SINGAPORE: Nine polytechnic graduates received the Public Service Commission (PSC) Scholarship this year, the highest so far in the history of the award.

One of them, Teo Chuan Kai, 19, will be going to the National University of Singapore to study information security.

He said that an internship at the Government Technology Agency helped him decide this was the career he wanted to pursue.

“It was my first glimpse at what technologies were being used (at the) industry level, and it also gave me a better view of the roles of different agencies play in terms of contributing to information technology within Singapore,” he said.

Chairman of the commission Lee Tzu Yang said that this year, the PSC looked harder into more places to seek potential talent.

“In addition to a wider range of schools, we worked with the polytechnics to encourage interest in a public service career,” he said in his opening address at the scholarship award ceremony on Wednesday (Jul 17).

A total of 90 undergraduate and three postgraduate scholarships were awarded this year. These recipients come from 17 different institutions, also a record number.

These include scholarship recipients from Integrated Programme and non-Intergrated Programme schools, as well as International Baccalaureate backgrounds.

Mr Lee said that PSC also steered more candidates to different courses and countries of study this year.

“Our strategic intent is to develop talent with diverse disciplines, different experiences and broader networks,” he said. “While we continue to promote STEM and especially engineering, we have a range of scholarship recipients in the humanities, arts and social sciences.”

While most of the scholarship recipients will be pursuing their studies overseas, Mr Lee noted the growing number of recipients who choose Singapore to further their education.

A total of 29 scholarship recipients will be studying in Singapore universities, the highest in 10 years.

“This will help develop networks of local peers and stakeholders for our future,” he said.

During his keynote address at the event, Minister for Trade and Industry and Minister-in-charge of the Public Service Chan Chun Sing said that it was no longer sufficient for those in the public service to only have policy-making skills.

He emphasised that it was vital to possess a variety of skills as well as receive exposure beyond the public service.

“The Public Service that we aspire to be is one that will not only take care of fellow Singaporeans today, but to be able to anticipate the challenges and solve them ahead of time, even before fellow Singaporeans may become aware of it,” he said.

Moving forward, Mr Lee said that future candidates will likely be also assessed using Game Based Assessment in order to achieve diversity among the scholarship recipients.

“By understanding the behaviour of candidates under different circumstances, we will be better able not just to understand individuals but also build teams,” Mr Lee added.