Good afternoon Mr Chan Soo Sen, Minister of State for Education,
Mr Koh Nai Teck, President of the Society for the Physically Disabled,
Mr See Cher, Chairman of the SPD Education Programme,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
I am very pleased to be here today to witness the presentation of the first 3 SPD-APB Foundation Scholarships. This scholarship was conceived late last year when APB was purchasing some Christmas CDs from SPD. A simple sale transaction then turned into a discussion on how we can nurture academically-outstanding students with physical disabilities. Although there are several bursary schemes for such students, these are meant as financial assistance for the recipients’ education. Hence, the recipients are selected based on their families’ financial needs and not on academic performance. Without a doubt, such bursaries are important to help alleviate the financial burden that lay heavy on the shoulders of the recipients’ parents.
However, there seems to be a lack of recognition for those with physical disabilities who have performed well academically. Certainly, they should be accorded such recognition as they will go on to become role models for others in the community; thereby encouraging other physically challenged students to strive for academic excellence. This is important as they will then be able to find jobs in Singapore’s highly competitive job market. In this way, they will be better-placed to achieve financial independence and be able to contribute not only to their families but also to society.
The APB Foundation recognizes the importance of a good education for all our young people – able-bodied or otherwise. Sharing the vision of the SPD to assist the physically-challenged community achieve a financially independent life, the APB Foundation joined hands with SPD to set up the SPD-APB Foundation Scholarship.
Today, three young people will receive the first of such Scholarships. Their youthful enthusiasm and optimism make them great role models for other students and also an inspiration to the rest of us. I would like to wish them every success as they encounter all the adventures that life has in store for them.