Making a difference by following their passion at SUSS
Mr Yong Jun An, 23, stands out in his lectures as the only male in a cohort of around 70 women in the Bachelor of Early Childhood Education programme in Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS).
The second-year student, told The New Paper he is aware of the regulations on men in the pre-school sector, such as the restriction from the children's toilet in pre-schools, which excludes men from toileting duties.
Mr Yong, an Early Childhood Development Agency Training Award recipient, said: "I am fortunate that most parents have welcomed me, but I know that other male teachers face challenges in obtaining the trust of parents.
"I guess this is because there are more reports of men involved in sexual offences against young children."
His heart for serving children came while teaching Primary 1 pupils in a student care centre. He said: "There was a big difference in the skill levels of each child, and it showed me the importance of education in the early years."
He hopes to take on a leadership role in the field in the years to come. "Some children come from challenging backgrounds that impact their ability to learn in school.
"I hope to provide the support they need and bridge the gap."
At 27, final-year student Ang Xue Er is a few years older than her peers. After graduating from Ngee Ann Polytechnic with a diploma in business studies, Miss Ang worked at the Singapore Association for the Deaf as a social work assistant for almost two years.
When she realised her diploma not only limited her career prospects but also how she could interact with the disadvantaged, she decided to apply for a Bachelor in Social Work at SUSS.
Miss Ang, who holds a Social Service Scholarship awarded by the National Council of Social Service, told TNP: "(Being older) wasn't really a problem. The years spent working had prepared me well, knowing what I wanted instead of pursuing studies without a goal in mind."
Miss Ang also started a service learning project in SUSS for students to interact with the disabled through outdoor activities, games and visits to parks. She said: "Through these activities, I hope to create a platform for students to mingle with these groups and know how to communicate with them better."