SINGAPORE - Needy students from the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) can now tap a new $25 million fund that will enable them to go for overseas exchange programmes, internships and other experiential learning opportunities.
Called the Ngee Ann Kongsi Emergence Fund, it is the largest donation the university has received since it was set up in 2014, the university's president Chua Kee Chaing said on Friday (Feb 4).
Each year, a sum of $2.5 million will be disbursed over a period of 10 years.
Professor Chua said the new fund will also support leadership programmes and applied research projects.
The donation from the Ngee Ann Kongsi will further support the development of the library at SIT's future campus in Punggol, which has been planned as a technology-enabled collaborative learning space.
Besides a media studio and computers with specialised software, the library will also host programmes and projects to bring together students, faculty and industry partners.
"It will facilitate interaction between SIT students and the relevant members of the Punggol community to offer service-learning opportunities for our students to help build strong communities," Prof Chua said.
The university, which is at a temporary campus in Dover, has named its library The Ngee Ann Kongsi Library. The name will be transferred to the new library at its Punggol campus when it is operational in 2024.
At the naming ceremony at the Dover campus on Friday, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing called on other foundations and successful businesses to step up and follow in the footsteps of Ngee Ann Kongsi by providing collaborative opportunities with not just SIT but also other educational institutions in Singapore.
"Going forward, the competitiveness of our economy and the competitiveness of our workers will depend not just on the financial resources we can muster," he said.
"More importantly, it will depend on the opportunities given to our students in terms of internships, industry collaboration, and for them to be at the frontier of the industry knowledge cycle."
Mr Jamie Teo, Ngee Ann Kongsi's vice-president and chairman of the donation and charity sub-committee, said: "At the Kongsi, we find a resonance in SIT's unique mission to nurture and develop individuals who build their interests and talents to innovate with industry and impact society."
The Teochew philanthropic organisation's ties with SIT began in 2017, when the Ngee Ann Kongsi Scholarship and the Ngee Ann Kongsi Gold Medal for most outstanding student were established, Mr Teo said.
More than 130 SIT students have benefited from the scholarship, he added.
One recipient of the scholarship is Mr Haresh Pandian, 24, who is studying electrical power engineering. He has received about $10,000 a year for his tuition fees.
The final-year student said he would have had to continue working as a Grab food-delivery rider to help pay for his tuition had he not received the scholarship.
He said he did not want to burden his mother, who is a patient service associate at a hospital, and his father, who works for Sats as a technical officer, because his two siblings are studying at a local polytechnic and university.
Mr Pandian said: "The scholarship motivated me to really want to push myself harder and reach my full potential and then give back to society."
He is expected to graduate in August, and plans to pursue a postgraduate degree and eventually a PhD with a focus on renewable energy.
Another scholarship recipient, Ms Jael Chew, 21 said the support from the organisation has helped relieve the burden on her father, who is her family's sole breadwinner.
The first-year physiotherapy student has received about $11,000, which has gone towards covering her tuition fees.
The former Singapore national rhythmic gymnast, who had to stop competing because of a training injury to her spine, said: "The scholarship allows me to focus on school, especially since I have three younger sisters, one is in poly and the other two are in secondary school."