16 September 2006 - Address By Mr Chan Yeng Kit, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore At the 2006 National Infocomm Scholarship Awards Ceremony cum 22nd National Software Competition, Singapore Polytechnic.

Address By Mr Chan Yeng Kit, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore At the 2006 National Infocomm Scholarship Awards Ceremony cum 22nd National Software Competition on 16 September 2006, Singapore Polytechnic.

Mr Low Wong Fook, Principal, Singapore Polytechnic,
Sponsors and participating companies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

A very good afternoon.


1. I am very pleased to be here today once again to share the joy and excitement of the upcoming winners and award recipients of the 22nd National Software Competition and the 3rd National Infocomm Scholarship. Today is an occasion for double celebration. The National Software Competition, the third of a series of challenges under the umbrella of the National Infocomm Competition, has completed yet another successful year ever since it was established 22 years ago. There are another 8 challenges under the National Infocomm Competition. I therefore urge students to continue to strive and compete for your quest to be crowned overall infocomm champions in this national competition.

2. The National Infocomm Scholarship Awards has also entered its third successful year, with more scholarship awardees this year. Starting with only 12 scholarships awarded when it was first launched in 2004, the number has tripled to 36 this year. To the scholarship recipients, I congratulate you for your wise choice and a rewarding career as great infocomm professionals. Both events today are about passion, creativity and the will to succeed. Being here today, you have displayed all these qualities. I am proud of you; you have undoubtedly also made your schools and your parents very proud. Well done!

Infocomm is a Key Driver of the Economy

3. Infocomm has transformed the economy, society and communications landscape in Singapore dramatically. It is a key force that empowers and enriches how we live, learn, work and play. Indeed, infocomm has become very much a part of our lifestyle. And thanks to the software developers who came up with the cutting edge technological solutions. They are infocomm professionals and entrepreneurs who have creatively pursued exciting infocomm possibilities with speed, commitment and passion, often with surprising and rewarding outcomes.

4. It is an undeniable fact that Infocomm is a powerful enabler that allows you to break down barriers and define the future. Since the early 1980s, the government has viewed infocomm as an important strategic enabler for Singapore. It will continue to be so and also a source of advantage as we progress into a world that is increasingly digital and connected. As PM Lee put it in his National Day Rally speech recently, "Infocomm has opened up many opportunities for us, for our economy, lots of jobs that Singaporeans can do, and broader benefits for the whole economy. With IT, we make the most of our talents and our brains. And with IT, we also become connected as a more participative society."

5. I would like to reiterate PM's message, that the government is prepared to exploit the digital opportunities that are available for Singaporeans, get Singapore fully connected, and enable every Singaporean to embrace infocomm. Some of you may be aware that the government has just launched a ten-year infocomm masterplan, Intelligent Nation 2015 or iN2015. This masterplan has set bold targets to make Singapore number one in harnessing infocomm to add value to our economy. It also aims to drive a two-fold increase in the value-add of the infocomm industry to $26 billion, while generating a three-fold increase in infocomm export revenue to $60 billion.

6. What this means is that over the next few years, more infocomm jobs will be available. By 2015, Singapore is envisioned to be an intelligent nation, a globally connected city powered by infocomm. And Singapore will be developed into a globally connected city, powered by infocomm. What this means is that Singapore is going to be an infocomm hub where you have greater opportunities to develop and deploy your ideas and solutions into the global marketplace. I am happy to share that the infocomm sector has done well. Last year, the infocomm industry grew between 6 and 8 percent in 2005, garnering some S$37 billion in revenues.

Kick-Start your Career in the Infocomm Industry

7. Singapore needs to develop globally competitive infocomm professionals who are both technologists and business strategists to grow our infocomm industry as well as to transform key economic sectors. This is one of the key building blocks for Singapore in the digital age. Techno-strategists are infocomm professionals who possess both technical and business expertise, and are able to integrate infocomm use within an organisation. Put that together with great communication skills and you can definitely go a long way. This is the kind of person that great companies will be looking out for.

Apply for the National Infocomm Scholarship

8. So, how do you get started in your infocomm career? One way is to apply for the National Infocomm Scholarship. It has all the right ingredients to help you get a headstart into the infocomm industry. The National Infocomm Scholarship will provide students with a rigorous and well-rounded education to equip them with the knowledge and skills required by the industry. You get a chance to study and work overseas; be mentored by one of the 16 participating leading companies like Intel, Microsoft, IBM, DBS Bank, Singapore Computer Systems as well as IDA just to name a few. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our partners who are seated here today for your support of the National Infocomm Scholarship. In fact, I am pleased to note that two of Singapore's largest organisations have come on board to support the NIS. DBS Bank and Singapore Telecoms, which have strong regional presence and advocate innovative use of infocomm are a boost to the scholarship.

9. I also understand that there were 4 times more applications this year, compared to 2005. Hence, ladies and gentlemen, we are looking at the brightest infocomm talents this year who have fought off fierce competition. To answer the call to attract bright foreign talent to reinforce Singapore as an infocomm hub, we have also opened NIS to foreign applicants this year. There are 4 foreigners among the 36 recipients this year. Like the Singaporean scholars, they all have a dream that they want to fulfill in Singapore, that is - to enhance lives using infocomm.

10. We are prepared to offer more scholarships to talented individuals who have excellent results, are passionate about infocomm and possess strong leadership qualities. Already, we are working with the local universities to offer more flagship courses in collaboration with top overseas universities to enhance the quality of our infocomm curriculum and graduates. Take this year as a good example. Of the 36 scholarships awarded, nine scholars will be pursuing the SMU-Carnegie Mellon Fast track Master's course. This is the first flagship course offered in March this year in partnership with the Singapore Management University (SMU) and the world-renowned Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). The scholars will graduate with both a Bachelor of Science degree from SMU and a master's degree in IT from Carnegie Mellon University.

11. Students now have a chance to learn from the very best and become the very best. Not only will they get well-grounded in a mixture of IT, business and liberal arts foundation courses at SMU, they will also hone their expertise through specialised courses in Carnegie Mellon. There will be more of such courses to come as we continue to concentrate our efforts in boosting the development of talents.


12. In closing, I'm pleased to recognise the scholars and winners of the National Software Competition who are receiving their awards today.

13. My heartiest congratulations to you all.

Thank you.