The SIS Founder Scholarship
The SIS Founder Scholarship was established by the family of Jaspal Sidhu, Founder and Chairman of the SIS Group of Schools to honour the memory of his father, Karam Sidhu who set a shining example for his children and inspired them to greater heights. “No talent must face roadblocks, especially in developing countries. That is why we hope to make quality education accessible to as many talented and determined young individuals in their K-12 learning journey,” said Jaspal on the establishment of the SIS Founder Scholarship.
Jaspal Sidhu, his family and his household Indonesian staff whom he always calls “my Indonesian family.”
Jaspal, a Singaporean, comes from a humble family. Karam Sidhu, was a doorman (satpam – a term used in Indonesia), who together with his wife, a house-maker, worked hard to educate Jaspal and his two brothers. “I always have this recurring vision of my father. I see him holding his lunch, packed in a Tupperware by mom, and then waving to us good-bye before riding his bicycle to work.” Karam and his wife were always quietly proud of the fact that they were able to educate all 3 children through their hard work which gave them the foundation to be successful in their own right.
Karam Sidhu was born in Singapore but had to leave school to support himself. He went on to work as a doorman for a well-known bank for almost all his working life. His job was to greet customers and office staff with a smile as he held the door stoutly open for them. Once a customer left a bag full of money behind, and Karam made sure he got the money back. Integrity was fundamental to his personal values. “You will have many temptations in life, but never compromise on your personal integrity,” he would advise his children. Karam was a very popular employee of the bank having won many awards, including one for looking after an injured staff member while medical help was being arranged. Compassion was a value he inculcated in his children.
Karam also volunteered to sit in two of Singapore’s oldest organisations established for community assembly and worship. There, he would help mediate many community disagreements and disputes and sat in committees entrusted with the proper use of donations. His ability to be impartial without discrimination was his strength. Karam was never afraid to share his views despite his humble job. “My job does not define me,” he would say. “God and I alone define me.” Karam was also a conservative and clever entrepreneur, being able to build a nest of assets for his children through perseverance and hard work.
Notwithstanding a tough life, Karam was a humorous man, always having a joke or two to share in any conversation. “Humour makes you soft and approachable,” he would say. “It helps in communicating something difficult, and it helps in making friends and absolutely counters stress.” The ability to communicate and collaborate are key leadership traits the SIS Group of Schools aim to develop in its students.
Karam Sidhu passed away peacefully on December 12, 2018. He died knowing that Jaspal’s endeavours in the education sector will always continue to make quality education affordable and accessible.
As such, the SIS Founder Scholarship is awarded on an annual basis to students who portray the traits that are near and dear to the Sidhu family that honours Karam Sidhu. These include: those who are in financial need, students who have shown a passion for learning, and demonstrate out-standing qualities like integrity, humility, compassion, perseverance and the ability to collaborate and communicate effectively.
The specific amounts awarded are on a case by case basis and approved by the Board of SIS Group of Schools upon recommendation from the Head Teachers of each school.
The aim and hope of the SIS Founder Scholarship is to give any deserving student a leg-up on life and be the stepping stone needed to spring a young learner to greater heights.