Government scholars employed by the Civil Service
Oral Reply to Parliamentary Question on government scholars employed by the Civil Service
Parliamentary Sitting Date: 28 February 2007
Ms Denise Phua Lay Peng: To ask the Prime Minister and Minister for Finance (a) what is the number of government scholars currently employed by the Civil Service; (b) what are their career paths and development roadmaps; and (c) how will their development roadmaps prepare them adequately for the many important tasks they are assigned to.
Oral Reply (for the Prime Minister) by Mr Teo Chee Hean, Minister in charge of the Civil Service and Minister for Defence:
Each year, the Public Service Commission (PSC) offers about 40-50 scholarships to top students.1 These scholars pursue their undergraduate studies in top local and overseas universities. The majority of them are on “Open” scholarships and will return from their studies to work in various ministries and government agencies. A small number will be deployed to the Ministries of Education, Law and Foreign Service to pursue more specialised career paths. These scholars are groomed to take on top leadership roles.
In addition, the Ministries also award about 150 ministry scholarships each year to serve the need for talent in the respective ministries.
There are currently about 2000 PSC and ministry scholarship holders in the Civil Service. Slightly more than half are in the Teaching Service. If we exclude the teachers, one out of every ten graduate civil servants is a beneficiary of a government scholarship.
To prepare the scholars for their role, the Service invests substantially in their development. We seek to give our scholars a rounded exposure to our national challenges and issues. Scholars attend programmes at different points of their student life - before they embark on their studies, midway through their studies and upon return. We offer them challenging assignments and opportunities to stretch themselves in various roles. All scholars are required to participate in community attachment programmes during their student days1 so that they have a better understanding of the concerns and issues faced by Singaporeans.
The development roadmap for the scholars varies with the inclination and strength of each individual. For scholars who have the capacity to assume top leadership positions, they will be groomed and better prepared for these roles through planned postings and leadership programmes. For those who have the aptitude to take on more specialist functions, the Ministries will provide the necessary training and exposure to develop their capabilities in their selected fields.
Besides the PSC and ministry scholarships, Statutory Boards like A*Star, EDB and DSTA also award about 170 scholarships each year to meet their own manpower needs. These scholars are managed by their parent organisations directly.
Talent is valued in the Civil Service. All public service officers who prove themselves to be outstanding and show potential will be groomed and developed, regardless whether they are or are not scholars.
1 More details are provided in Annex B as supplementary information.
**Annex A - Supplementary information**
Statistics of different Public Service scholarships awarded
Type of Scholarships
| Estimated yearly awards|
(based on awards given in the past 3 years)
PSC top-tier scholarships*
Ministry SGS scholarships
Ministry LMS scholarships
Top statutory board scholarships like ASTAR, DSTA,
*The PSC top-tier scholarships refer to the President’s scholarships, SAF Overseas Scholarships (SAFOS), SPF Overseas Scholarships (SPFOS), Overseas Merit Scholarships (OMS), Local-Overseas Merit Scholarships (LOMS), and the Local Merit Scholarship for Medicine (LMS – Open).
**Annex B - Supplementary information**
Programmes for scholars before and during their studies
Scholars attend a pre-departure programme before they embark on their studies. Midway through their studies, typically in the second year of their undergraduate studies, they attend a milestone programme to gain a better understanding of the basic principles guiding our security, social and economic policies and an appreciation of our national issues and challenges. They are also attached to Ministries to equip them with an understanding of the daily operations of the Ministries and the considerations behind the policies that they implement.
Community involvement of scholars
All scholars are required to participate in community attachment programmes during their student days and are attached to different organizations such as the Metta Welfare Association, Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS), secondary schools and Community Development Councils (CDCs).
Developmental roadmap for tied scholars after they have started work
Once scholars start work in the Civil Service, their career paths and development roadmaps would depend on the profession that he is being groomed for. Tied scholars would undergo training to hone the skills required in their chosen profession. For example, a teaching scholar would first attend the teacher’s pre-service training at the National Institute of Education. This would be followed by alternate postings between teaching positions in schools and MOE HQ positions. Subsequently, outstanding teaching scholars would be given the opportunities to assume principalships and professional leadership positions in the Education service.
Development of Management Associates and Administrative Officers
For the Overseas Merit scholars, they are placed on the Management Associates Programme. Management Associates are selected for their potential to be appointed to the Administrative Service (AS). Administrative Officers from the AS form the majority of the leadership tier in the Civil Service, thus their career paths and development roadmaps are designed in a way to give them a broad exposure to not just policy-making & strategy, but also to implementation and operation. They are deliberately given a broad range of postings across different clusters of ministries, and even postings outside the Civil Service. Postings may vary from between two to five years depending on their seniority.
Along the course of the career for Management Associates, they attend milestone training programmes conducted by the Civil Service College to hone their leadership skills and public policy instincts. For example, all new Management Associates attend the Foundation Course within their first year of service. This is a ten-week induction course to inculcate an understanding of the Public Service and its values, of Singapore and ASEAN as well as introduce leadership concepts and impart essential skills to improve their personal competencies.