Jul 2, 2020

Formative evaluation of a skilling program for youth with special needs

Supporting Presbyterian Community Services on the EduCarer Aide Training (ECAT) project in Singapore


Presbyterian Community Services (PCS), a social service agency registered with the National Council of Social Service in Singapore, has engaged CEI to conduct a formative evaluation of their EduCarer Aide Training (ECAT) project.

ECAT programme is a capacity and capability-building initiative that seeks to enable graduates of special education schools to be competent EduCarer Aides (similar to teachers’ aides) in preschool settings, to attain skills for employment and increase confidence and self-esteem.

Trainees in the programme attend centre-based, modular training conducted by the PCS team, where they learn to become EduCarer Aides. These youths also receive onsite coaching in preschools where highly experienced preschool teachers help them apply their centre-based learning in classroom settings.

CEI’s key activities in the formative evaluation include revision of the programme logic with the PCS team, review of the ECAT curriculum to provide recommendations where gaps are identified and semi-structured interviews with trainees to examine preliminary effectiveness of the programme.

The evaluation of ECAT enables CEI to deepen our experience in working with early years providers and youth with special needs in research contexts. The project is one of the first training initiatives to prepare special needs graduates to work in the early childhood sector. Moreover, ECAT shows good early potential to be scaled up to a national level; possibilities exist around equipping persons with disabilities with skills to enhance employability and quality of life as well as refining staffing models in the early childhood landscape. To read more about ECAT, visit the PCS website here.