NTU Singapore employees donate a record S$13.68 million worth of unused leave for student aid and school advancement

New Delhi: Some 1,900 faculty and staff at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) have donated a record $13.68 million worth of their unused annual leave to the University in support of student financial aid and school advancement. This represents an increase of more than 33 per cent compared to last year’s donation of $10.25 million.


Among the 1,978 employees who donated this year, an average of 14 days of leave was pledged. Combining the leave donations from this year and last year, there were 900 employees who contributed a total of 30 days each, the maximum number of days allowable under the special programme, which is part of the University’s annual Faculty and Staff Giving initiative.


Collectively, the NTU employees gave 27,593 days of unused leave in 2021, compared to 20,145 days last year.


NTU’s Leave Redemption and Donation Exercise began last year to enable employees to voluntarily channel their unused vacation leave towards a good cause. University employees could choose to redeem the monetary value of their unutilised annual leave, based on each individual’s salary rates, for donation to an NTU fund of their choice, which includes the NTU Priorities Fund.


Ms Tan Aik Na, NTU Senior Vice President (Administration), said, “This year’s employee donations are a strong demonstration of the OneNTU community coming together to support our students’ success and well-being. With the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, many employees have stepped forward to ask how we can do more, especially for our students. This latest round of donations will enable us to boost our programmes and financial assistance to our students and ensure that no NTU student is left behind due to this pandemic.”


Of the $13.68 million raised from the 2021 leave donation, $4.17 million is being channelled to the NTU Priorities Fund, with the balance being channelled to the NTU Wellbeing Fund and several college and school advancement funds. Launched in April 2020 as part of NTU’s COVID-19 relief package, the fund provides financial assistance to the neediest NTU students who are affected by COVID-19.


To date, 1,425 students have received financial assistance totalling more than $2 million from the University’s COVID-19 relief package.


Among the employees who gave 30 days’ worth of personal leave to the NTU Priorities Fund was Dr Cyril Donnelly, a Principal Research Fellow at NTU’s Rehabilitation Research Institute of Singapore.


Dr Donnelly said, “NTU is built upon the hard work of our undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral students. During this difficult period, I was hoping this small gesture can help ease the financial burdens placed on these individuals. Students around the world are experiencing similar difficulties, thus I felt obliged to help out any student in need.”


Mr Chin-Hsien Cheng, a project officer at the Asian School of the Environment, gave 26 leave days to the NTU Priorities Fund. He said, “In these uncertain times, while we are all impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, the students are still our priority. I also enjoy my research work, and hence the vacation leave is not that important to me. It is my pleasure to donate it to students.”


Professor Thambipillai Srikanthan, Executive Director of the Cyber Security Research Centre at NTU, gave 30 vacation days in cash value to the School of Computer Science and Engineering (SCSE) Advancement Fund.


Professor Sri said, “SCSE is where I grew up in professionally, and I also looked after the School as Chair for six years previously. Doing something for the greater good is an act of service, so I did not hesitate to give, because this is something I can do for the School’s betterment.


“COVID-19 has affected not only the welfare of individuals and families, but also the collective health of our communities. While IT access has helped mitigate COVID-19’s impact on access to information and social connection, my colleagues and I are keenly aware of its impact on students’ financial worries and other concerns. As a University community, we have to do all that we can to support our students during this pandemic. When we contribute what we can, we lift up everyone around us.”


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