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12 January 2022 Parliamentary Replies

Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on recruitment of PSC scholarship recipients from diverse backgrounds

Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on recruitment of PSC scholarship recipients from diverse backgrounds

Parliamentary Sitting:12 January 2022

Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Prime Minister (a) in the past ten years, what is the annual proportion of PSC scholarship recipients from (i) Raffles Institution and Hwa Chong Institution (ii) other junior colleges (iii) polytechnics and (iv) other schools and institutes of higher learning, with a breakdown by housing type; (b) what measures are put in place for the recruitment of PSC scholars from more diverse schools; and (c) what is the assessed effectiveness of these measures.

Written Reply by Mr Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Education and Minister-in-charge of the Public Service.

The Public Service Commission (PSC) awards scholarships based on merit and seeks out suitable candidates regardless of background. 

Over the last 10 years, the PSC has deliberately expanded outreach efforts to diversify the scholarship pipeline. There are now partnerships with self-help community groups as well as with all 28 pre-university institutions (i.e. JCs, Polytechnics, Specialised Schools) to proactively identify and encourage outstanding Singaporean students with the suitable traits to apply for a PSC scholarship. Particular attention is paid to engaging students from more humble backgrounds and institutions which traditionally have fewer PSC scholarship recipients.  For students who demonstrate potential at a later stage in life, the PSC has also linked up with local universities to encourage Singaporean undergraduates who are already enrolled to consider a career in the Public Service through a Mid-term or Master’s Scholarship.

The PSC scholarship recipients in the last 10 years come from a range of education institutions. In 2012-18, more than 60% of the PSC scholarships were awarded to students from RI/HCI, but this has come down to less than half when we look at the average for the last 3 years between 2019 and 2021.

Over the same 10-year period, the proportion of PSC scholarships awarded to other JCs and IP/Specialised Schools has gone up from a 5-year average of 32% between 2012 and 2016 to 37% in the more recent 5 years (2017-2021). More polytechnic students have been awarded, from 1-5% to 6-10% in recent years. The proportion of recipients from other institutions varies from year to year between 2% and 4%. The proportion of PSC scholarship awardees residing in public housing ranges between 39-54% over the last 10 years.

The PSC will continue to monitor the effectiveness of its strategies to identify and develop a corps of public service leaders and officers from different backgrounds with diverse experiences and a common heart to serve Singapore and Singaporeans.