Student rejects top scholarship to study social work

Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s top student Tok Kheng Leng (top) made an unusual decision recently.

The 19-year-old biomedical engineering student – who has a 3.99 Grade Point Average – decided not to take up a bond-free scholarship offered by the school, which covers undergraduate tuition fees at any Singapore or overseas university.

She is one of 5,000 students from the polytechnic who are due to have their graduation ceremony later this month. About 52 per cent of its graduates go on to pursue a university education either locally or abroad immediately after graduation or completing national service, said the polytechnic.

The scholarship, sponsored by the Ngee Ann Kongsi foundation, has been awarded to the top Ngee Ann Polytechnic graduate since 1980. It also comes with a gold medal and $10,000 cash.

Ms Tok explained that she had already received a Global Merit Scholarship from the National University of Singapore, and was set on pursuing a social work degree there. She said she wanted to study locally to help her to understand society’s needs, as she is preparing for a career in social work.

Asked about her switch from studying engineering, Ms Tok cited her numerous experiences as a volunteer during her polytechnic days. These include writing petitions at weekly Meet-the-People Sessions in Queenstown since September last year.

‘I like the challenge of finding out the real story behind snippets of information people give you, and then empowering people to help themselves – because they are the best to do so,’ she said.

Ms Tok lives with her father, a lift mechanic, and mother, a shop assistant, in a three-room HDB flat in Queenstown. Currently, she is interning at a Family Service Centre till July. She accompanies staff on home visits, and helps write case notes for their clients.

Ms Tok was speaking to reporters on Tuesday, along with several other top graduates.

Among them was former madrasah student Muslihah Albakri, 20, who penned a booklet which aims to improve communication between children with behavioural disorders and their parents.

She did so while interning at the Institute of Mental Health’s Child Guidance Clinic, with the help of psychologists and psychiatrists. Ms Albakri has received an offer from Cambridge University to study politics, psychology and sociology.

StraitsTimes Published on May 9, 2012
By Sarah Giam
Link : Student rejects top scholarship to study social work 

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   MCYS Singapore

“I like the challenge of finding out the real story behind the snippets of information people give you, and then empowering people to help themselves…”

We’re very touched by Kheng Leng’s passion and dedication for our society. Read on to know her story 🙂

 

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