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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.”

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