SINGAPORE: Special education students, and students who have made contributions towards Singapore's Smart Nation vision were among the 163 who were recognised at the Ministry of Education's Special Awards ceremony on Thursday (Aug 17).
Two new awards, made possible by private donations from founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, were given out, together with the existing nine special awards.
Twenty five special education students received the inaugural Lee Kuan Yew Exemplary Student Award, which "affirms the resilience and hard work" of such students "who have risen above the odds to be exemplary role models", Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung said.
Speaking at the awards presentation, Mr Ong cited twins Jovin and Jovan from Metta School.
The twins, who are members of the Metta Simba Scout Group, were among a group that helped residents in Batam build a water irrigation system to supply water to a farm. "Jovin and Jovan have consistently demonstrated care and concern to members of the community, and touched the hearts of many in the school community," Mr Ong said.
The Lee Hsien Loong Interactive Digital Media Smart Nation Award, meanwhile, recognises the work of polytechnic students who have contributed projects towards Singapore's Smart Nation vision.
Five projects from four polytechnics were selected for the Smart Nation Award.
Mr Ong singled out a project by Ngee Ann Polytechnic students, who came up with an interactive mobile app to teach Singapore sign langauge.
"Currently, there are no mobile applications in the market for the learning of Singapore sign language," Mr Ong said. "Four students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic - Terence, Jasper, Rachael and Lynnette - saw this as an opportunity for them to put into practice what they have learnt to help the hearing impaired community – and so KinderSign was born."
Also for the first time this year, the Lee Kuan Yew Award for All-Round Excellence was extended to primary school students. It was previously awarded only to secondary school students. "Our recipients have shown that there is no age limit to demonstrate resilience and determination," Mr Ong said.
Citing Woodlands Ring Primary School student Al’Shafry Mohamed Masduki, Mr Ong said: "Due to challenging circumstances in his family, Al’Shafry has to shoulder more responsibilities than what a typical primary school boy might experience. He has to help take care of his younger siblings by doing household chores and cooking for them in the afternoons. He sets priorities and routines, so that he can cope with both school and family demands."
He added that Al’Shafry’s teachers have noticed the boy's "strong sense of moral courage" and that his ambition was to be a policeman "to make Singapore a safe place for everyone".