It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the 2014 Special Awards Presentation Ceremony. I would like to congratulate all the award recipients and commend schools and parents for the important role they play in nurturing them. Today, we are privileged to have with us Ms Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law and Ministry of Education to grace the ceremony. Thank you, Ms Indranee.
Altogether, 9 categories of awards will be given to 108 recipients this year. Let me touch on each in turn.
First, the Prime Minister’s Book Prize, first presented in 1974, recognises students who are proficient in both English and their Mother Tongue, and who possess commendable personal qualities. This year 34 students will receive the award.
Teo Min Ru is one such recipient. She credits her bilingualism to her parents, who have encouraged her to read widely in both languages. She cites Nobel Laureate, Mo Yan, as a personal favourite as she enjoys how he effortlessly weaves complex themes into his narratives. She also finds time to volunteer regularly at the Pertapis Home. She aspires to enter the public service as she sees it as an important means to serving the people. Min Ru is truly an inspiration for her peers.
The second category of awards is the Lee Kuan Yew Award for Mathematics and Science which was introduced in 1992. This award recognises students who have gone beyond outstanding academic achievements to excel at significant national and international Mathematics and Science competitions. In all, 39 students will receive the Lee Kuan Yew Award for Mathematics and Science this year. Of the awardees, Lim Jeck distinguishes herself by consistently excelling in and demonstrating passion for Physics and Mathematics.
Next, we commend the efforts and achievements of a group of students who have been outstanding in their perseverance in pursuing their educational goals. Ten students will be receiving the Lee Kuan Yew Award for Outstanding Normal Course Students this year: 5 each from the Normal (Academic) course and the Normal (Technical) course.
One of the awardees, Tay Jing Han has struggled with diabetes from a young age. However, he did not succumb to self-pity and continues to serve as an inspiring role model for his peers. He is actively engaged in community projects that serve the elderly, and also tutors his juniors at Jurong Secondary School. Today, he is enrolled in Business Administration in Singapore Polytechnic and he aspires to be an entrepreneur in the near future, producing sports shoes meant for fellow diabetic patients.
At the tertiary level, 15 deserving graduates from the Institutes of Technical Education who are pursuing full-time studies at the polytechnics and 10 deserving graduates from the polytechnics who are pursuing full-time undergraduate studies at the universities will be receiving the Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship to Encourage Upgrading.
Six winners of the Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship to Encourage Upgrading will receive the Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Book Prize. This book prize is made possible through a donation from the former Minister Mentor, Lee Kuan Yew, who received an honorarium for delivering the inaugural Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Memorial Lecture in Brunei in 2009. These 6 top students have excelled in their studies at the Institutes of Technical Education and have gained entry to the Polytechnics to pursue courses of their choice.
Of these students, Lau Tuck Wei, Jeremy, distinguishes himself as a triple award winner and will be receiving the Lee Hsien Loong Award for Outstanding All-Round Achievement, the Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship to Encourage Upgrading and the Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Book Prize. Congratulations, Jeremy.
The Lee Hsien Loong Award for Outstanding All-round Achievement (LHL-OAA), funded from an endowment made by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in 2009, is given to post-secondary school students who have proven themselves in both academic and non-academic fields. The award is given out to four winners, one from each of the following categories of post-secondary institutions: Junior Colleges/Centralised Institute, Institutes of Technical Education, Polytechnics and the Autonomous Universities.
The Lee Hsien Loong Award for Outstanding Bicultural Students is made possible through an additional donation made by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in 2009. This is the first year we are awarding one student enrolled in the Regional Studies Programme. This programme provides students the opportunity to learn about the culture and contemporary society of Southeast Asia. This is in addition to the awards presented to three students enrolled in the Bicultural Studies Programme. Winners of these awards possess knowledge of more than one language and a strong passion for biculturalism.
The Lee Hsien Loong Award for Special Achievement is given to two best performing students from the specialised schools. These students have a passion for learning and display a strong sense of determination to succeed. Dhavanisha Siva from NorthLight School is one such recipient. Coming from a single-parent family, Nisha is exceptionally close to her mother and grandmother, whom she felt she let down when she did not manage to pass Mathematics at PSLE. However, she was able to pick herself up as she quickly found support and care in NorthLight School. She also regularly volunteers at Club Rainbow. Nisha is currently pursuing Beauty and Wellness at ITE College East, and she is determined to excel in her course and progress to the Polytechnic.
The final award is the Lee Kuan Yew Award for All-Round Excellence. This is a pinnacle award given to well-rounded secondary school students across the various courses that have performed exceptionally well and made significant contributions to their school and community. Eight students who have completed secondary education in the different courses will be presented with the award this year.
Once again I extend my heartiest congratulations to the awardees, their schools and their parents. It is now my pleasure to invite our Guest-of-Honour to address us.
Ms Indranee, please.