Singapore Technologies Endowment Programme (STEP) in partnership with the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) launched its inaugural Sunburst Innovation Programme (SIP) in September 2014. SIP aims to enhance the creativity and technical skills of students in finding innovative ways to contribute to a better future. Some 160 youths from ASEAN and China participated in this week-long event, which was opened by the Guest of Honour, Mr Sam Tan, Minister of State, PMO and MCCY.
Participants (in teams of four) were challenged to conceptualise an innovation project, which was then presented to a panel of judges. The winning projects included the development of exercise equipment that can help strengthen stroke patients’ limbs, during the initial stages of recovery, and more efficient wheelchairs, that incorporate a built-in heartbeat sensor and hydraulic system.
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About SIP at ITE
Through a series of talks and workshops, practical training, and small group engagement with industry experts, SIP provides youths with a more in depth understanding of how technology can contribute to building a better future. Moving forward, to support innovation programmes at ITE, STEP has committed to funding the development of the best projects from each of the three ITE Colleges. Under its “One ITE System, Three Colleges” Model of Education and Governance, ITE is comprised of ITE College Central, ITE College East and ITE College West. All three colleges participated in the Sunburst Innovation Programme (SIP).
Now in its 17th year, STEP has been building bridges amongst the youth in Asia and contributing to their education. Since 1998, its signature Sunburst Youth Camp (SYC) has hosted over 2,000 teenage students from ASEAN countries, India, China, South Korea, Kazakhstan Bhutan, Mongolia and Turkey. STEP has also included over 600 junior colleges and polytechnic students from Singapore in its programmes, and has enabled youths to engage with the less fortunate, learn about specific areas in the sciences, and gain a better appreciation of the cultures and aspirations of youths from other countries.
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STEP alumni are finding ways to give back and contribute to society. Take Kaibin Lim, a Republic Poly Sunburst Scholar, who is part of a three-member Republic Poly team that has recently developed a wireless system to monitor the vital signs of hundreds of people simultaneously. As a result, this device has captured the interest of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF). Today, Kaibin is still actively involved with STEP and engages with many youths from the STEP Singapore Chapter Boys’ Town Programme, which supports underprivileged youths.