Published on 26 June 2023
Dr Susie Khoo, President of Kaplan Singapore
Mr Patrick Hee, CEO of Engineering Good
1. Good morning. I am very happy to join you here today to witness the partnership launch between Engineering Good, a home-grown charity which connects low-income families to technology, and Kaplan Singapore, a private education institution whose core values include creating opportunities and providing access to knowledge for the community it serves.
Year of Celebrating Social Service Partners
2. This partnership is timely as the Ministry of Social and Family Development has dedicated 2023 as the Year of Celebrating Social Service Partners. This is to recognise the integral contributions of partners, like yourselves, who are crucial to the collective effort of uplifting those among us with less. Such partnerships are not limited to those between the Government and the social sector, but also extend beyond, to the private and people sectors.
3. I am very happy that through this partnership, you have rallied your expertise – Engineering Good’s expertise in technology, and Kaplan’s manpower and resources to not only save the environment, but also help segments of the community harness technology to improve their lives.
Reducing E-Waste to Benefit Others & the Environment
4. Each year, Singapore generates about 60,000 tonnes of e-waste. This is equivalent to each person in Singapore discarding about 70 mobile phones each year!1 Leveraging your expertise to do good, this is where the Engineering Good and Kaplan Singapore partnership comes in. I understand that Kaplan will be setting up a collection point right here on its campus for staff, students, alumni members and partners to drop off their used electronic devices such as mobile phones, tablets and laptops. Trained by Engineering Good volunteers, Kaplan’s staff and students will assess and sort the device’s suitability for refurbishment or for recycling. The refurbished devices will be distributed to one of the over 200 Social Service Agencies that Engineering Good supports, including disability SSAs like SPD and the Singapore Association for the Visually Handicapped (SAVH). A recent example will be how a refurbished laptop enabled a SAVH client to attend a skills-upgrading training course.
5. I am happy to learn that to date, Engineering Good has refurbished and distributed nearly 8,000 devices since they started this effort three years ago in 2020, saving an estimated 11,000 kg of e-waste – or the equivalent of about 9 Toyota Corollas – from being incinerated and sent to the landfill. This is indeed a remarkable achievement, and I am sure that the partnership between Engineering Good and Kaplan Singapore would take this further. I understand that this partnership has already extended to other sustainability projects to reduce e-waste in corporate organisations.
Structured & Collective Solutioning
6. Apart from being involved in the effort of collecting, refurbishing and distributing used electronic devices, Kaplan will be exploring opportunities with Engineering Good to solve real-world problems in the form of solution-based projects under the Kaplan Industry Project2. These include open-source Assistive Technology projects specially designed for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Staff, students and alumni of Kaplan may volunteer for Engineering Good’s various activities and events such as its annual Tech for Good event and efforts under its ‘Digital Literacy’ thrust.
7. I attended Engineering Good’s Tech for Good Festival last year, and I remember distinctively being inspired by how the collaboration could help create solutions to meet the needs of persons with disabilities. With today’s partnership, I do hope that more will come forward to contribute and help others, including persons with disabilities.
8. In closing, I congratulate both Engineering Good and Kaplan Singapore for their partnership. May it be fruitful and lasting, and send a strong signal to others about the potential of collaborations to drive positive change in our community.
9. Thank you.
1 Source: https://www.towardszerowaste.gov.sg/ewaste/
2 The Kaplan Industry Project is a programme offered by Kaplan's Employability and Student Affairs department which exposes students to the real world, encouraging them to solve industry-specific problems and equipping them with essential knowledge.