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FORTY financially challenged polytechnic and university students received cash cheques worth $55,500 today in an on-line bursary ceremony organized by the Copyright Licensing and Administration Society of Singapore (CLASS).

Although it is CLASS’s 10th annual bursary award presentation, this is the first time for the nonprofit copyright management organization to hold the event remotely because of social distancing measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Minister for National Development, Mr Desmond Lee, who is also the Minister-in-Charge of Social Services Integration spoke to the students remotely in a pre-recorded speech. Thanking CLASS for its continuous assistance to needy students, he noted that earlier batches of CLASS bursary recipients had in turn been inspired to give back to society by doing charity work while still in school and even after graduation.

CLASS’ bursary criteria are that recipients must be Singaporean tertiary students and are financially challenged. Each university student received $1,500, while polytechnic students were given $1,200 each.

The students were selected by the National University of Singapore, Singapore Management University, Singapore University of Technology and Design, Singapore Institute of Technology, Singapore University of Social Sciences and all five polytechnics — Nanyang, Ngee Ann, Temasek, Singapore Polytechnic and Republic Polytechnic. Since the CLASS bursary scheme started in 2011, it has benefitted more than 450 local tertiary students.

CLASS CEO, Mr Paul Wee, PBM, says: “Our annual bursary is an important part of CLASS’s contribution to local education. This is in addition to granting easy access to books and other publications belonging to our publisher and author members and affiliated members worldwide.” He adds: “The bursary illustrates how CLASS as a not-for-profit copyright licensing organization, does not only collect royalties from users but also gives back to those in need.”

Established in 2000 by local and international book publishers and authors, CLASS licenses and collects royalties from educational institutes in Singapore, including universities, polytechnics, MOE schools, colleges, government-aided institutions and private education institutions (PEIs).

In addition, it also represents rights-owners from its foreign sister organizations, and has been appointed by the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organizations (IFRRO) to help establish similar licensing and collecting societies in Asia.

So far, CLASS has already helped set up such copyright management agencies in Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam, and is now working with Malaysian and Thai book publishers to establish similar collecting societies in Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.

CLASS has also collaborated with Norway’s National Copyright Organization, NORCODE, to help the Tanzanian copyright society launch its licensing scheme to their schools, colleges and universities in Tanzania, which is now operating successfully.

Minister Desmond Lee congratulatory speech to the Bursary Awards 2020 recipients

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