Collaborative Effort Between Educators from Singapore and India to Build Capacity in Early Childhood Education in Mumbai

Three-year collaboration brings together ECE practitioners from Singapore and India, potentially benefiting up to 240 early childhood educators and 2,400 underprivileged children in Mumbai

Mumbai, India, 19 July 2017 – The Singapore International Foundation (SIF), partnering with the Mumbai-based Muktangan, a programme of The Paragon Charitable Trust (PCT), has launched a three-year partnership to increase the quality of early childhood education in Mumbai. The Early Childhood Education (ECE) Curriculum Enhancement and Pedagogy Project will be led by a team of four Singapore International Volunteers (SIVs) who are pioneers in the Singapore ECE sector. 
Through this project, ECE educators from Singapore will work with their counterparts in Mumbai to enhance the cuIrriculum, pedagogical and assessment skills of ECE educators catering to children between three and eight years of age (pre-school, Grades 1 and 2). They will also equip a group of Indian ECE educators with the skills and knowledge as master trainers to perform cascade training to other ECE educators in the sector, creating a sustainable positive impact. 
The ECE Curriculum Enhancement and Pedagogy Project also augments the Maharashtra State Government’s efforts to encourage early childhood care and education to better prepare children for future learning. ECE helps children develop social and cognitive skills during their crucial early years, positively impacting their later learning and growth. 
Besides facilitating professional sharing and knowledge transfer between established ECE practitioners in both countries, this project also functions as a scalable model aimed at heralding a long-term positive impact in the ECE sector in the region. Over the course of three years, up to 240 Indian ECE educators from Paragon Charitable Trust’s Muktangan schools and other non-profit ECE schools in Mumbai as well 2,400 underprivileged children are expected to benefit from the collaboration, through the following initiatives:  
  • Training-of-Trainers workshops for a group of 40 master trainers
  • A management workshop for ECE school leaders and programme heads
  • A teacher resource guide which will be produced by both the SIVs and master trainers and used in teacher training programmes to teach pedagogy skills
  • A symposium to function as a knowledge platform for sharing and exchange of best practices, and
  • A study visit to Singapore for select master trainers to see the best practices shared being applied in the Singaporean context which will guide them in applying or adapting practices for their own schools. 
The SIF is well-placed to facilitate the collaboration between ECE educators from both countries following the success of a similar four-year project in Ullon, West Bengal, in 2009. The Ullon project saw marked improvements in pre-identified areas such as teaching approach, learning materials, and trainer’s leadership – key areas also identified for the Mumbai project.  
The Singaporean ECE educators who are leading this effort are also part of a much larger pool of specialist Singapore International Volunteers (SIVs). Over the years they have collaborated with partner organisations in host countries on initiatives that aim to help enhance the skills and capacity of their counterparts, who further cascade the learnings to their colleagues to uplift the lives of a larger pool of beneficiaries. The SIVs are highly efficacious in their skills-transfer, as illustrated by a study conducted in six cities in markets including India. Almost all respondents (98%) viewed SIVs as being effective at transferring new skills. (You may find more details on the study here).
Ms Jean Tan, Executive Director, Singapore International Foundation said, “The Singapore International Foundation creates platforms for people-to-people collaboration. We believe that when like-minded parties come together, we can work hand in hand to share insights and effect positive social change. We hope that through sharing resources and knowledge in this field of expertise, we are able to raise the level of early childhood education and positively impact these young children’s development.”
Mr Sunil Mehta, Chairman and Managing Trustee, Paragon Charitable Trust said, “We are excited to work together with the SIF to enhance the ECE curriculum to support children’s learning from a young age. This collaborative effort will not only impact the children but it will nurture ECE educators to expand their knowledge and skills in this sector.”
Ms Kannigadevi Ravindran, SIF Specialist Team Leader, and Capability Support Senior Manager and Special Education Mentor, Presbyterian Community Services said, “I am looking forward to being able to share my experiences in the ECE sector – through these shared resources and expertise, I believe that we can help grow the ECE sector in Mumbai for the children’s holistic development. Learning happens both ways – I am definitely looking to learn from my Indian counterparts on their approach to ECE and how they overcome challenges.”
The Early Childhood Education Curriculum Enhancement and Pedagogy Project is another milestone in the 22-year friendship between the SIF and communities in India to uplift lives and build enduring friendships for a better world. 



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