Amend the ECDC Bill
We respectfully request amendments to the ECDC Bill:
1. Registration of early childhood professionals should be based on a fairer, more realistic and more inclusive set of criteria that does not suppress qualifications to only the "O" levels and pre-determined Diplomas.
2. ECDA Officers should not be given the power to “enter and inspect”, “enter and search”, “inspect and make copies of”, “take any document or other thing at the centre”, “require any person… to answer any question”, “photograph or film, or make audio recordings or make sketches…." Doing so will only increase the likelihood that the power will be abused, or exercised carelessly or unjustly. Law enforcement officers are available if teachers act immorally or unethically. Other laws are in place for criminal breaches of trust or offences affecting public health.
3. MOE kindergartens (and their personnel) should not be waived from any requirement of the law as doing so would place them above the law.
4. The Minister should not be empowered to make regulations about
a) the discipline of persons - as other laws exist to maintain moral conduct in Singapore;
b) the admission of children to early childhood development centres - as parents should be given their full and legal right to exercise this discretion, choosing early childhood centres that best suit their needs and their children's needs;
c) the types and content of the curriculum and programme carried out in the centres - as professional educators should be afforded their professional dignity and voice in determining these aspects of their working lives;
d) the returns, reports and other information to be submitted to ECDA - without a clear specification beforehand of what these returns, reports and other information refer to. Otherwise, daily operational efficiency and productivity will be compromised;
e) school fees and other charges - as these must be defined by costs and other economic factors.
We call on the current administration to remember that early childhood education should be fully sponsored by the state and that converting the sector into an oligopoly of operators is harmful in the long-term.
Children need the loving and attentive care of professionals who can exercise their judgment and integrity in small, manageable settings. Early childhood professionals must be respected and trusted, in order to undertake their jobs and vocations well and ably.