Record Number of Recipients for the Microsoft YouthSpark Scholarship This Year

It was the first time that five Microsoft YouthSpark scholarships were awarded to outstanding young Singaporeans with disabilities in a single year.

It was the first time that five Microsoft YouthSpark scholarships were awarded to outstanding young Singaporeans with disabilities in a single year.

Among this year’s batch of scholarship recipients was second-time beneficiary, 21-year-old Ang Chin Hao, who is currently pursuing a Degree in Engineering (Computer Engineering) at the Nanyang Technological University. Born with macular dystrophy, a rare genetic disorder that causes vision loss, Chin Hao initially struggled to keep up with his studies as he had difficulties reading from the projector screen in class. However, with the support of his teachers, Chin Hao worked doubly hard and was eventually awarded the Microsoft YouthSpark Scholarship in 2013 to pursue a Diploma in Engineering Informatics at Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP). Through sheer perseverance and hard work, Chin Hao graduated from NYP with a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.7 and featured among the top 15% of his cohort.

“I’m very happy to be receiving the Microsoft YouthSpark Scholarship for the second time. I hope I can achieve even more in university and realise my dream of becoming an IT businessman. I also hope that this will encourage other students with disabilities to not give up, and keep pushing themselves to live life to the fullest, as our disabilities do not disqualify us from achieving success,” said Chin Hao.

Besides Chin Hao, the four other youths who received the Scholarship were 19-year-old Mohamed Najulah who has brittle bones and is a second-year student in Business Information Technology at Singapore Polytechnic; 20-year-old Er Xue Hui, who has severe hearing impairments in both ears and is a first-year student in Computing and Computer Science at the National University of Singapore; 22-year-old Then An Zhi who has hearing impairments and is a first-year student in Engineering at Nanyang Technological University; and 18-year-old Daryl Loh who has Asperger’s Syndrome and is a first-year Infocomm Security Management student at Singapore Polytechnic.

Presenting the Scholarships at the ceremony held at the NTUC Centre on 18 September was Ms Jessica Tan, Managing Director, Microsoft Singapore, who said: “We congratulate these five remarkable scholarship recipients, and commend them for their positive spirit in overcoming the many challenges that life has thrown their way. We wish them the very best in their education endeavours and hope that the Microsoft YouthSpark Scholarship will continue to inspire young Singaporeans to keep dreaming and striving for the best they can be.”

Launched in 2009 and administered by SPD, the Microsoft YouthSpark Scholarship was incorporated to help promising local youths with disabilities pursue higher learning in Information Technology (IT)-related fields, and enable them to achieve their full potential. Each year, the Scholarship provides recipients with funding for IT-related diplomas or degree courses offered by local polytechnics and universities, providing them with the necessary financial support to pursue tertiary education in IT-related fields. The annual quantum for the scholarship is $12,000 for degree courses and $5,000 for diploma courses.

This year’s Microsoft YouthSpark Scholarship Award Ceremony was held in conjunction with the Towards An Inclusive Workforce (TIWF) 2015 event jointly organised by SPD, SG Enable and the Singapore Workforce Development Agency. In its fifth year, TIWF aims to promote inclusive hiring practices in Singapore.

Close to 150 participants comprising employers, policy makers and representatives from the social service sector attended the event and heard from employers as well as assistive technology and job support specialists who shared best practices on how employers can do their part to support people with disabilities at work.