Associate Professor Seng Boon Kheng, Vice Dean of the School of Human Development and Social Services (HDSS) and Head of the Social Work programme at SIM University (UniSIM) and HDSS' Professor Tan Ngoh Tiong were presented with the Pioneer Social Worker Award on 15 March 2016. They were among the 10 social work champions to be presented with this award to recognise their contributions to improving lives in Singapore by Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Minister for Social and Family Development.
The award ceremony was held in conjunction with the 10th annual Social Workers' Day event, which was organised by the Singapore Association of Social Workers (SASW), and saw more than 500 social service practitioners gather at the Flower Field Hall at Gardens by the Bay to celebrate the theme of "Honouring Diversity".
In his speech, Minister Tan emphasised that the social service sector is "society's vehicle of change", and highlighted the Government's efforts in supporting social workers through initiatives such as the National Social Work Competency Framework, which guides the development of social workers across different sectors in Singapore. He also thanked the social service pioneers for laying the foundation of social work in Singapore, making a difference to the lives of others, and guiding and inspiring the young social workers.
Associate Professor Seng was Head of the Medical Social Work department at Woodbridge Hospital/Institute of Mental Health from 1989 – 2006, and founding member of the Alzheimer's Disease Association. She sits on the Board of Governors of Boys' Town, and chairs the service committee in the AMKFSC Community Services Management Committee. Under her strong leadership, the Professional Conversion Programme for Social Workers – a collaboration between UniSIM, the Singapore Workforce Development Agency and National Council of Social Service – has contributed to the manpower growth in Singapore's social service sector.
Professor Tan's contributions to social service include twice serving as President of SASW from 1990 – 1992 and 2003 – 2005. He is also a long-time champion for international social work practice and social development; besides spearheading international disaster management projects, he was founder and chair of the Global Institute of Social Work, and had served as Vice President (Asia and Pacific) of the International Federation of Social Workers from 2000 – 2002. Professor Tan, whose life mission is to "do as much good, to as many people, for as long as I can", shared: "The pioneers are a generation of social workers who are committed to bringing up future generations of helping professionals to serve people everywhere."
(From left) Professor Tan Ngoh Tiong receiving his award from Minister Tan Chuan-Jin.
Associate Professor Seng Boon Kheng receiving her award from Minister Tan Chuan-Jin.