Mr Daniel Teo, Chairman, ISCOS Board of Directors,
Mr Tan Keng Leck, Vice-Chairman, Tan Ean Kiam Foundation,
Members of ISCOS Board of Trustees and Board of Directors,
Ladies and Gentlemen
Congratulations to Award Recipients
1. A very good morning. I am very happy to be here at the ISCOS Bursary Award Ceremony.
2. We are gathered here today to recognise students who have made commendable academic progress this year. Congratulations to all the award recipients!
The Gift of Education for our Next Generation
3. Education, as you know, has been a key pillar of Singapore's social and economic development. We have a strong education system that is recognised throughout the world. Education equips our youths with the knowledge and skills to unlock the doors of opportunities, and to achieve their aspirations in life.
4. I am very happy that ISCOS recognises the importance of education and has done much to support education over the years. One of the signature programmes is the Yellow Ribbon Fund-ISCOS Fairy Godparent Programme, or the FGP. It covers three domains: family support, student development and home environment. It offers holistic programmes and activities with a primary focus on education. Under the Student Development domain, ISCOS supports children in their academic pursuits, and helps them achieve their potential through the award of bursaries.
5. Since 2011, ISCOS has been giving out bursaries to members' children annually in recognition of their hard work and educational excellence. More than 1,000 students have benefitted and close to $372,000 worth of bursaries have been awarded over the years.
6. I am happy today to have another 133 students benefitting from this Bursary Award. Congratulations once again!
Acknowledgement of Efforts by ISCOS Partners and Sponsors
7. In addition to the Bursary Award, other initiatives under the FGP are the Mentorship Programme and the Learning Environment Assistance Project. These programmes are testament to ISCOS' commitment to help our children achieve their potential. The programmes are made possible only with the generous support of ISCOS' partners and sponsors.
8. The Lee Foundation has been a strong and long-time supporter of ISCOS. Since 2010, the Foundation supported ISCOS to spearhead several major initiatives for ISCOS members. This includes the ISCOS Skills Assistance Subsidy Scheme, and the Short Messaging Service platform which provides members with updates on new programmes and services in ISCOS. This year, the Lee Foundation went further in its social outreach and sponsored the ISCOS Bursary Awards and Book Grants under the FGP.
9. In 2016, another philanthropic organisation, the Tan Ean Kiam Foundation, came on board. The Foundation contributed $100,000 to support eligible students who received offers by polytechnics and ITEs, but lack the financial resources to further their studies. This resulted in the launch of the Tan Ean Kiam-Yellow Ribbon Fund-ISCOS Bursary Award in January this year. This Award covered the recipients fully for their tuition fees for tertiary education.
Beneficiary of Bursary Award
10. One student who benefitted from ISCOS' efforts and the Tan Ean Kiam Foundation's generosity is a 17-year-old Nursing student, whom I shall refer to as "Jane". Jane's mother is the sole breadwinner of the family. She works long hours to support the family, and is constantly worried that she is not able to manage the financial demands from the household's expenses and her children's education.
11. ISCOS assisted the family by providing Jane with a proper study corner at her home and sponsored Jane's tuition when she was preparing for her O' Levels. Through ISCOS's efforts and Jane's perseverance, she did well and was subsequently offered a place to pursue a Diploma in Health Science (Nursing) at Ngee Ann Polytechnic. Her tuition fees are fully sponsored by the Tan Ean Kiam Bursary.
12. Jane shared that she chose to study nursing because she wanted to help people, and the skills that she learnt would enable her to take care of others. Her younger sister sees Jane as a role model and is also a recipient of the Bursary award.
13. I thank the Lee Foundation and Tan Ean Kiam Foundation for your generosity, and for your gift of education to groom our next generation of young people.
14. On this note, I would like to end with a few reminders. While academic excellence is important, do not forget that life skills and values are equally important for success in life. Remember the opportunities that you have been given today; and consider how you can give back to society, to help those in need.
15. Thank you.