MTL teachers in pre-schools

Published Date: 06 November 2017 12:00 AM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Ang Hin Kee, Ang Mo Kio GRC


To ask the Minister for Education (Schools) (a) what are the plans to ramp up the number of local Chinese language teachers for the early childhood education sector; (b) whether the Ministry will consider bursaries, scholarships and study awards to encourage students to take up careers in this sector and to specialise in the teaching of Chinese language to pre-schoolers; and (c) whether there will be conversion programmes and awards to encourage those strong in the Chinese language to do a mid-career switch.

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Dr Intan Azura Mokhtar, Ang Mo Kio GRC


To ask the Minister for Education (Schools) (a) whether there are plans to actively recruit more local mother tongue language teachers for the early childhood education sector; and (b) whether the Ministry will work with the Ministry of Manpower to develop conversion programmes and awards for mid-career Singaporeans and PRs to teach mother tongue languages at the pre-school level.


1. The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) and Ministry of Education (MOE) have been working actively to grow the number of local preschool teachers, including Mother Tongue Language teachers.

2. Firstly, we worked with the educational institutions to expand places for training of early childhood professionals. The Early Childhood Diploma intake at the polytechnics has increased significantly by more than 70% from 380 places in 2015 to 675 in 2016. Since 2016, students who wish to become preschool Mother Tongue Language or MTL teachers, can pursue specialised MTL tracks in Early Childhood at the polytechnics. We offer numerous training awards to support students in their studies, such as course fee sponsorship, allowance grants and professional development grants, for both the English programme and the specialised MTL tracks.

3. To encourage mid-career entrants to join the sector, ECDA, Skills Future Singapore (SSG) and Workforce Singapore (WSG) provide support for mid-career entrants who enrol in English or MTL Early Childhood diplomas offered by a range of providers. The support is available in the form of course fee subsidies, in-training allowances and salary grants under the Professional Conversion Programme, and other place-and-train modes.

4. Since 2015, these efforts have grown the pool of local teachers dedicated to Mother Tongue Language teaching by 35% to about 3,300 today.

5. In addition, we are also working to raise the profile of MTL teachers in the early childhood sector and to encourage more teachers to specialise in this field. The annual Outstanding Preschool MTL Teacher Award seeks to recognise preschool MTL teachers who have demonstrated passion, innovation and dedication. To date, 63 MTL teachers have received this Award.

6. Going forward, ECDA will continue to work closely with the new National Institute for Early Childhood Development and other training partners to ensure a sustainable pipeline of quality MTL preschool teachers. Together with the sector, we will also make efforts to provide adequate recognition for MTL and all preschool teachers so their passion in the profession can be sustained.

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