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Opening Remarks by Dr Maliki Osman, Second Minister for Education, at the Announcement of the Forward SITizen Initiative

Published Date: 13 January 2023 04:30 PM

News Speeches

Prof Chua Kee Chaing, President of the Singapore Institute of Technology

Mr Xie Yao Quan, Chief Executive Officer, Quantedge Foundation

Directors of Quantedge Foundation

Distinguished guests

1. A very good morning to all. I am very happy to join you today at the launch of the Forward SITizen Initiative, much has been spoken about it.

Uplifting Students from Vulnerable Backgrounds a Whole-Of-Society Effort

2. We are gathered here today because we believe that every child should have access to quality education, regardless of their background.

3. Uplifting those who most need help in our midst is a central part of our social compact. There have been many conversations and deliberations on how we can collectively strengthen this under the ongoing Forward Singapore exercise. What is clear is that ensuring access to quality education remains a key enabler of our meritocracy, which continues to be valued in our social compact, even as we discuss how it should evolve. At the same time, we all believe that one's socioeconomic background need not be an inhibitor for one to succeed in Singapore.

4. The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected low-income and vulnerable groups. It is important that we ensure the more vulnerable members of our community are supported and are able to cope with rapid disruptions and uncertainty.

5. The Ministry of Education continues to invest heavily in education at all levels for all Singaporeans, with additional resources set aside to support students from vulnerable backgrounds through their education journey. I am heartened that the government's efforts are supplemented by institutions rallying support from their communities, and generous private sector donations, which make a real difference in the lives of the beneficiaries, helping to open doors to opportunities and empower our young to pursue their passion and fulfil their potential.

Acknowledging SIT's Initiative and the Efforts of Private Foundations and Donors

6. I am therefore glad to launch SIT's new Forward SITizen Initiative, which will cover the tuition fees of SIT Singaporean undergraduates from vulnerable backgrounds. With this initiative, these students can focus on their learning and immerse themselves in the university experience, without having to worry about the financial burden of pursuing a degree.

7. I am also heartened to see that a number of donors have already stepped forward to make gifts in support of this initiative.

  1. Today, I would like to express my sincerest thanks to Quantedge Foundation, as well as the donors of Dou Yee Enterprises Bursary, Kewalram Chanrai Group Bursary, KKH Bursary, Kwai Fong & Raymond Goh Study Grant, and Wilmar Bursary, for their contributions in pioneering the Forward SITizen Initiative.

8. As we launch Forward SITizen today, I hope that other foundations and businesses will likewise step forward to offer support to SIT and other educational institutions, to uplift students from vulnerable backgrounds.

9. I also hope that all students who benefit make full use of the opportunities presented to them, and, as the name 'Forward SITizen' suggests, remember to pay it forward by doing your best in your chosen field and giving back to your community. You don't have to wait till you graduate before you start paying it forward. Even when you are still pursuing your studies, I would encourage you to find ways to contribute to the community – use your training and talents to benefit others at the same time!

10. Your story can serve as an inspiration to other students – that they too can pursue their dreams, regardless of one's starting point.


11. Once again, I congratulate SIT for the launch of Forward SITizen, and would like express my appreciation to the donors who have made this initiative possible. Thank you.