SPD Education Programme Awards Presentation Ceremony 2004 and Launch Of SPD-Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation Scholarship – Speech by Mr Koh Poh Tiong

Good morning,

Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Acting Minister for Education,

Mr Koh Nai Teck, President of the Society for the Physically Disabled,

Students, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

It is a great pleasure for me to join you here at today’s SPD Education Programme Awards Presentation Ceremony and the Launch of the SPD-Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation Scholarship.


Today’s event underlines the importance of education, regardless of the challenges that one may face. As Singapore advances to a higher level of economic development and moves towards a knowledge-based economy, a good education has become a necessity for most in gaining employment and eventually, achieving financial self-reliance. Education is even more imperative for people with physical disabilities as they need to compete with others on a level playing field if they desire to contribute as full and active members of the society, like everyone else.

Recognizing that there is also the academic elite amongst the physically challenged students in Singapore, Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation is supporting SPD’s efforts to help them in their pursuit of academic excellence in a university education. Together, we have designed a scholarship scheme exclusively for students with physical disabilities. The SPD-Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation Scholarship allows each recipient to pursue their choice of study. The Scholarship will also cover their living and transportation expenses.

The APB Foundation certainly hopes that this Scholarship is the ultimate goal sought after by every physically challenged student who is aiming for a university education. We encourage these students to continue to pursue excellence by achieving a higher education and be an inspiration to other students. Who knows? These students could possibly be the future leaders of Singapore and it is important that we start giving them the support now to help them realize their full potential.

The SPD-Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation Scholarship is a fitting extension of APB Foundation’s efforts in contributing to society. Besides the Scholarship, APB Foundation has recently also assisted SPD in funding the operating costs of its Assistive Technology Centre, which helps to train people with physical disabilities to harness today’s technology to improve their skills and abilities.

With this, I would like to wish all students who are receiving the bursaries today and those who will be awarded the SPD-Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation Scholarship, a smooth and enriching learning journey ahead!

Thank you.