more flexible work arrangements and is currently open to serving female teachers with children under 6 years of age, as well as teachers aged 55 years or above. In support of the Government’s pro-family policies, both female and male married officers with children under 12 years of age will now be eligible for the PTTS.

12.        MOE will encourage schools with good practices in promoting work-life harmony to share them among all schools.

13.        MOE will also press on with our efforts to create more time and space for teachers to reflect and inject quality into their lessons, through recruiting and deploying an additional 3,000 quality teachers into schools by 2010.  The creation of several new positions, including the new School Staff Developer, will supplement our efforts to boost the size of the teaching workforce to 30,000 by 2010. MOE will set out to recruit.  An update of the progress of these initiatives is provided below:-

Type of Support Staff

Target

Progress

Vice Principal (Administration)

Schools with the need for VP (Admin)

21 appointed, with another 6 more by end-2006

Full-time School Counsellor (FTSCs)

1 for each school by 2008

86% of secondary schools have FTSCs (trained or undergoing practicum), 100% (trained) by mid-2007.

Recruitment & training for primary schools and JCs on-track.

Special Needs Officers

236 by 2010

37 deployed, with another 50 per year up to 2010

Co-Curricular Programme Executives

1 per school by 2007

60 CCPEs are currently deployed, with another 120 expected to join the schools by year-end, and the remaining 180 by mid-2007

Background

14.        Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister for Education, announced at the Senior Education Officer Promotion Ceremony on 13 April this year that MOE would be conducting a review of the teachers’ career and professional development, reward and recognition structures.  This review represents the government’s firm commitment to ensuring that the teaching service remains attractive and fulfilling. 

 



 
 

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