Public sector scholarships
Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on public sector scholarships
Parliamentary Sitting Date: 14 February
Assoc Prof Ong Soh Khim: To ask the Prime Minister and Minister for Finance (a) what percentage of officers in the various government related boards, such as the Economic Development Board, are scholars; (b) how many of these scholars are assigned to administrative positions that are not in line with their undergraduate training; and (c) will there be any steps taken to match the training of these scholars to the job scopes assigned to them, after the completion of their studies, so as to ensure that their talents are not wasted.
Written Reply (for the Prime Minister) by Mr Teo Chee Hean, Minister in charge of the Civil Service and Minister for Defence:
In the civil service, 10.6 % of Division 1 officers are scholars (excluding the Education Service). For the Education Service, 3.7% of our teachers (including trainee teachers) are scholars. For the statutory boards that give out a large number of scholarships1, on average, 16% of their Division 1 officers are scholars.
The majority of public sector scholarships are aimed at grooming talent for policy development, operational and administrative positions in the agencies. For these jobs, we expect the undergraduate courses to provide them with sufficient grounding to perform their first jobs competently. These scholars are generally allowed to choose from a wide range of courses so that they can come back to take up a range of duties, and not just duties specific to their course of study. Subsequently if the scholars need to undertake duties or roles that require more specialized or professional knowledge, they may be sent for postgraduate studies in the relevant fields. Some scholarships are for specialist careers. The terms and conditions of such scholarships and the type of work that the scholars will be assigned to during their careers are carefully conveyed to the scholars before they take up the scholarships. For example, in the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the architecture scholars are deployed to do urban design work upon their return. In the Defence Science and Technology Agency, scholars will be assigned to engineering/technical positions in their first two to three years.
The public sector invests heavily in scholarships as a means to attract a fair share of talent and to develop the future pipeline of leaders and professional talent. Public sector agencies are mindful that scholars are well developed and deployed, to reap the full benefits of the investment.
1 The statutory boards are the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA), Economic Development Board (EDB), Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), International Enterprise Singapore (IE Singapore), Jurong Town Corporation (JTC), Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).