Primary schools to receive new teachers twice a year

Primary schools to receive new teachers twice a year

Date
Friday, 04 January 2013

Media Type
Channel NewsAsia (Online)

SINGAPORE: From 2015, primary schools will receive a new batch of teachers twice each year - instead of the current arrangement where new teachers are deployed in June - following changes to the timing of the annual intake of the Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) (Primary) programme. 

The PGDE (Primary) programme is a one-year diploma course conducted at the National Institute of Education. Currently, its graduates are deployed along with their counterparts in the Diploma in Education and Bachelor of Arts (Education) or Bachelor of Science (Education) programmes.

With the change, graduates from the PGDE (Primary) will be posted to their schools in January, instead of June. 

Responding to TODAY's queries, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said the key reason for the change is to "better support the schools' manpower needs at the primary level". 

Its spokesperson said: "This will allow for two batches of trained teachers to graduate from the different programmes in NIE to be posted to the primary schools ... each year, thereby reducing the schools' waiting time to fill vacancies for trained teachers."

To effect the change, the intake for PGDE (Primary) will be shifted from July to January - starting this year.

The MOE spokesperson said that email notifications were sent in April last year to those who were due to enrol in the programme in July this year - many of whom are currently doing contract teaching - but will now start their course in January next year. 

"School leaders with untrained teachers in their schools affected by this change were similarly informed," she said.

While primary school principals whom TODAY spoke to welcomed the change, one untrained teacher who had been due to start the PGDE (Primary) programme this year was upset that he has to wait another six months to begin classes. 

The 30-year-old teacher, who wanted to be known only as Mr Tan, said he found out about the change in February last year after MOE replied to his email query on the starting date of his course. 

He claimed that he has not received an official notification. 

After spending the past year doing contract teaching, Mr Tan said he would have to continue for another year because of the change. 

It is not clear how many prospective trainee teachers are affected by the shift in the timing of the intake this year, as the MOE did not reply to queries on the intake size of the PGDE (Primary). 

The current teaching force is about 33,000 strong. On average, 2,000 new teachers are recruited each year. 

Principals said the change was timely, given how more teachers are taking up MOE initiatives such as the Part-Time Teaching Scheme (PTTS), and the enhanced Professional Development Leave (PDL) scheme which allow teachers with at least six years' service to take leave at half pay to undergo professional development.

Punggol View Primary Principal Kelvin Tay said: "Having two batches would ease issues that come up when teachers are away, such as on maternity leave or professional development, and it would help fill deployment gaps."

As the school calendar begins in January, Nanyang Primary School Principal Lee Hui Feng noted that getting new teachers in the same month will reduce changes to teaching personnel in the middle of the school year.

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Source: Channel NewsAsia (Online), mediacorp