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     FrontPage Edition: Mon 4 September 2006

MOE unveils S$250m plan to boost teaching profession



New ¡°Grow¡± Package Strengthens Teacher Development and Recognition

The Ministry of Education (MOE) will be spending $250m over the next three years, to ensure that the teaching profession continues to attract, motivate and retain good teachers, capable school leaders, and dedicated specialists.
This was revealed at the annual Teachers¡¯ Mass Lecture on 4 September 2006, by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister for Education and Second Minister for Finance.
Addressing a gathering of more than 5,000 Education Officers, he introduced the new GROW package, for the professional and personal Growth of Education Officers, through better Recognition, Opportunities, and seeing to their Well-being.
The following are the key recommendations that will be implemented in phases starting January 2007. They are based on a comprehensive review and consultation with 2,300 teachers and stakeholders starting Mar 2006 through till Aug 2006.
Professional Development and Growth
MOE will enhance sabbatical opportunities for teachers to give them time to undertake purposeful professional development.
We will help teachers to do so by enhancing the Professional Development Leave (PDL) scheme.
Today, teachers with at least 6 years of service can take half-pay leave under the scheme to recharge and renew themselves. Now, an Enhanced PDL will allow a teacher who has had at least 12 years of experience to take up to 2½ months (1 school term) of full-pay leave (see Table 1).

To support our teachers in pursuing part-time postgraduate programmes, teachers will also have the option of either taking PDL at one stretch, or make flexi-PDL arrangements to spread out the leave over different periods of time.
MOE will introduce a new Learning & Development Scheme. In the scheme, teachers will be entitled to claim up to $400 or $700 per year, for any learning-related expenses that they choose (see Table 2 below).
Teachers can claim for items such as subscriptions to magazines and journals, professional societies, and purchases of computers and IT-accessories, just to name a few.

In addition, every school will eventually have a School Staff Developer (SSD), a senior personnel whose job is to ensure that the training and professional development programmes are customised to our teacher¡¯s needs, while supporting the school¡¯s goals.
The SSD may be a more senior teacher or a Head of Department. The SSD will also work with other Senior Teachers and Heads of Departments to mentor and coach teachers in the areas of teaching and career development.
A new centre for teacher development will be built to serve as a focal point for the professional development of teachers.
The centre will provide a venue for teachers to come together in learning circles; or to undertake action research, curriculum designs and pedagogical innovations. The centre will also serve as a meeting place for both local and overseas expertise.
The centre will incorporate both the elements of a heritage gallery to showcase the history of the teaching profession, and showcase the use of the latest technology to show the way forward.

Source: Press Release 4 Sep 2006

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