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​NTU receives $4 million gift to advance teacher education

Published on: 15-Nov-2018


Gift goes towards setting up an endowment for scholarships and grants to support student-teachers and teaching innovations at National Institute of Education

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) today announced a S$4 million gift from the Estate of Irene Tan Liang Kheng to establish and endow new Master's degree scholarships and grants at the National Institute of Education (NIE).

With matching by the Singapore government, a total endowment of S$7.25 million will go towards supporting teacher training and development.

Expressing his gratitude for the gift on behalf of the university, NTU President, Professor Subra Suresh, said, "Madam Tan's Estate has set a truly inspiring example for commitment and passion to support education. The new endowment will support very deserving young men and women as they realise their dreams through their high quality education at NIE. This generous gift will also enable many vital activities that nurture generations of Singapore's future teachers and their students."

The gift was formalised at a ceremony this afternoon attended by Mr Tan Hsuan Heng, the Trustee of the Estate and nephew of Mdm Irene Tan Liang Kheng. Mdm Tan was the widow of the late investment trader and philanthropist Mr Ong Tiong Tat.

Mr Tan Hsuan Heng said, "A great teacher can change a student's life. Teachers need to keep learning and growing. It is my hope that through this gift to NIE, we can nurture inspiring role models who in turn will develop students with the means to create positive change in their lives as well as make meaningful contributions to society. It is also my hope that the gift will inspire others to step forward to contribute to this worthy cause of nurturing great teachers."

The new Scholarships will be named after Mr Ong Tiong Tat and Mdm Irene Tan Liang Kheng, in honour of the late philanthropic couple. The scholarships will support students in five Master's programmes: the Master of Arts (Applied Psychology), Master of Arts (Counselling and Guidance), Master of Arts in Humanities Education, Master of Arts (Leadership and Educational Change) and Master of Education (Early Childhood) programmes.

Up to eight scholarships will be given out annually, each valued at $10,000 per scholarship for subsidised students and $20,000 per scholarship for non-subsidised students.   

In addition, several grants totalling $290,000 over two years will also be set up to enable student-teachers to achieve a well-rounded education by supporting their service learning projects, participation in conferences, leadership development, innovations in teaching and learning, as well as emergency assistance.

The Estate is also contributing $85,000 for a new showcase of books in the CJ Koh Collection at the NIE Library and Information Services Centre – the largest education library in Singapore – also known as LIBRIS.

The showcase will have a new interactive CJ Koh Virtual Library using the latest digital technology. The Collection was named after the late Mr Koh Choon Joo, a lawyer and philanthropist who was a close friend of Mr Ong and Mdm Tan. As Mr Koh's Trustees, the couple had continued his philanthropic mission after he died in 1997 at age 96.

NIE Director, Professor Christine Goh, said, "A dynamic and robust education system calls for skilled and passionate education professionals who can create positive learning experiences and outcomes for our young. The National Institute of Education is heartened by the support and confidence through this gift from the Estate of Mrs Irene Ong-Tan Liang Kheng. Their friendship has further strengthened NIE's mission through the launching of two new scholarships, four grants and a student aid fund. This will contribute significantly to NIE's education excellence and our vision for future-ready teachers in Singapore."

In total, the Estate of Irene Tan Liang Kheng has invested $15 million in NTU Singapore this year.

Earlier in August, the Estate gave its largest gift of S$11 million to a single beneficiary – NTU Singapore – to set up an endowment fund to further medical education and research in healthcare at the university's Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine. With matching by the Singapore government, the total endowment raised was $22 million.


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Media contact:

Shireen Yeo (Ms)


Corporate Communications Office

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore



About Nanyang Technological University

A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has 30,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the Engineering, Business, Science, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and Graduate colleges. It also has a medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, set up jointly with Imperial College London.

NTU is also home to world-class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI) and Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N).

Ranked 12th in the world, NTU has been placed the world's top young university for the past five years. The University's main campus is frequently listed among the Top 15 most beautiful university campuses in the world and it has 57 Green Mark-certified (equivalent to LEED-certified) building projects comprising more than 230 buildings, of which 95% are certified Green Mark Platinum. Apart from its main campus, NTU also has a campus in Singapore's healthcare district.

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About the National Institute of Education, Singapore

The National Institute of Education (NIE) is among the world's top education institutes, renowned for its excellence in teacher education and educational research. Founded in 1950, NIE has played a key and pivotal role in shaping and developing Singapore's teaching workforce.

In a dynamic education milieu, NIE prepares teachers with the requisite values, skills and knowledge to meet the demands of 21st Century learners and classrooms. The quality of our programmes is based on evidence-informed reviews and enhancement and delivered using innovative pedagogies in digitally-mediated learning spaces. We focus on linking theory to practice and aim to develop students with a global and inquiring mindset for lifelong learning.

Our degree, higher degree and professional development programmes offer global perspectives through international practica and semester exchanges while 21st Century pedagogies, multidisciplinary curricula and service learning initiatives help us to develop the holistic reflective practitioner and school leader. NIE has been consistently ranked among the top tier of global education institutions for research impact and excellence in the field of Education. Our research philosophy is focused on impacting school practices, enhancing our own programmes, informing policy formation and, ultimately, improving student learning outcomes. Our international reputation has allowed us to build strategic alliances with other renowned institutions in the US, Europe and Asia Pacific regions.

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