750 students, graduates receive Sinda awards

Close to 750 students and university graduates received the Sinda Excellence Awards yesterday, the largest cohort of recipients in the award's 30-year run.

The self-help group's awards are given to those who have done well in their academic studies, or sports and art endeavours.

The recipients yesterday ranged from pupils who received good results in the Primary School Leaving Examination to university graduates with bachelor's degrees.

The awardees received between $150 and $500. Held annually since 1992, the awards have honoured more than 8,000 students over the years.

Speaking at the hybrid award ceremony yesterday, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Finance and National Development Indranee Rajah said the Indian community's academic performance "is on a very positive, upward trend".

She cited the recently released population census, which reported that 67.4 per cent of Indian Singaporeans hold a diploma, degree or other post-secondary qualifications, up from 59.3 per cent a decade ago.

Ms Indranee, who is also Sinda's president, said: "As a community, we must and will continue to build upon this... to ensure that everyone, especially the students who come from less-advantaged backgrounds, are strongly supported in their... ambitions."

The award ceremony was also attended by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong, and Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

The valedictorian at the ceremony this year was 26-year-old Yarlagadda Sai Surya, a three-time Sinda Excellence Award recipient, who first received the award for doing well in his GCE O-level exams.

He is now an entrepreneur who supports various sustainability projects here and in the region.

Growing up in South India, Mr Surya had experienced frequent water shortages and electricity disruptions, and that influenced him to enter the sustainability sector. While studying economics and mechanical engineering at the National University of Singapore, he founded two start-ups - Young Sustainable Impact Southeast Asia (YSI SEA) and Interseed.

YSI SEA is a sustainability incubator that helps infant start-ups and young people in the region realise sustainability solutions - in areas such as food security and renewable energy. Over the years, his incubator has helped to support 27 projects, including one in the Philippines that creates solar-powered lamps using plastic bottles for rural communities.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 12, 2021, with the headline '750 students, graduates receive Sinda awards'. Subscribe