Parliament: All eligible Singaporeans are considered carefully for academic positions in local universities

SINGAPORE - All eligible Singaporeans are considered carefully for academic positions in Singapore's universities, and there are processes to ensure that hiring is non-discriminatory, said Senior Minister of State for Education Indranee Rajah in Parliament on Monday.

She was responding to Mr Lim Biow Chuan (Mountbatten), who asked whether the Government would require that eligible Singaporeans be given priority for academic employment in autonomous universities that receive Government funding.

Mr Lim, who chairs the government parliamentary committee for education, also asked if the Government would require the universities' human resource departments to be headed by a Singaporean, so that eligible Singaporeans are given due consideration for employment.

Ms Indranee replied: "It is important that our autonomous universities recruit academic staff based on merit, to ensure that they hire the best talent able to deliver high quality education and conduct research that will benefit our students and Singapore."

She said that applications for academic positions go through multiple layers of approval. These involve selection committees, academic heads of department and faculty deans, before final approval by top management.

As for senior appointments, they must be approved by a university's president or board of trustees.

Ms Indranee said that the Government and autonomous universities "are keenly aware of the need to develop local talent".

To encourage more young Singaporeans to pursue an academic career, the Singapore Academic and Research Talent Scheme had been recently launched, she said.

The scheme includes undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships for those who have keen interest and strong aptitude for a career in academia. These scholarships are only made available to Singaporeans.

Additionally, said Ms Indranee, Singapore's autonomous universities also actively try to recruit Singaporean academics based overseas.