Speech by Ms Juthika Ramanathan, SIF Governor, At the Launch of the Early Childhood Education Curriculum Enhancement and Pedagogy Project in Mumbai, India
Shri. Nand Kumar (I.A.S.), Principal Secretary, School Education & Sports Department,
Shrimati Vinita Ved Singal, Principal Secretary Women & Child Development Department,
Shrimati Elizabeth Mehta, Founder-Muktangan and Trustee-Paragon Charitable Trust,
Shri. Sunil Mehta, Chairman and Managing Trustee, Paragon Charitable Trust,
Ladies and gentlemen
Good morning and thank you for joining us at the launch of the Singapore International Foundation (SIF) and Paragon Charitable Trust’s (PCT) “Early Childhood Education Curriculum Enhancement and Pedagogy Project” in Mumbai. We are delighted and honoured by the presence of Shri. Nand Kumar (I.A.S.), Principal Secretary, School Education & Sports Department , Shrimati Vinita Ved Singal, Principal Secretary, Women & Child Development Department.
Today marks the start of a three-year collaboration project by the SIF and PCT towards building capabilities and capacity amongst early childhood educators in Mumbai. Our shared vision is to enhance and raise the overall quality of early childhood education (ECE) services and standards in this region. We believe that equipping the educators with an enhanced set of skills will facilitate better programme planning and pedagogy. This would directly impact their wards - laying a firm foundation for the physical, intellectual, social and emotional development needed for the child to succeed in life.
In our bid to ensure that access to quality formative education and skills is made available to our children, both Singapore and India are pursuing a collective goal forming the bedrock for this partnership. In Singapore, we currently have about 16,000 ECE educators and we have been conceptualising and rolling out schemes to recruit and train up to 25% more within the next three years to meet the demand for qualified and quality educators. Our team of Singapore International Volunteers (SIVs) from the ECE sector in Singapore, are excited to exchange insights and share best practices with their Indian counterparts in this important area of developing ECE professionals.
For this collaboration, it is our honour to partner with PCT which through its Muktangan schools has made it their mission to give disadvantaged children a better start in life. This partnership will not only connect Singaporean and Indian ECE educators to share and exchange knowledge, skills, and best practices in their respective domains but also will also enhance the curriculum and quality assessment tools of our Indian counterparts with the latest skills and knowledge in the field.
Up to 240 ECE educators are expected to be trained from this project, benefiting more than 2,400 underprivileged children in the process. A core group of 40 master trainers who are ECE teacher trainers will be equipped with the teaching approaches to deliver the enhanced curriculum and quality assessment. They, in turn, will cascade their newfound knowledge to their peers, thus ensuring longer term positive impact for the community. Toward the end of the project, the master trainers will also work with our SIVs to co-produce a resource guide to bolster the pedagogy skills training of future teachers.
At this juncture, I would like to express our heartfelt thanks to our partner – Paragon Charitable Trust – and my appreciation to the team of specialist volunteers led by Ms Kannigadevi Ravindran - pioneers and leaders in Singapore’s ECE sector. They are not only looking forward to deepening their cultural understanding but also to learn from their Indian counterparts the different ways employed to educate young children in this region, and forming firm friendships along the way. Thank you for generously contributing your time and expertise to this project - and for continuing this long-standing tradition of extending a hand of friendship to our Indian neighbour. We are grateful to be given the opportunity to work with all of you.
The SIF brings world communities together to promote greater international understanding and development. Our friendship with India is a longstanding one – 22 years to be exact. From the states of Maharashtra to New Delhi to Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the SIF has worked with institutional and individual partners from the government, corporate and non-government sectors. In the area of ECE in particular, we had successfully completed and implemented a five-year Programme with the Ullon village in West Bengal.
Our work, be it in education, healthcare, arts, environment or livelihood, seeks to bring people together to connect communities and enable collaborations to effect positive change. We look forward to this new partnership and the friendships to be formed between the peoples of Singapore and India. Thank you.
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