Singapore Indian Education Trust

The Singapore Indian Education Trust (SIET) is an Indian community trust fund that supports the education of local Indians, particularly those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. It was set up in 1967 with trade unionist Govindasamy Kandasamy as one of its key founders.1 The Registrar of Societies approved SIET’s constitution on 7 July 1967.2

The SIET was established in the midst of tumultuous economic change among local Indians, brought on by the separation of Singapore from Malaya, and the imminent withdrawal of British forces upon whom the Indian community had heavily depended for employment. Realising the importance of education to the Indian community’s future success, activist Govindasamy Kandasamy gathered 12 volunteers to help set up a scholarship fund. The inaugural meeting at the Singapore Indian Association on 30 August 1966 included K. R. Chandra, later permanent secretary, and M. Bala Subramanion, director of postal services, and T. Selvaganapathy. It was initially known as the Indian Scholarship Trust Fund, with Kandasamy as its first chairman.3

On 31 December 1967, the trust had a total of S$3,297.10 in its funds. Its first awards were given out in April 1972. In 1995, a S$50,000 donation was made by the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple, the first by a Chinese temple to the Indian trust.5 In 2017, the trust received funding from various scholarships funds, memorial trust funds, education funds, as well as donations from individuals and organisations.6

The SIET provides bursaries and interest free loans for studies up to the tertiary level. Special study awards are also available, mainly for tertiary education in key universities.7

In 2016, bursaries amounting to S$182,500 were distributed by the SIET to 155 students from the Institute of Technical Education, junior colleges, polytechnics and universities. To be eligible for a bursary, the student has to come from a low-income family with a per capita household income of S$650. In the same year, the trust also disbursed S$97,645 under the SIET study loan scheme to 19 students. Under the SINDA-SIET tertiary study loan scheme, an amount of S$443,627 was disbursed to 74 students. The SIET also administered 24 SINDA-SIET scholarships, a partnership between SINDA and several private educational institutions, for diploma and degree programmes to encourage students to pursue higher skills and educational qualifications.8


Bonny Tan

1. Zuzanita Zakaria, “Surge in Demand for Study Awards,” Straits Times, 15 January 1999, 59 (From NewspaperSG); ”About,” Singapore Indian Education Trust, accessed 28 September 2017. 
2. R. O. Daniel, Singapore Indian Education Trust: The First Thirty Years (Singapore: [s.n.], 2002), 15. (Call no. RSING 371.22095957 SIN-[SRN])
3. Singapore Indian Education Trust, “About”; Daniel, Singapore Indian Education Trust, 13.
4. Singapore Indian Education Trust, “About”; Daniel, Singapore Indian Education Trust, 22.
5. Zakaria, “Surge in Demand for Study Awards”; S. Tsering Bhalla, “Chinese Temple Helps Indian Students,” Straits Times, 16 February 1995, 2 (From NewspaperSG); Daniel, Singapore Indian Education Trust, 42.
6. “Endowments,” Singapore Indian Education Trust, accessed 28 September 2017; Zakaria, “Surge in Demand for Study Awards.”
7. Zakaria, “Surge in Demand for Study Awards.”
8. Singapore Indian Education Trust, Annual Report, 2017 (Singapore: Singapore Indian Education Trust, 2017)

The information in this article is valid as at 2017 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic. 

Student aid--Singapore
Indians (Asian people)--Educatiuon--Singapore
Heritage and Culture
Singapore Indian Education Trust