Speech by Minister Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Education at the Self-Help Groups' Joint Tuition Awards Ceremony at School of the Arts (SOTA)

Published Date: 28 August 2021 02:00 PM

News Speeches

Chief Executive Officers of the various Self-Help Groups,

Board Members, Committee Members,

Award recipients and your family members,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good afternoon.

1 First, my heartiest congratulations to all the award winners today. This year has not been an easy year, but it has also provided opportunities for all of us to learn to be more resilient in how we respond to the circumstances. We never let circumstances, but our responses, define us. Today, it is a testimony of this spirit – both at the Self-Help Group (SHG) and individual levels.

2 Let me start with the SHGs. I would like to extend my appreciation to all the four SHGs – the Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC), Eurasian Association (EA), Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA) and Yayasan MENDAKI – for coming to support students through these very difficult years.

3 You have played your role in an outstanding manner. Notwithstanding COVID, you have continued to reach out to all the students in need and to their families, so that you can fulfil the promise to each and every Singaporean. So long as you are born a Singaporean and you try hard, we will do our best to let you have the opportunities to fulfil your potential.

4 In particular, I am heartened to see that the Collaborative Tuition Programme, or "CTP" in short, jointly run by the four SHGs, is into its 19th year of supporting students from the various races. Through the Uplifting Pupils in Life and Inspiring Families Taskforce (or UPLIFT), led by Second Minister Maliki, we also partner the SHGs to safeguard social mobility, and support students from less advantaged backgrounds. Let me say a big thank you to all the SHGs.

5 Second, I would like to thank all the volunteers, teachers and staff, because without your contribution, we will not be here today. Our children will not be here today. Our families will not be here today. I know that it has not been easy because many of our volunteers and staff also have to personally grapple with the challenges that came with COVID.

6 Today, we recognise the achievements of 630 students who were in the SHGs' CTP last year. All of you have worked hard for the 2020 PSLE, N-Level and O-Level Examinations. 15 of you have been selected to receive the Best Overall Academic Performance Award.

7 I would like to highlight the stories of four of the award recipients: Amira Akhtar, Hans Gerhard van Huizen, Pei Jun Yu, and Sameer Ahamed S/O Sadiq Batcha. All four of you have benefitted from the SHGs' tuition programmes.

  1. Amira has worked hard and is now enrolled in the Integrated Programme, in a school of her choice. She is grateful for the support of her parents, teachers, and tutors, and hopes to inspire her friends and siblings to stay focused and similarly work hard to achieve their goals.
  2. Hans enrolled in the tuition programme in Primary 6 and is now receiving an award for his O-Level performance. He appreciates how the commitment and enthusiasm of his teachers helped to build his confidence. He hopes to become a doctor one day.
  3. Jun Yu showed resilience in the face of challenges. In Secondary Three, he took up Mathematics at the Express level. He has shown remarkable improvements since then, scoring A2 at the O-Level, with the support of his school and tutors.
  4. Sameer is grateful for how the tuition programme helped him to study in a conducive environment. He has set aside time each day for his studies and is now pursuing a diploma in computer engineering.

Like Amira, Hans, Jun Yu, and Sameer, I am hopeful that all of you will continue to put in your best efforts for the future.

8 This afternoon, I would just like to conclude with these words of encouragement for all of you. In the past, I was like you, sitting in the audience. There were no SHGs then, but there were many kind-hearted individuals and organisations that went out of their way to provide scholarships and bursaries for people like me, to complete our education. When I grew up, I realised how unnatural this was. When I went to universities overseas, I realised that there were many more people out there, who were smarter or more hardworking than me. but unfortunately, they did not grow up in Singapore. For many of them, they were unable to realise their full potential in life.

9 In Singapore, we always remind ourselves, that we are successful not just because of our hard work and intelligence. We are able to be successful because of the opportunities given to us by society. And we make the promise in Singapore that for every generation, we will not define success by how well we do for ourselves and our families. Our definition of success is how well we enable the next generation to do even better than us in this generation. It is this spirit of always paying it forward, that allows Singaporeans to have the confidence that we can realise our full potential, and that Singapore can continue to grow from strength to strength.

10 To all the award recipients today, I hope you will remember this is not just a moment to recognise your individual achievement; this is also a moment for us to reaffirm our commitment to do the best for every generation In time to come, some of you will also take on leadership positions in our society and similarly create even more and better opportunities for the next generation. If we can do this from generation to generation, I have every confidence that we, in Singapore, will continue to be a bright shining star in the league of nations. I look forward to your continued success and your continued contribution to Singapore. Thank you very much.

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