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Diversified thinking important for Singapore's future

Government decision-makers should not be cut from the same cloth (More diverse skills needed for public service: Chan Chun Sing; July 8).

To its credit, the Public Service Commission, in offering scholarships in recent years, has looked at each candidate as a whole rather than which junior college he has attended.

This broadens the outreach in finding people who do not conform to the stereotype of how a good civil servant should be.

Another way to diversify its pool is to consider the different types of education that tertiary students are getting - the broad-based liberal arts programmes offered by Yale-NUS College, for example, are very forward-looking. Such education ensures diversified thinking even before the graduates join the civil service.

Our graduates must develop the ability to take an interdisciplinary view of things.

Complex problems of the future cannot be solved by a person being just an excellent economist; he also needs to have insight into how society operates, as no single factor necessarily determines the problems of the future.

The Singapore University of Technology and Design is another institution with a holistic approach that can help diversify skills.

It would be good to have a "council of the future" in every tertiary institution, led by students, who will presumably inhabit the future. This will promote the diversification mindset needed for the future.

Hopefully, more of such institutions can be founded to strengthen our drive towards diversified thinking not only in the civil service, but also in society as a whole.

Wong Horng Ginn

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 15, 2018, with the headline 'Diversified thinking important for Singapore's future'. Print Edition | Subscribe