Celebrating Students’ Holistic Achievements Through the Special Awards

122 students received this year’s Special Awards from Ms Grace Fu, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs at the 2015 Special Awards Presentation Ceremony today.

The annual Special Awards recognise students’ achievements in both the academic and non-academic spheres. There are 9 categories of Awards as follows:

The Prime Minister’s Book Prize (PMBP)

Established in 1974, the Prime Minister’s Book Prize, is an annual award for bilingualism given at the Primary, Secondary and Pre-University levels. This year, 37 students received the Prime Minister’s Book Prize - 12 from the Primary school category, 14 from the Secondary school category and 11 from the Pre-University category. The names of the awardees are provided in Annex A.

The Lee Hsien Loong Award for Outstanding Bicultural Students (LHL-OBS)

The LHL-OBS was set up in 2009 to recognise top students in the Bicultural Studies Programme (Chinese) (BSP(C)) and the top student in the Regional Studies Programme (RSP). The award underpins the strategic importance of developing a core group of students who are conversant in Chinese or Malay, and are able to engage Asian neighbours as well as relate to the world. This year, 3 students from the BSP(C) and 1 student from the RSP received the LHL-OBS. This is the second year in which the award is presented to the most outstanding RSP student. The names of the awardees are listed in Annex B.

The Lee Kuan Yew Award for Mathematics and Science (LKY- M & S)

The Award was presented for the first time in 1992. The awards are given under 3 categories - Secondary, Pre-University and Polytechnic. 39 students received the award this year - 15 from the Secondary school category, 9 from the Pre-University category and 15 from the Polytechnic category. The names of the awardees are in Annex C.

The Lee Kuan Yew Award for Outstanding Normal Course Students (LKY-ONC Award)

The Award was presented for the first time in 2004. This year, 5 awards were presented to top Normal (Academic) course students and 4 awards to the top Normal (Technical) students, based on their GCE ‘O’ level and ‘N’ level examination results respectively. The awardees are listed in Annex D.

The Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship to Encourage Upgrading (LKY-STEP Award)

The LKY-STEP Award was presented for the first time in 2001. This award was made possible by founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew who donated the proceeds from the sales of autographed editions of Volume Two of his memoirs to the Ministry of Education in October 2000. The scholarship is to encourage upgrading and life-long learning. The award is presented to outstanding Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and polytechnic graduates who have performed well academically and attained good co-curricular activity records. This year, 15 LKY-STEP awards were presented to ITE graduates pursuing full-time studies at the polytechnics, and 10 LKY-STEP awards were presented to polytechnic graduates pursuing full-time undergraduate studies at the local universities. The names of the awardees are in Annex E.

The Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Book Prize (SHOAS Book Prize)

The Book Prize was made possible by founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who donated the honorarium he had received from the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Foundation in February 2009. This award was presented for the first time in 2009 and aims to recognise the Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship to Encourage Upgrading (LKY-STEP Award) recipients who have achieved the most outstanding academic results at ITE. This year, 6 students received the award. The names of the awardees are in Annex F.

The Lee Kuan Yew Award for All-Round Excellence (LKY-ARE)

The Award is a national level award for achievement in education that was presented since 2005. It recognises well-rounded students who have excelled in both academic and non-academic domains, and who exemplify positive character development, strong leadership qualities and commitment to service to the community. The award is presented at the end of the secondary school education.

This year, 8 students were presented the Award. The names of the awardees are in Annex G.

The Lee Hsien Loong Award for Outstanding All-Round Achievement (LHL-OAA)

The LHL-OAA is funded by an endowment donated by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in 2009. The award is to recognise the outstanding academic and non-academic achievements of post-secondary students, particularly those who have made outstanding contributions to the community and demonstrated the spirit of innovation and enterprise. There are four awards to be given out each year, with 1 student from each of the following four groups - ITE, Polytechnics, Junior Colleges / Millennia Institute and Autonomous Universities. The names of the awardees are in Annex H.

The Lee Hsien Loong Award for Special Achievement (LHL-ASA)

The LHL-ASA is funded by an endowment donated by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. The LHL-ASA was presented for the first time in 2009, and is given to 1 outstanding student each from NorthLight School and Assumption Pathway School, who has done well and progressed to ITE. The award recognises students who have exemplified positive character development and a positive attitude towards learning and self-improvement. The recipients must have also shown strong leadership qualities and commitment to serve the community. The names of the awardees are in Annex I.

About the Special Awards

All these awards were made possible by private donations from founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. In total, about 2,300 awards have been given out to date.

The Lee Kuan Yew Awards are funded through the interest proceeds from the Lee Kuan Yew Donation account of the Education Fund, which include honorariums from his past speaking engagements and proceeds from his book sales, as well as donations from well-wishers who have contributed specifically towards this cause. The Lee Kuan Yew Awards are special awards given out annually to outstanding students in schools, the ITE, and the polytechnics, in recognition of their achievements in academic and non-academic spheres.

The Lee Hsien Loong Awards are funded from donations made by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong since 2008 to set up an endowment fund. The Lee Hsien Loong Awards are special awards to recognise outstanding students in Northlight School and Assumption Pathway School who did well and progressed to ITE, outstanding all-rounders with contribution to community, top bicultural students, as well as schools which provide all-round development for Normal course students.

Young Geographers Clinched Awards at the 12th International Geography Olympiad

The Ministry of Education (MOE) congratulates the Singapore team for their performance at the 12th International Geography Olympiad (iGeo) held in Tver, Russia, from 10 to 18 August 2015. This is the fifth year that Singapore is taking part in the competition.

The Singapore team obtained 3 Silver medals and 1 Bronze medal. The Silver medalists are Mr Wan Jia Cheng, Mr Yao Jiayun and Mr Toh Yu Ze from Raffles Institution. The Bronze medalist is Mr Caleb Goh Teng Hian from the School of the Arts (SOTA). This is also the first time that a student from SOTA is representing Singapore in iGeo.

As part of the competition, students had to prepare a poster related to the topic, “Imagine Your Place in the Future”, contextualized to their home country. The Singapore team’s poster idea on Sustainable Public Housing was to integrate recreational, commercial and green spaces in the public housing. Their presentation came in 1st amongst 41 countries, receiving the most votes from the iGeo community. Voters were drawn to the well-thought-out strategies in the proposed Sustainable Public Housing, and the high quality visual and oral presentation by the team.

This year’s team attributes their interest in Geography to the relevance of Geography skills and application of their knowledge to real-world context. Yu Ze has always been interested in the human condition, such as the challenges faced by urban populations, as well as issues related to Climate Change. Jiayun feels empowered by the global perspectives that Geography equips him with, to understand issues in Climate Change. Additionally, Caleb discovered his passion for urban planning and Jia Cheng developed an appreciation of the physical world. Despite their varied interests, all are drawn to Geography because the discipline helps them frame their understanding of these issues in a holistic way.

The Singapore delegation was led by Mdm Tan Li Ling and Ms Erin Ng, Curriculum Planning Officers from MOE.

A Joint Effort

The International Geography Olympiad (iGeo) brings together outstanding 16 to 19 year old Geography students from around the world, challenging and stimulating their minds in the spirit of competition. iGeo is organised annually by the International Geographical Union (IGU). The IGU was established in 1922 and represents the interests of geographers from 104 countries including Singapore. The IGU facilitates the participation of geographers in the global community of scientists through its affiliation to the International Council for Science (ICSU) and International Social Science Council (ISSC).

Our students’ participation in the International Geography Olympiad is a joint effort between MOE and the following organisations:

  • Department of Geography, National University of Singapore;
  • National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University; and
  • Geography Teachers’ Association of Singapore.

Members of the Singapore team were selected from participants of the National University of Singapore Geography Challenge 2014 and National Geography Talent Development Programme (TDP). The TDP is designed to nurture students’ passion in Geography and deepen their knowledge of the subject. The TDP is supported by the abovementioned organisations.

To do well in iGeo, students are required to have a good mastery of a wide range of physical and human geography topics. They also need to apply geographical knowledge and skills to solve problems in unfamiliar contexts. The iGeo tests consist of a written response test, a multimedia component and a fieldwork component. For the fieldwork test this year, students had to recommend strategies to address issues within Tver, by considering the economic, social and demographic characteristics of the place. In this component, they also had to conduct a population survey to establish the number of households in the area, identify abandoned and occupied buildings, before sketching the town land use from a vantage point.