Reply to ST article “A Vision for a Society of Equals”
We refer to the article by Ms Jessica Cheam, “A Vision for a Society of Equals” (Sunday Times, 28 April).
We thank Ms Cheam for her comments and agree that the selection of scholarship recipients and leaders should not be based on a narrow definition of success.
When we select public officers, we consider a broad range of indicators and factors to find a good fit for service, so academic achievement is but one factor. For instance, in awarding PSC scholarships, we assess the candidate’s fit for a public service career based on whole-person qualities, which include their character, integrity and commitment to serve the public. All deserving candidates, regardless of their school, family or economic backgrounds, will be awarded a scholarship if they are found suitable. Similarly, in selecting candidates for appointment in the Public Service, qualities such as leadership, teamwork, project management, customer orientation and technical know-how are considered in relation to the nature of work and the positions they apply for.
Likewise, once the officers are hired, they are assessed and promoted based on their job performance and potential to contribute. Academic qualifications do not figure in the appraisal process. They are evaluated holistically not just on their intellectual qualities, but on their ability to understand, listen to and connect with people. All deserving officers who have proven themselves in their career will be considered for leadership and key positions in the Service.
In a selection process, it is inevitable that there will be disappointed applicants. This said, we will continue to improve our processes and cast our net wide to reach out to and consider candidates from different backgrounds for our positions and awards, and assess them fairly based on relevant skills and attributes. In this pursuit, we will keep in mind our fundamental aim of having a merit-based selection and appointment process, one that can help us find the most suitable people for the different jobs in the Public Service.
Public Service Commission