SINGAPORE — Stopping short of saying the Ministry of Education (MOE) is jettisoning its previously stated aim of hiring only graduates as teachers, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said some non-graduates who have the passion and predisposition for teaching will also be recruited.
On Monday, the first day of the debate on the motion to endorse the Applied Study in Polytechnics and ITE Review (ASPIRE) report, some Members of Parliament (MPs) questioned whether the MOE’s position had changed.
In response, Mr Heng said yesterday: “The MOE will continue to recruit graduates as we need teachers with strong grasp of academic subjects to help our children build the foundation. But we will also hire some non-graduates who have the passion and predisposition for teaching and help them deepen their skills.”
In 2008, the MOE expressed its aim of hiring only degree holders for primary schools by next year to ensure teachers have a stronger mastery of content and pedagogy, in addition to the aptitude for teaching and a heart for nurturing young people.
Responding to TODAY’s queries on whether it would continue with the approach, the Ministry of Education said last month that it would “continue to hire graduates and non-graduates who best meet the learning needs of our students”.
Yesterday, Mr Heng reiterated that outstanding non-graduate teachers would be placed on the graduate pay scale as those who do not have degrees could “develop the depth of knowledge which, along with other qualities such as care and skill in their craft, will allow them to excel as teachers”.
Separately, Social and Family Development Minister Chan Chun Sing also said in Parliament that degrees are not a requirement for early childhood educators.
“What we want is to have people who are appropriately trained, adequate for their jobs and not whether they have a degree or diploma per se … I think we all know what we are looking for in the early childhood sector are people who can relate to children, people who can care and have the heart for them — a degree may neither be necessary nor sufficient in itself,” added Mr Chan.
MP Lee Bee Wah (Nee Soon GRC) asked whether training for early childhood educators could be “made easier”, to which Mr Chan replied that most of them are recruited on a place-and-train basis. This means those hired have shown the right attitude and skill sets that will assure parents they are able to care for their children. They are then given training in modules along the way, he added.
Reiterating that the focus was not on an applicant’s academic qualifications, Mr Chan said: “We all recall that many of our parents never went through these kinds of courses, but brought us up all right.”
source of news & image credit: todayonline.com