Bumper crop of polytechnic graduates receive PSC scholarships
There was also more diversity this year, with recipients from 17 schools
Nine of this year's 93 Public Service Commission (PSC) scholarship recipients are polytechnic graduates, the highest number yet, and also a big jump from recent years.
Only one scholarship went to a graduate from the polytechnics in the last two years, and there were three in 2016.
In another record which suggests the diversity of scholars is growing, the recipients this year came from 17 schools, including three from Singapore's newest JC, Eunoia, which was set up in 2017.
Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, who attended the award ceremony at the Parkroyal on Beach Road hotel yesterday, highlighted the importance of a civil service which remains diverse, and can call on different skill sets.
"Many foreign commentators say that we have one of the best, if not the best public service in the world. Some of them even... ask, 'Is your public service for hire?' No, it's not for hire, not for sale," said Mr Chan, who is also Minister-in-charge of the Public Service.
"But we are never complacent. This is why the PSC is constantly evolving and reviewing the way we select the next generation of public service scholars who hopefully will, in time, take over the leadership responsibility of this country."
PSC chairman Lee Tzu Yang said the commission looks beyond "smarts" for qualities like integrity, dedication to service and excellence.
"This year, we looked harder into more areas to seek potential talent. In addition to a wider range of schools, we worked with the polytechnics to encourage interest in a Public Service career."
In the coming year, the commission is looking to use game-based assessment to assess aptitude and personality traits.
"By understanding the behaviour of candidates under different circumstances, we will be better able not just to understand individuals but also build teams... And we will continue to look for ways to widen the selection process," said Mr Lee.
He highlighted that the PSC is also promoting a wider range of countries of study, with eight scholars heading to China this year and three to France. At the same time, 29 recipients have chosen to study locally - the highest number in a decade.
Mr Teo Chuan Kai, from Singapore Polytechnic (SP), is one of the 29. He received a PSC Scholarship (Engineering) to read information security at the National University of Singapore.
Explaining why he chose SP over a JC, Mr Teo, who scored six points (L1R4) in the O levels, said: "The way the polytechnics presented their curriculum was far more interesting than regular subjects - they had modules like cryptography, for instance."
FOR MORE, READ THE STRAITS TIMES TODAY