The Korea Herald


NTUC First Campus and SUSS Renew Partnership to Upskill Early Childhood Educators and Advance Early Childhood Sector


Published : June 1, 2023 - 20:10

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  • Greater professional development and upskilling opportunities for early childhood educators ensure sector stays competitive and progressive
  • Refreshed Early Childhood Education Leadership (ECEL) Certificate Programme promotes greater flexibility and career advancement
  • ECEL graduates can further pursue a full-fledged SUSS part-time degree programme and accelerate graduation with earned credits

SINGAPORE, June 1, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- NTUC First Campus (NFC) and the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) have renewed their partnership to advance the Early Childhood sector. The new five-year agreement aims to equip early childhood educators with advanced teaching practices and leadership skills, empowering them to take on more strategic roles.

A key initiative under this partnership is the first-of-its-kind Early Childhood Education Leadership (ECEL) Certificate Programme, which was launched in 2020. ECEL participants work and study in a curriculum towards the completion of a Certificate jointly issued by SUSS and NFC. ECEL closely integrates classroom learning with a structured 12-month on-the-job training co-designed, co-delivered and co-assessed by both partners. This work-and-study structure is aligned with the national agenda to grow this into a 'mainstream pathway'[1] to train and upskill the early childhood talent force.

With the new agreement, ECEL has been refreshed based on past cohorts' experiences to make learning more flexible while boosting career progression. It will be offered to a new cohort this July. Beyond the continuous update of the curriculum, the programme structure has been adjusted to better meet early childhood educators' schedules. Enhancements include change in assessment strategies and moving from the current two 6-week terms to a single 12-week semester to foster flexible and deeper learning.

ECEL is tailored for selected NFC early childhood educators with leadership potential, and is fully sponsored by NFC. The programme provides them the opportunity to work and advance their leadership skills at the same time. Besides building and deepening participants' skills and competencies, the ECEL programme also helps them fulfil their aspirations for a university education while continuing to pursue their career. Alumni of the ECEL programme who choose to enrol in a part-time degree with SUSS, including but not limited to the Bachelor of Early Childhood Education, will receive advanced standing of up to 30 credit units, enabling them to complete their degrees in a shorter time frame.

Through this collaboration, early childhood educators will also gain access to the latest research, industry best practices, and professional development opportunities. This allows educators to be equipped with up-to-date knowledge and skills to meet the constantly evolving needs of the sector. To date, 60 NFC educators have completed the programme, and about 40% of them have been promoted to higher roles.

"ECEL has been an invaluable experience for me. It has not only helped me overcome my fear and anxiety towards assignments and exams, but also provided me with knowledge and skills that I could immediately apply in my daily work. Seeing the positive outcomes of my efforts was inspiring and motivated me to excel. The support from my leaders and colleagues in the programme was also instrumental in my success. Thanks to ECEL, I feel well-prepared for my new role," said Ms Jeanne Tan, an ECEL graduate, who excelled in her assignments, earning top grades in several course modules, and was promoted from Deputy Centre Lead to Principal at My First Skool, demonstrating the programme's positive impact on participants' personal and professional growth.

"Empowering our people for growth is a key pillar of NTUC First Campus's people strategy. Our partnership with SUSS supports our educators in their lifelong learning journeys, with the ECEL programme serving as an important enabler to grow our talent pipeline. I am heartened by the enthusiastic response to the programme, and delighted to see the graduates grow in confidence as well as in their leadership roles. I look forward to further developing our team of talented educators and advancing the sector together," said Ms Chan Su Yee, CEO of NTUC First Campus.

Professor Robbie Goh, SUSS Provost, said, "This renewed partnership is recognition of SUSS' expertise in adult learning, particularly among enterprises that need to grow their leadership talent and increase the competencies of their workforce. The revamp of the ECEL programme is also well-timed with the launch of SUSS' new undergraduate curriculum which will deepen and broaden our students' competencies and skills to navigate an increasingly disruptive and uncertain world. We are honoured by this opportunity to partner again with NTUC First Campus to grow a well-qualified pool of early childhood educators, and to upskill them for the challenges ahead."


About NTUC First Campus

NTUC First Campus (NFC) is one of Singapore's largest Early Childhood Care and Education service providers. It operates more than 170 preschool centres in Singapore, serving more than 25,000 children and their families every year.

NFC's core purpose is to enable bright futures for every child and their family. Established in 1977, its innovative, research-led curricula and team of dedicated educators and professionals have won numerous awards and accolades through the years. As a social enterprise, it strives to give every child a good start in life and to support working families in Singapore.

The NFC portfolio includes two preschool brands, My First Skool and Little Skool-House. NFC also offers enrichment programmes through SEED and Outdoor School Singapore. Its charity fund, Bright Horizons Fund, provides financial support to low-income families, disbursing about $2 million every year to support over 5,000 preschool children.

For more information on NFC, please visit

About Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS)

SUSS is a university with a rich heritage in inspiring lifelong education and transforming society through applied social sciences. We develop work-ready graduates and work-adaptive alumni to their fullest potential through our 3H's education philosophy – 'Head' for professional competency with applied knowledge, 'Heart' for social awareness to meet the needs of the society, and 'Habit' for passion towards lifelong learning.

We offer over 90 undergraduate and graduate programmes, available in full- and part-time study modes, which are flexible, modular and inter-disciplinary, catering to both fresh school leavers and adult learners. SUSS also offers a broad range of continuing education and training modular courses for the professional skills upgrading of Singapore's workforce.

Our programmes and courses are offered by our five schools:

  • S R Nathan School of Human Development
  • School of Business
  • School of Humanities and Behavioural Sciences
  • School of Law
  • School of Science and Technology

To date, over 44,000 graduates have experienced our unique brand of education, and each year, over 21,000 students are pursuing their full- and part-time studies with us.

The Institute for Adult Learning (IAL), as part of SUSS, leads in the field of research on adult learning to build capabilities of the training and adult education sector in Singapore and beyond.

For more information on SUSS, please visit