SINGAPORE: The Government is launching a new scholarship programme aimed at attracting top Singaporean students who have demonstrated potential for technical leadership and a passion for serving in the public sector, said Dr Janil Puthucheary, Minister-in-charge of Government Technology Agency (GovTech), on Thursday (Mar 1).
During the ongoing Committee of Supply debates, Dr Puthucheary announced the Smart Nation Scholarship, which it hopes to attract and groom a pool of deep technological talent and leaders for GovTech, the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) and the Infocommunications Media Development Authority (IMDA).
The scholarship is open to Singaporean students who have completed their junior college or polytechnic studies, or interested undergraduates. The former will be able to pursue their studies here or in overseas universities, while those already studying here or overseas can apply for mid-term scholarships, the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO) said in a separate media release.
Those currently studying in non-ICT-related courses can also apply if they are interested in taking up a double degree in ICT, it added.
They can make a general application and state their preferred agency – whether CSA, GovTech or IMDA – then. Besides academic performance, candidates will be assessed on other aspects such as co-curricular activities and involvement in ICT events and competitions, among others, the agency said.
Upon the completion of their studies, these scholarship holders will be deployed within the agency they indicated. “They will gain direct admission onto their respective parent agency’s talent programmes, where they will undergo rigorous and in-depth technical training to fast-track their career development and be groomed into future technology leaders in the public service,” SNDGO said.
Up to 10 scholarships will be on offer every year. These scholars will be under bond with their parent agency for four years if it’s a local scholarship, or six years if it is an overseas one, it said.
Applications will be opened at year’s end for the academic year of 2019, SNDGO said.
“Scholars will join the national effort to drive Singapore’s Smart Nation endeavour and define the future of Singapore,” SNDGO said.
“They will create digital solutions to help Government better serve citizens, defend our systems from the ever-changing cyber threat and help our companies seize the opportunities of the digital economy.”
The new scholarship is part of the Government’s efforts to attract the top tech talent, in a space where demand is constantly growing. Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim painted this picture last November when he said the demand for ICT professionals will grow to more than 42,000 over the next three years.
It was reported during the launch of the Skills Framework for ICT that there were 180,000 ICT professionals in Singapore and about 18,000 vacancies in the sector.