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Diversity of PSC scholarship holders not just based on race, language and religion: Chan Chun Sing

Diversity of PSC scholarship holders not just based on race, language and religion: Chan Chun Sing

Minister-in-charge of the Public Service Chan Chun Sing spoke to this year's Public Service Commission (PSC) scholarship recipients over Zoom as a physical ceremony was not possible due to COVID-19 restrictions. (Photo: Facebook/Chan Chun Sing)

SINGAPORE: The diversity of Public Service Commission (PSC) scholarship recipients goes beyond race, language and religion, Minister-in-charge of the Public Service Chan Chun Sing said on Wednesday (Jul 22).

Mr Chan was responding to a reporter's question on the diversity of the recipients, after he had had a closed-door virtual dialogue with the new scholarship holders.

"How we look at diversity - diversity is not just based on the usual race, language, religion perspective," Mr Chan said.

"Diversity also looks into how different people have different perspectives, different ways of approaching problems and (solving) problems. So these are all important aspects of diversity."

Twenty-three recipients will further their studies at universities in Singapore and around the world this year, in fields like science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as the humanities, arts and social sciences.

In response to queries from CNA, PSC said it awards the scholarships based on merit, regardless of the candidates’ background. PSC said some scholarships awarded this year to applicants from the minority races or to polytechnic graduates were not included in the 23 as they will not pursue their studies this year. Those recipients will be included in subsequent years' reports, it said, without providing details of the numbers involved.

"We seek to have a range of recipients from different backgrounds and experiences, so as to enhance diversity in the talent pool," PSC said.

Mr Chan said the diversity of Singapore's public service goes beyond the sample of scholarship recipients, adding that the service works together and is a reflection of society.

"In fact, the whole public service, I’ve always reminded them, is a microcosm of society," he said.

"We bring with us different experiences, we bring with us different perspectives, but we are all united in one boat. And that is for Singapore to defy the odds of history, to continue as an independent country to not only survive, but to thrive."

To achieve this, Mr Chan said Singapore needs its "own people" continuously coming forward to serve.

These people must not only be capable, he added, but also "committed to the cause of Singapore transcending our constraints, and seizing opportunities with the world as our hinterland".


Mr Chan, who is also Trade and Industry Minister, said scholarship recipients in Singapore and around the world must be ready to challenge their own perspectives.

"Look at how other people do things, see what we can learn from them, as in what to do, but also sometimes what not to do, so that we can apply the solutions in context for our country," he said.

"I hope that is the most important message that they take away from the session, which is that when they have opportunities to study overseas or locally, they consciously and continuously on the lookout for new opportunities to enrich their perspective.

"So that when circumstances change, they have new ideas on how to apply solutions in context to the challenges facing Singapore and Singaporeans."


Mr Chan said many of the recipients, like many Singaporeans, are concerned about overcoming COVID-19 on the health, economy and jobs fronts.

"Like many Singaporeans of their age, they will also be concerned about whether this will disrupt their studies and their career plans, and these are I think valid concerns," he said.

Nevertheless, Mr Chan said the recipients are concerned about the long-term future of the country and not just individual progression and academic achievements

"I think they all share a passion to want to serve, and they want to take the country forward," he said. 

"And I think it's good for us to be able to share with them some of our challenges, be it on the security, economics, social or leadership front, so that they understand the challenges that we are facing."

Ultimately, Mr Chan hopes the recipients bring back new knowledge and networks for the good of Singapore.

"If we can continue doing this for generations after generations, I'm quite confident that we will have the ingredients for us to continue to defy the odds, be it COVID or not COVID," he stated.

Source: CNA/hz


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