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11 May 2015 Parliamentary Replies

Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on central authority to screen foreign degrees for public service employment

Parliamentary Sitting: 11 May 2015

Mr Png Eng Huat: To ask the Prime Minister whether the Public Service Division will consider setting up a central authority to screen foreign degrees for public service employment purposes in light of the proliferation of degree programmes and degrees of varying qualities offered in the education industry.

Written Reply by Mr Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for National Security, Minister in charge of the Civil Service and Minister for Home Affairs:

The Public Service offers a wide range of jobs with different requirements. Hiring is not based on academic qualifications alone. We take into account other important factors such as relevant work experience, personal attributes and motivations, and commitment to public service. For a mid-career candidate, relevant work experience is more important than academic qualifications for a good job fit. Therefore, the extent to which a candidate’s degree, whether local or foreign, is considered in the hiring decision will differ from job to job, and person to person.

Each public agency is in the best position to decide on the relevance and appropriateness of a candidate’s degree to recruit the best person for the job, considering his other credentials and the requirements of the job. In assessing foreign degrees, the Public Service Division’s guidance to agencies is to check whether the foreign degree is accredited by the home government where the degree originates. For professional qualifications obtained from foreign institutions, the qualifications must be recognised by the relevant professional bodies in Singapore to be considered for the relevant public service post. This is a practical approach and not something a central authority can do.