TEACHERS who are keen on taking up bigger teaching roles can now nominate themselves for these positions instead of waiting for their principals to make the first move.

Those who choose to specialise in the teaching track will also have more professional learning opportunities such as stints at the Ministry of Education (MOE) headquarters, and attachments to master teachers.

Education Minister Heng Swee Keat announced the new initiatives yesterday at MOE's first round of promotion ceremonies held at the Orchard Hotel ballroom yesterday.

The teaching track is one of three main career pathways for educators.

The other two are the senior specialist track and the leadership track.

There are four positions within the teaching track - senior teacher, lead teacher, master teacher and the most senior position being the principal master teacher.

These teachers shoulder more responsibilities than ordinary classroom teachers.

There are a total of 1,649 senior teachers, 77 lead teachers, 46 master teachers and five principal master teachers in service now.

A total of 7,528 MOE officers have been promoted this year, an increase from the 6,803 promotions last year.

Those promoted this year include deputy directors-general of education, Mr Wong Siew Hoong and Madam Low Khah Gek; Mrs Ong Hong Peng, principal of Xinmin Secondary School; Mr Krishnan Aravinthan, principal of Spectra Secondary School and Mr Morgan Zhou, head of department for English at Anglo-Chinese School (Junior).

In his speech, Mr Heng highlighted the contributions of several officers who received promotions, including Dr Susanna Ho, 45, who helped to create activities that build up physical and mental ruggedness in students.

"But the strength of our system lies not in a few sporadic examples, but in the good work of all our staff, day in, day out, across all schools," said Mr Heng.