Reply to ST Forum letter "PSC scholarships is not a mission to address inequality in society"

19 July 2018

PSC scholarships are awarded based on merit 

We refer to the letter by Mr Francis Cheng Choon Fei (“PSC scholarships is not a mission to address inequality in society”; Jul 16), who suggested that the Public Service Commission (PSC) should award scholarships based on merit and not needs.

We agree that the role of the PSC is to select the best candidates with the potential to be public service leaders, and have a heart to serve the nation. 

Given the increasing diversity of our population and the complex challenges we face, we need a Public Service that reflects diversity. We need a Service that has different perspectives and deep expertise in various areas to bring Singapore forward. Thus, the PSC goes out of its way to seek out and select scholarship candidates from different backgrounds. 

Our scholarship recipients study a variety of courses in different universities. We also encourage them to enrich and diversify their experiences by venturing to different countries and acquiring new skills that would serve Singapore well.

In striving for diversity,  we ensure that our selection process is multi-dimensional and we are able to pick out merit in its different forms. 

Apart from cognitive ability, we also look at qualities such as resilience and leadership. 

Most of all, we look for candidates with integrity and commitment. Each candidate is assessed holistically. While the PSC does not discriminate against students from affluent families, we also go the extra mile to search for promising candidates from less privileged backgrounds.

There is no quota for PSC scholarships, and the PSC will continue to maintain high standards by awarding scholarships to those who would make excellent public officers.

Dr Ng Li Sa
Director, Public Service Commission Secretariat
Public Service Division