MORE needy students are getting help with school-going expenses from South West Community Development Council (CDC) and its corporate partners, which gave out double the number of bursaries this year.
A total of $400,000 will go to 3,400 students in schools in the South West District.
A portion of that will go to transport, amounting to $60,000 for 500 students. Each student will get $120 annually, provided by ExxonMobil and matched by South West CDC.
At a ceremony to give out the transport bursaries yesterday, South West District Mayor Amy Khor told an audience of some 350 students, parents and teachers: 'Even while the global economy is suffering from one of the most severe downturns in decades, the importance of education to our youth can never be underestimated.
'We hope that this sum of money will inspire more of you to study hard and excel in life.'
More than 1,380 students from needy families have been helped with $210,000 since the transport bursary scheme was started in 2003.
One of the recipients this year is 15-year-old Muhammad Nazrullah Masaruddin, 15, whose mother has died. He has also lost contact with his father.
His grandmother is in poor health and works as a cleaner earning $30 a day.
Said Nazrullah: 'My grandma has to give my brother and me $5 a week to top up our ez-link cards. With this bursary, at least I can help to reduce the amount she has to give us.'
The CDC and four organisations also launched a $60,000 fund last month to help Institute of Technical Education students with their school expenses.
The Ministry of Education announced a doubling of its budget last week to help needy students with measures such as more bursaries and a special grant to schools to help affected students.
This article was first published in The Straits Times.