SINGAPORE - From raising income caps for tuition assistance schemes to doing away with annual means-testing, the Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC) is changing the way it helps more low-income families at a time when Covid-19 has hit hard, said its chairman, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, on Thursday (June 18).
Addressing CDAC board members virtually at the council's annual general meeting, Mr Ong said: "The pandemic has made us reflect on what more CDAC can do in these exceptional times.
"We only have a limited budget, but by using it judiciously and in a targeted way, and with the help of passionate staff and volunteers, we can make a meaningful difference."
CDAC had pledged grants and bursaries totalling about $5 million pledged in March and April to help the vulnerable in the Chinese community during the Covid-19 pandemic.
It has now earmarked another $5 million more to help students and needy families.
This will go towards awarding more primary and secondary students with the 2021 CDAC-Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations Bursary, with the application process simplified and more flexibility in terms of the qualification criteria.
Some 7,500 primary and secondary students are expected to receive this bursary - 30 per cent more than the current 5,800 beneficiaries. Successful primary and secondary student applicants will receive $280 and $450 respectively. Applications open in August.
To help defray educational expenses, about 7,500 needy households with school-going or young children will also receive a $300 grant in September this year. No application is required.
CDAC will also give vouchers to about 8,500 families in December as part of its annual Ready for School project. They will receive stationery and book vouchers of $80 per student and $260 in grocery and transport vouchers. Compared to last year, each family will receive $100 more, and 30 per cent more households will benefit from the support package.
Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon has been newly appointed to CDAC's board of directors, which started its new two-year term on Thursday.