Singapore Polytechnic’s 59th graduation ceremony marks key milestones in building a more inclusive society and lifelong learning

08 May 2019


Singapore, 8 May 2019 – Singapore Polytechnic (SP) today hosted its 59th graduation ceremony, with Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for National Development, Mr Desmond Lee, as the Guest-of-Honour. This year, 5,621 graduates will receive their diplomas, advanced diplomas, specialist diplomas and certificates over 16 sessions.


Among the Class of 2019 are 42 graduates from the Diploma in Applied Drama & Psychology (DADP), the only one-of-its-kind offered by an Institute of Higher Learning in Singapore. They will be joining the pool of over 300 graduates, who have made an impact on the social service sector in the past decade.

The DADP graduates are able to use drama as a tool to tackle pressing issues faced by the different community groups. Over the years, they have successfully created and organised more than 30 theatre performances and workshops which cover a myriad of challenging social issues including drug addiction in rental flat communities, cyber and physical bullying and mental health.


Amongst this year’s DADP graduating cohort is SP’s Institutional Medallist (Tan Kay Yong Gold Medal), Callista Anne Yin. She has led her team to conceptualise and produce an interactive theatre programme for the Institute of Mental Health to raise mental health awareness especially amongst the youth. The programme made such a deep impact on the community that it received funding from the National Youth Council for an additional run at *SCAPE Singapore.


But, Callista’s experience with mental health runs deeper. Back in secondary school, she went through a difficult period where she suffered from anxiety attacks; she broke down often and isolated herself. In polytechnic, she witnessed her close friend, who suffered from mental health issues, attempt suicide. Rising up to the challenge, Callista supported her friend and also acted as a bridge between her friend and her friend’s family and lecturers. She also provided support to her sister who has ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).


Callista shared, “There are many misconceptions about people with mental health conditions. Even those who are diagnosed may face stigma, which inhibits the recovery process. Hence, I hope to create more awareness of mental health and facilitate constructive discussion about the issue. If we can exhibit more empathy, we will be able to remove the stigma associated with mental disorders and help build a more inclusive society. ”


Further education to help the Social Service sector raise standards

As the special needs community and sector evolve, there is a greater urgency for the social service sector to build and improve its competencies for future readiness.


In consultation with some social service organisations, SP has recently launched the new Specialist Diploma in Applied Drama & Psychology (NSDAP). This is the first-of-its-kind course that will equip social service professionals with alternative skills and tools to tackle challenges in their line of work. They will learn how to use applied drama to communicate sensitive or difficult topics with a diverse group of participants. The use of applied drama also allows participants to better share their thoughts and feelings in a safe and controlled environment. Twenty social service professionals are currently undergoing the new NSDAP course and they will graduate in May 2020.


A Poly for All Ages  

This year, SP also celebrates the graduation of 1,232 adult learners, representing an increase of almost 50 per cent as compared to 2018. This is also the highest number of Continuing Education (CET) graduates recorded by the polytechnic. Expanding on its existing 463 CET courses, SP also rolled out 10 new courses ranging from data science, digital marketing & analytics to speciality chemicals and enhanced human resource skills.

Amongst this year’s CET graduates is sixty-eight year-old Tham Fook Choon, who has received his Diploma (Conversion) in Shipping Operations & Management. Prior to taking up the course, Fook Choon had spent his entire career of 40 years in the Oil and Gas industry, supervising the construction of oil rigs. When the industry faced a downturn three years ago, Fook Choon realised the pressing need to pick up new skills and consider a different industry.


Fook Choon decided to enrol in the CET course as he realised more professionals will be needed to support the Maritime industry with the opening of the Tuas Megaport. His decision to pursue life-long learning paid off as Fook Choon was eventually retrenched.


Mr Tham said, “Initially, it was difficult to come back to the classroom, but with help from my lecturers and classmates, I managed to overcome my challenges. As part of the Merdeka Generation that has contributed to nation building, I want to continue doing so. I am confident I can benefit my future employer with the transferable working experience and new found skills.”


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Graduation 11 


SP Institutional Medallists from the Class of 2019 with Guest-of-Honour, Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for National Development, Mr Desmond Lee, Deputy Chairman of SP’s Board of Governors, Mr Johnny Tan and SP Principal and Chief Executive Officer, Mr Soh Wai Wah.


From left to right:


  1. Diploma in Visual Communication & Media Design graduate and Tay Eng Soon Gold Medal winner, Tan Wee Kiat
  2. Diploma in Business Information Technology graduate and Lee Kuan Yew Award winner, Goh Aik Lang,
  3. Diploma in Computer Engineering graduate and Lee Kuan Yew Award winner Ong Jun Hock Ryan,
  4. Diploma in Human Resource Management with Psychology graduate and Low Guan Onn Gold Medal winner, Joscelyn Chong Cai Ting,
  5. Deputy Chairman of SP’s Board of Governors, Mr Johnny Tan,
  6. Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for National Development, Mr Desmond Lee,
  7. SP Principal and Chief Executive Officer, Mr Soh Wai Wah,
  8. Diploma in Applied Drama & Psychology graduate and Tan Kay Yong Gold Medal winner, Callista Anne Yin Kai Ren,
  9. Diploma in Chemical Engineering graduate and Lee Kuan Yew Award winner, Songkiat Ow Shiyuan,
  10. Diploma in Maritime Business graduate and Toh Chin Chye Gold Medal winner, Quek Jun Hui,
  11. Diploma in Mechanical Engineering graduate and Chua Chor Teck Gold Medal winner, Phua Shin Zert,


Graduation 22

SP’s Institutional Medallist and Tan Kay Yong Gold Medal winner, Callista Anne Yin Kai Ren, receiving her medal from
Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for National Development, Mr Desmond Lee.

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For enquiries:

Frank Chua                                                                    
Communications Specialist
T: 6870 7043
M: 9771 7871

Lynn Wee
Communications Executive
T: 6870 7866
M: 8481 5735

About Singapore Polytechnic (

Established in 1954, Singapore Polytechnic (SP) is Singapore’s first polytechnic. It has 10 schools that offer 40 full-time courses and 3 common entry programmes for close to 16,000 students. SP adopts a proven creative teaching and learning framework and offers students a holistic, authentic and industry-relevant curriculum, innovative and vibrant learning spaces, and enriching overseas programmes.  

The Polytechnic is committed to producing competent and versatile graduates who are also imbued with sound values, so that they can be work ready, life ready and world-ready.  SP has more than 206,000 graduates and among them are successful entrepreneurs, top executives in multi-national and public-listed corporations, and well-known professionals across various industries and leaders in government.

SP clinched the inaugural ASEAN People’s Award in 2015 for its contributions toward the region’s community-building efforts. SP is also the first polytechnic to be awarded the President’s Award for the Environment in 2010 and the President's Social Service Award in 2011.

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