Meet the people who moved PM

Work, studies and baby too

In his speech, the Prime Minister recounted stories of people who made a difference

Early on in her part-time studies at SIM University (UniSIM) three years ago, Mrs Natalie Toh found she was with child.

It was an unplanned pregnancy and she and her husband Alfred were already juggling work in the day and classes after sunset.

Financially, the couple had to make adjustments, with an extra mouth to feed.

But help will soon be available for couples like the Tohs who are working and want to pursue part-time studies at UniSIM.

Government bursaries and loans, that are available to National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University part-time students, will be extended to their UniSIM counterparts, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday.

"It needs tremendous commitment and grit to succeed if you go to UniSIM, and we should help people like that," he said.

The Education Ministry will announce details later.

Mr Toh said: "Financial aid will help, as the Government wants Singaporeans like us to upgrade (academically), and also have more babies."

Their son Zhi Xuan is now two years old, and the couple are in their final semesters at UniSIM.

Both are doing well, boasting grade point averages above 4.5, out of a maximum of five.

Recalling the challenges of raising an infant, Mr Toh, a 31-year- old service marketing executive, said: "It was a very tough period for us, coming back to the books after a long break, then having to both work and study, and on top of that, preparing for and then dealing with a baby."

But UniSIM's flexible learning structure helped. Students can study at their own pace, so the couple deferred 10 credits of their modules in the semester during which Mrs Toh delivered.

The 31-year-old lecturer is enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Visual Communication with Business programme, while her husband is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Marketing.