Bursary recipient overcomes odds with help from family, friends and community

Teck Ghee Citizens' Consultative Committee Bursary Award recipient Muhammad Hayden Dany Osman with his mother, Madam Nur Farhana Abu Bakar. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - Muhammad Hayden Dany Osman, 11, had to miss almost two months of school after being hurt in a road accident last April.

But with a little help from his family members, friends and teachers at Townsville Primary School, Hayden eventually recovered, and even qualified for the Teck Ghee Citizens' Consultative Committee (CCC) Bursary Award.

Hayden was one of more than 1,100 students in Teck Ghee who were recognised for their efforts in school at a presentation ceremony on Saturday (Jan 4).

The Teck Ghee CCC Bursary was awarded to 351 students, while another 760 received the Ministry of Education Edusave Awards. Mr Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister and adviser to the Ang Mo Kio GRC grassroots organisations, was guest of honour at the event.

Hayden's mother, Madam Nur Farhana Abu Bakar, 35, said she was proud of her youngest son for his determination and drive to do well in school.

"He managed to do well even though he had to miss many days of school and was on crutches after the accident," said Madam Farhana, a teaching aide for special needs students.

Recipients of the Teck Ghee CCC Bursary Awards receive between $250 and $550, depending on the level of study. The money was raised by the grassroots organisations.

The bursary awards are given to students based on a number of factors, including household income, recommendations from school principals, academic achievements and conduct.

Another student who received the bursary award on Saturday was Townsville Primary School leaver Evan Tan, 12, now in Secondary 1 at Presbyterian High.

Townsville Primary School leaver Evan Tan, 12, now in Secondary 1 at Presbyterian High. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

His father had died in September last year due to heart problems, and Evan said he struggled to cope with the loss while studying for his Primary School Leaving Examination.

Said Evan: "The bursary will help my mum a lot so she doesn't have to use money from her paycheque for my development, like for tuition or extra classes in the future."

The aspiring athlete said receiving the award was a encouragement for him. He added: "Now I feel more motivated to do well in school and qualify for the award again next year."

In his speech, PM Lee congratulated the recipients for their efforts, saying no one should be put off from pursuing their education because they fear the cost will burden their families.

He said the Government has kept education affordable and enjoyable for all, pointing to the reduction of pre-school and higher education fees, as well as other measures to reduce the overemphasis on grades.

For example, Primary 1 and 2 pupils no longer need to sit for examinations. The Ministry of Education had also announced in September 2018 that mid-year exams for Primary 3 and 5 as well as Secondary 1 and 3 students would be removed by 2021.

But PM Lee said the community could also do its part to encourage a culture of learning.

He thanked the Seventh Month organisers for raising close to $230,000 for the Teck Ghee CCC Bursary awards, adding: "It is not just the financial support, but it also represents the strength of the community behind every child as they go through life."

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