SDEA COVID-19 Updates

Check in this page for regular updates regarding SDEA during the COVID-19 period.

Tuesday, 19th May 2020

A Step In The Right Direction

Even before the circuit breaker measures happened, COVID-19 was causing alarm amongst freelance arts practitioners whose projects were getting cancelled, facing many months without compensation or remuneration.

At SDEA, our first effort was to look at aggregating information (, offering a one-stop resource our members could come to for a range of information and support, from financial support to available courses both locally and internationally, offering opportunities for both self improvement and self care.

Knowing that there were many arts educators who had lost all sources of income due to cancellations of CCA and enrichment programmes first announced to last for 2 weeks after the March holidays, and subsequently for the whole of term 2, we decided to get in touch with the Ministry of Education to highlight the discrepancy in payment terms between schools.

In addition, we sent out surveys to assess the immediate impact and allow us to approach stakeholders with relevant, up-to-date data. The results brought up current issues in contracts between freelance/self-employed persons and MOE schools which prevents them from receiving due compensation for cancelled projects.

We gathered a focus group, attended by a range of freelancers - including drama educators, band conductors and choir instructors - helmed by lawyer Roland Samosir, for the purpose of understanding the various contractual issues and created a document with a fairer list of terms and conditions for freelance/self-employed arts practitioners and educators.

We wrote in once again, this time to the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Manpower, the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment, and kept in close contact with the National Arts Council. Here we shared the data captured from both the survey and the focus group discussion, particularly bringing attention to the clauses in Annex A of the ITQ contract and details in Annex E that do not ascertain job security for freelance/self-employed vendors.

At the moment, we are still in conversation with MOE and will continue to gather more data to help better the situation that we are facing now.

The recent announcement (…/a.92060390462…/3454433927904518/…) by Minister of Education Ong Ye Kung and the press release by the MOE is a sign of progression, and a relief as contracts look to be extended, with vendors set to be paid. There is still work to be done, and while the announcement is progressive, we look forward to more improvements in the near future. We hope this is but a first step in the right direction.

If you have any questions, do feel free to drop us an email at

We can get through COVID-19 together! 💜

Love, SDEA Committee 2019-2021

Friday, 24th April 2020

We’re all staying home, and rightfully so. But that doesn’t mean we should stop growing. ’Level Up!’ is a platform for professional development made possible by drama practitioners for drama practitioners. Wether there’s a circuit breaker or not, keep an eye out for masterclasses, webinars, and other programmes conducted by fellow drama practitioners. Especially in this time, we believe in providing the opportunity to keep growing, and to keep levelling up.

If you would like to get involved by hosting a masterclass or conducting a programme, drop us an email at

The first of these programmes is a Directing Masterclass: Doctoring Directorial Approaches by Oliver Chong. who will work with participants for a total of five one-hour sessions. This masterclass draws focus on practical tools which would aid a director in developing a production.

Love, SDEA Committee and Secretariat

Thursday, 16th April 2020

Last Saturday, 12 arts practitioners/educators affected by cancellations due to COVID-19 took part in a focus group with lawyer Roland Samosir. Here, they shared their experiences and deliberated ideal terms and conditions for drama educators to better protect your livelihoods in the future, pandemic or no pandemic.

Roland Samosir is now taking on the task of drafting a document consisting of standard terms and conditions specifically for Self Employed/Freelance Arts Practitioners and Educators. This document will be submitted to the MOE and be made available online for us to better advocate for the advancement of the profession of the drama educator.

We are also currently continuing our conversation with MOE regarding compensation for cancelled projects and classes for arts educators and freelancers. We look forward to providing more updates as soon as we get them.

Watch this space for more updates, and stay safe.

We can get through this together! 💜

Love, SDEA Committee and Secretariat

Tuesday, 31st March 2020

Dear friends and members of SDEA,

We hope you're staying safe in this period. We would like to provide some updates on what we've been up to to better support you through COVID-19.

  • Conversations with MOE and other Stakeholders We've gotten in touch with the Ministry of Education (MOE), Singapore​ regarding the lack of compensation and delay in payments for cancelled projects, in particular with regards to CCA cancellation and payment for Term 2 Week 1 (and beyond). We pressed for a response regarding practitioners and educators not being given due compensation.MOE has since responded stating the following:

  • For CCA instructor contracts on hourly payment mode, in addition to the short-notice cancellation payments (< 4 working days), schools will pay for all sessions cancelled in Term 2 Week 1 after school reopens. Where possible, sessions for Term 2 Week 2 will be rescheduled to a later date.

  • MOE is cognisant (aware) of the impact on CCA instructors’ livelihood due to the extended suspension of CCA activities in Term 2 announced on 27th March 2020. MOE is currently in touch with various stakeholders to explore potential solutions to address the impact on CCA instructors and students’ learning.

  • Contractors should approach schools directly to seek further clarifications on the cancellation payments for the respective contracts in Term 2 Week 1.Further conversations with MOE will be taking place, helmed by drama educator and SDEA Committee Member Aishwariyah Shanmuganathan (Asha Nathan). We will keep you updated on further developments.

  • Working with the community We have also been speaking and working with other organisations and practitioners within the arts to talk about how we can better support freelance artists and teaching artists. We are sharing our data and information in order to better advocate for better support to be given to those affected by COVID-19. You can help us collect more accurate data of the community by sharing your experience with us and filling up our survey here.We are also in conversation with other arts companies, discussing ways to create more meaningful support for the arts community, including freelance/self employed practitioners and educators.

  • Daily Updates on COVID-19 Resources We have been updating our resource page daily. You can access the page here.

If you would like to get in touch with us, or if there’s a resource you would like us to highlight for the community on our resource page, do not hesitate to drop us an email at

We can get through COVID-19 together! 💜

Love, SDEA Committee and Secretariat

To view resources that we have aggregated for this period, click here.