Public service to build up a team of leaders to address future challenges, says DPM Teo

SINGAPORE - The public service will build up a core of officers and leaders to tackle the more complex challenges Singapore faces, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said on Tuesday.

Addressing this year's batch of 75 Public Service Commission (PSC) scholarship recipients at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, he said the public service deals with issues different to those faced 50 years ago, but not any less challenging.

These include ensuring that less fortunate Singaporeans can still benefit from the country's development, meeting the aspirations of an increasingly well-educated population and helping people boost their skills throughout life and not just in school.

"You are joining the Public Service at an exciting time," he told the recipients. "We need public officers like you to analyse issues deeply, and develop innovative solutions; to understand Singaporeans' needs better, and work with Singaporeans to develop better solutions; to work with one another, within your own ministries and agencies, and across the whole of government."

This year's recipients were selected from a pool of more than 2,400 applicants from 13 schools, including Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), St Joseph's Institution, School of the Arts, and Republic Polytechnic.

In the past three years, seven polytechnic graduates have received the PSC scholarships.

DPM Teo, who is also Home Affairs Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security, said: "Whether we can continue to have a good Public Service for the next 50 years and beyond depends very much on whether we can continue to attract, develop and retain good people in the Service.

But the PSC scholarship is only one channel to attract good people to join the Public Service, said the minister in charge of the civil service. Other ways include drawing from existing officers in the government agencies and people with experience in the private sector.

PSC chairman Eddie Teo said he was "encouraged" to see more scholars going to non-traditional destinations such as France and New Zealand to study. "Upon their return, their different set of experiences will help to further enrich the Public Service," he said.

"The exposure to different views and values will give you good practice to serve Singaporeans in future years."