SINGAPORE- Pre-university students with a passion for mathematics, science and engineering can tap a new scholarship from early next year.
Funded by the Ministry of Education (MOE) to deepen the pool of engineering and technology talent here, it aims to benefit 200 students each year.
Education Minister Chan Chun Sing announced this on Wednesday (May 11) during a ceremony to mark the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and James Dyson Foundation, a charitable set-up started by the British inventor.
The engineering and tech programme scholarship is part of MOE's efforts to strengthen Stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education and facilitate the flow of Stem talent further upstream, particularly in engineering.
During his opening address at the ceremony, Mr Chan said: "Stem education plays a critical role in our schools' curriculum, not only to develop the Stem workforce needed for the economy, but also science-savvy citizens who can apply their understanding into real-life decision making."
The two-year scholarship covers school fees, capped annually at $2,400, and provides a yearly allowance of $1,000, which can be spent on items such as school books.
First-year junior college students can apply, while Millennia Institute students taking the three-year programme should do so in their second year.
Students taking International Baccalaureate programmes and those enrolled in the NUS High School of Math and Science are also eligible for scholarships in their final two academic years.
Mr Chan added that the scholarship supports Singaporean citizens who have a strong foundation in mathematics and science and are interested in applied and interdisciplinary learning.
Scholarship recipients will have more opportunities to master Stem skills, and participate in workshops at tertiary institutions and corporate learning trips hosted by industry representatives.
Students can also gain a deeper understanding of the Stem industry through internships with engineering and technology companies in the public or private sector.
MOE will work with the Economic Development Board to offer corporate internships, with participating companies including ST Engineering, Abbott Laboratories and GlaxoSmithKline.
Mr Chan also called on more businesses - both local and multinational - to support the scholarship to enrich the learning experience for students and inspire them to join the engineering and technology fields.
He elaborated on the importance of engineering for Singapore's future, outlining three goals for the next lap of the country's development: overcoming land scarcity, energy sustainability and the nation's place in the global value chain.
He said: "To tackle these existential challenges, our young Singaporeans must feel a strong sense of mission to have a stake in the nation's future. Through engineering and technology, they can be vested members of our Singaporean core to provide new transformative solutions not just for ourselves but for the rest of the world."
MOE will announce more details on the scholarship later this year.
Meanwhile, the MOU between SUTD and James Dyson Foundation will see an engineering studio being built at SUTD at the end of this year as part of a five-year tie-up.
SUTD president, Professor Chong Tow Chong, said: "This will greatly benefit SUTD students as they can experience first-hand how design, innovation and engineering take place in a real-world commercial environment. I am sure our students are very much looking forward to this."