Mumbai, Maharashtra, India:
Educators from India and Singapore convened in Mumbai to mark the successful conclusion of the Early Childhood Education Curriculum Enhancement and Pedagogy Project. This capacity-building initiative is organised by the Singapore International Foundation (SIF) and Muktangan Education Trust, a non-profit organisation that mentors municipal schools in Mumbai.
Since 2017, 32 educators from Singapore worked closely with about 700 educators in Mumbai to raise the professional standards of early childhood education (ECE) there. They completed a series of in-person and online workshops, dialogues, and study visits as part of the project.
The educators from Singapore and India collaborated on topics including parent interactions and involvement, teacher appraisals, play facilitation, social development, classroom learning environments, inclusive practices, and early interventions.
The project also saw 34 Indian Master Trainers equipped with the relevant skills and knowledge to train other ECE educators. As a result, at least 3,400 Indian ECE educators learned how to improve curricula and picked up new pedagogical and assessment skills. Collectively, about 45,000 educators and students in Maharashtra have benefitted from this project.
The Singapore International Volunteers (SIVs) also developed an online resource with content from the workshops. This will be useful for the continued learning and pedagogical skills development of the ECE practitioners in Mumbai.
The SIVs leading this effort are part of a larger pool of specialist SIF volunteers. They work with their overseas counterparts to build capability and capacity in various fields such as education and healthcare. They help bring about sustainable positive change in communities abroad and foster greater intercultural understanding in the process.
At the project’s closing ceremony, Mr Ng Herk Low, Division Director, Strategic Management at the SIF said, “I am glad that we could facilitate such a meaningful interaction between the teachers from Singapore and India. The success of this five-year project marks another milestone in the 26-year friendship between the SIF and India, where Singaporeans and their Indian counterparts worked together on shared challenges at the people-to-people level. We look forward to more collaborations to uplift lives and build a better world.”
Ms Elizabeth Mehta, Founder of Muktangan Education Trust said, “Quality early childhood education is an essential pillar of the economic and social development of any community. We are delighted that our learning exchange has resulted in higher professional standards and an enhanced ECE curricula. I believe the project will spur more cross-cultural collaboration and friendships between our countries.”
Ms Kannigadevi Narayanasamy, SIV Team Leader, Assistant Director at Presbyterian Preschool Services, and Early Childhood Development Agency Singapore Fellow said, “It has been a privilege to share our experience with the educators in India. We learned a lot from them, too, and the project has challenged us to think about what makes teaching and learning effective in different environments. We look forward to continuing our friendship for many more years ahead.”
Ms Shashikala Nagbanshi, a project participant and preschool coordinator from Muktangan Education Trust, said that she appreciated the fresh perspectives gained from the training sessions. She noted that there were positive results after she incorporated the new techniques in her classroom.
She added, “The storytelling and numeracy techniques and holistic teaching curriculum shared during the training proved to be effective. The students were more engaged and interested in the lessons. They were also more confident when transitioning from preschool to the primary level. I have gained a lot from the project, and I am very grateful to the SIVs.”
About the Singapore International Foundation
The Singapore International Foundation makes friends for a better world. We build enduring relationships between Singaporeans and world communities and harness these friendships to enrich lives and effect positive change. Our work is anchored in the belief that cross-cultural interactions provide insights that strengthen understanding. These exchanges inspire action and enable collaborations for good. Our programmes bring people together to share ideas, skills and experiences in areas such as healthcare, education, arts and culture, as well as livelihood and business. We do this because we believe we all can, and should, do our part to build a better world, one we envision as peaceful, inclusive and offering opportunities for all. Find out more at www.sif.org.sg
About Muktangan Education Trust
Muktangan Education Trust is an innovative educational project which has demonstrated how ordinary women and men empowered with the right beliefs and skills, can drive extraordinary outcomes for children from their own aspiring communities. We adopt a 'Total Schools Approach' by training local community members through a year-long pre-service teacher education programme to provide holistic and inclusive education. Since our inception in 2003, we have evolved into a Hub and Spokes model of a Teacher Education Centre (hub) and seven English medium Municipal school’s pre-school to Grade 10 (spokes) with this unique design, all located in Mumbai's G-South Ward where we offer child-friendly education to over 4000 children from underserved communities. More than 900 community members (majorly women) have been developed and placed through our programme. Through our outreach initiatives and partnerships with the local and state government, NGOs, academic institutions both local and international, we have reached out to more than 72,000 children and more than 5,000 teachers and teacher educators across India.
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