Scholars strive to give back to society
Singapore National Co-operative Federation scholars to continue to contribute after bond
It was the phrase "scholar with a heart" that piqued Miss Chong Kai Lin Corrine's interest in the Co-op Scholarship offered by the Singapore National Co-operative Federation (SNCF).
The 20-year-old Business and Accountancy student at Nanyang Technological University was browsing through BrightSparks, a website listing scholarships, after receiving her A-level results.
Seeing it as an opportunity to help her parents financially, Miss Chong took it up.
She said: "Compared with other scholarships, SNCF's one stood out the most, because its values were in line with my own beliefs in giving back to society."
The SNCF scholarship supports undergraduate studies at any local university, capped at four years.
Ms Dolly Goh, chief executive of SNCF, said: "At the SNCF, we are always on the lookout for talented, high-calibre students with a heart for the people.
"Most importantly, they must have a desire to do good and make positive differences in the community."
Singaporeans and permanent residents are eligible to apply for the scholarship, which covers tuition fees in full and provides an allowance of up to $3,500 for each academic year.
Upon completing their studies, scholars are bonded for up to four years and may be deployed to work in co-ops - enterprises that address social and economic needs through the co-op principle of self and mutual help.
During their holidays, SNCF scholars also do internships at various co-ops. Miss Chong recently completed her internship at NTUC First Campus in Mountbatten.
She used data analytics to see how to retain children in childcare centres.
"Interning here has allowed me to apply the business analytics I have learnt in school to a real-life environment," she said.
"And I really like children too."
She added: "I definitely see myself continuing to give back to society, even after finishing my bond.
"It is so much more motivating and satisfying to be able to do your part and contribute."
SNCF graduate scholar Alex Shieh Jun Fa, 31, feels the same way.
The director of strategic development of Educare Co-operative continues to contribute to the co-op sector, even after completing his bond in 2014.
Working with former teachers, he has gone as far as Russia and Libya to train teachers in pedagogy, helping them develop their teaching skills.
He said: "I liaised directly with representatives from the Education Ministry (in Russia), and supported my team in a lot of pre-project planning and needs analysis. It is crucial to understand the context of the different countries."
Of his experience in Tatarstan, a republic in the Russian Federation, Mr Shieh said: "After the teachers have undergone training, we go back to their schools and observe them in the classroom.
"This way we ensure the fidelity of the programme and skills that were imparted to them."
And he has no plans of stopping giving back to the community either. "There is still lots of room to grow for me, and I continue to enjoy what I can do to contribute to the co-op and society at large," he said.