Oral Reply to Parliamentary Question on engineering scholarships
Parliamentary Sitting Date: 15 September 2009
Er Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Prime Minister (a) in 2008 and 2009, how many applicants for Government scholarships applied to pursue their studies in engineering; (b) how many of these applicants are awarded scholarships; and (c) what is the Public Service Commission doing to ensure an even distribution of applicants for various courses ranging from humanities to engineering.
Oral Reply (for the Prime Minister) by Mr Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister in charge of the Civil Service, and Minister for Defence:
In 2009, the Public Service Commission (PSC) received more than 2,500 applications, out of which 280 (11%) indicated Engineering as their top choice of study. Another 450 (18%) applicants indicated the Sciences as their top choice of study. Eventually, the PSC awarded 84 scholarships, out of which 11 (13%) and 15 (18%) were for Engineering and the Sciences respectively. In other words, more than 30% of all PSC scholarships awarded this year were for Engineering and the Sciences.
In 2008, PSC received 2,300 applications, with 140 (6%) indicating Engineering as their top choice of study. Another 390 (17%) applicants indicated the Sciences as their top choice of study. The PSC awarded 72 scholarships, out of which 11 (15%) and 14 (20%) were for Engineering and the Sciences respectively. This means that 35% of all PSC scholarships awarded in 2008 were for Engineering and the Sciences.
PSC offers its scholars the flexibility to pursue a wide range of courses, including Engineering, the Sciences and Humanities, in different countries. This ensures that scholars bring into the Civil Service a diverse range of perspectives and experiences. This is important as the Civil Service continues to confront increasingly complex challenges in a more inter-connected world.
The Public Service Commission would like to see many of its scholars continue to take up Sciences and Engineering. This will continue to be emphasised at PSC’s scholarship talks to students in Junior Colleges and Polytechnics.
Apart from the PSC, many Statutory Boards also offer scholarships. Some of these Statutory Boards such as A*STAR, DSTA, PUB and NEA, offer scholarships for Engineering and the Sciences to meet their specialised manpower requirements. For instance, in 2009 A*STAR awarded 13 Engineering and 32 Science scholarships. DSTA awarded 38 Engineering and 8 Science scholarships. These two Statutory Boards, in particular, work very closely with schools to cultivate students’ interest in Science, Technology and Engineering. This is done through initiatives such as camps, competitions and research attachments.