Number of top-calibre teachers to be tripled
Wednesday, 24 September 2014
SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Education (MOE) will nurture and grow the pool of experienced and high-performing educators on the teaching track, including almost tripling the number of Master Teachers and Principal Master Teachers — the highest positions that a teacher can attain on this track.
The ministry said yesterday it plans to increase the current combined pool of 56 Master Teachers and Principal Master Teachers to about 150 over the next few years.
Apart from the teaching track, educators can currently progress on two other tracks: Leadership, where they take on leadership positions in schools and MOE headquarters, and senior specialist, where they focus on curriculum development and education research.
Speaking at the MOE Work Plan Seminar, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said: “We will do more to strengthen the teaching track. We will identify and encourage more teachers to be Principal Master Teachers, Master Teachers, Lead Teachers and Senior Teachers — to take up appointments to mentor other teachers, and to advance the frontiers of teaching.”
The size of the teaching force stands at about 33,000 today. Among these, 1,700 are Senior Teachers while 100 are a rung above, as Lead Teachers.
MOE will also raise the highest career grade for a Principal Master Teacher from superscale G to F — the equivalent of a senior school principal, in order to recognise their importance in developing and leading fellow teachers, and in the process, raising the quality of education. Mr Heng said: “Over the next five years, we will make a major qualitative leap in our teachers’ professional development. To achieve this, we will focus on high-impact learning and developmental activities.”
To support the mentoring of teachers, a course on generic mentoring skills will be introduced.
Manpower support for schools will be strengthened, so mentors have more time to coach younger colleagues. For beginning teachers, or those in service for two years or less, mentoring provided during their training at the National Institute of Education and after they become full-fledged teachers will also be better integrated, said MOE.
Mr Low Bing Ying, a physics teacher at Tanjong Katong Girls’ School, said that he found mentorship particularly helpful as beginning teacher.
The 31-year-old, who has been teaching for about three years, said: “Mentoring is not just about being instructional … it’s also about helping the mentee grow at his own capacity as well, through being instructional, consultative and facilitative.”
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Source: Today (Online), mediacorp