It gives me great pleasure to join you this morning to celebrate the successes of some bright young individuals amongst us. I am very proud and inspired by their achievements and I am sure their loved ones are too.
Education is an important enabler and the Ministry of Education is committed to building a strong education system and providing an appropriate education to develop all our students. Students with physical disabilities are supported and have access to quality education, regardless of their physical challenges.
We have enhanced the support for students with disabilities in our institutes of higher learning (IHLs). A disability support office has been set up in each ITE college, polytechnic and publicly-funded university. In addition, MOE set up a Special Education Needs Fund to provide full subsidy to ITE and polytechnic students with physical or sensory impairment to purchase necessary education-related Assistive Technology devices and support services. The universities and arts institutions are also committed to ensuring that the same financial support is provided to their students.
I am heartened that SPD and the Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation, or APB Foundation, share MOE’s vision and are committed to helping our students with disabilities develop their fullest potential on their education journey. SPD plays an important role in supporting students with disabilities and I am pleased to share that SPD signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Singapore Management University earlier this year to develop and promote best practices for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in our IHLs.
I am glad that the APB Foundation has chosen to partner SPD in establishing the APB Foundation Scholarship for Persons with Disabilities. This is an excellent example of the corporate sector working together with a community organisation to create an even greater social impact. The impact of the scholarship goes far beyond the support that the recipients and their families receive, as the abilities and achievements of these recipients are an inspiration to others in the community.
It is inspiring to also learn that while these bright young scholars may come from diverse backgrounds, interests and experiences, they all share a strong desire to contribute back to the community. Alwyn, Dickson, Lewina and Lisa not only share the determination to do well academically, but are also constantly looking out for opportunities and ways to help others.
Alwyn is passionate about fostering greater understanding and awareness of the needs of persons with disabilities, and plans to start a recruitment agency to support their quest for gainful employment. Lisa, who has an impressive Grade 8 certification in piano and a Grade 3 certification in cello, hopes to inspire others with hearing impairments to also find joy and empowerment through music. I understand that she also volunteers at her church and at Meet-the-People sessions at Braddell Heights. Dickson, an avid programmer, is committed to improving the lives of others with vision impairment and hopes to create an invention that would help improve their lives. Last but not least, Lewina, who is no stranger to adversity, enjoys connecting with people and hopes to share her experiences to motivate others who are going through difficult circumstances. I am confident that she will indeed be an inspiration to others who are trying to overcome challenges with the right attitude and mindset.
Alwyn, Dickson, Lewina and Lisa – I am truly inspired by your compassion for others and determination to pursue your dreams. My heartiest congratulations to all of you for your remarkable achievements!
Congratulations also to the APB Foundation on the 10th anniversary of this meaningful scholarship programme. Over the last decade, 31 students have benefited from this scholarship, which has helped many youths pursue further education and achieve their dreams. I hope you will continue to lend your unwavering support for students with disabilities on their education journey.