Moulding Tomorrow’s Leaders
The PSC scholarships provide one developmental pathway to leadership roles in the Public Service. Scholarship holders are involved in a series of milestone programmes and other developmental opportunities during the course of their studies, to develop a diverse set of experiences and contribute better to Singapore. As they transit from their scholarship journey to the Public Service Leadership Programme (PSLP), their learning and development continues within the Public Service.
Exposure to the Public Service Context
At various points through the course of their studies, PSC scholarship holders are exposed to the values, complexities and challenges of the Public Service. They learn the principles and approach of the Public Service, and are inculcated with the ethos that binds the work that each ministry and agency does, in a whole-of-government effort.
2019 Preparatory Course
The Preparatory Course aims to prepare newly awarded PSC scholarship holders for their studies and set the expectation on their roles as ambassadors of the Singapore Public Service. Through various segments included in the programme, scholarship holders develop self-awareness and leadership skills. They learn the evolving needs of the Public Service, so that they might actively seek opportunities to develop themselves to meet those needs in the course of their scholarship journey.
A total of 78 scholarship holders attended the 2019 Preparatory Course, which was held from 24 June to 5 July 2019. A three-day-two-night Outward Bound Singapore Programme helped to foster strong team spirit within the cohort through teambuilding activities. The Preparatory Course also incorporated a four-day Youth Corps Singapore Leaders Programme to train scholarship holders in volunteering and leading projects that would benefit Singapore.
New segments were introduced to the programme in 2019 in a bid to continually deliver the programme’s objectives in different ways. One such example is the networking lunch with senior scholarship holders in their second year of undergraduate studies. The lunch proved meaningful, as scholarship holders were able to engage with their seniors through informal interactions.
2019 PSC Scholarship Holders’ Mid-Course Programme (PSMP)
The PSMP, held midway through a scholarship holder’s undergraduate studies, builds on the foundations laid in the Preparatory Course and the scholarship holders’ undergraduate experiences. The programme provides greater context on the realities of governance and highlights developments that have taken place since the scholarship holders commenced their studies. Apart from raising self-awareness by having scholarship holders chart their experiences as well as internalise areas that they could build on in line with future trends, the PSMP also consists of a six-to-eight-week internship component with a government agency where they gain first-hand experience in the Public Service.
The PSMP provides scholarship holders the platform to reflect at the midpoint of their journey, how far they have come along, and through experiences and insights they gain during the programme, to chart the remaining portion of their development journey.
The 2019 PSMP was attended by 63 scholarship holders. A new segment was introduced in the 2019 run of the programme to help scholarship holders plan ahead for a Gap Year. With the push to have public officers garner diverse experiences beyond the realm of the Public Service, the Gap Year programme is an opportunity for PSC scholarship holders to experience and better understand the business operations, challenges and ethos of the private sector. Senior scholarship holders were invited to share their Gap Year experiences. Partner organisations were also invited to share the opportunities available.
As part of the PSMP, the Singapore Seminar gathered a total of 281 scholarship holders from across 42 public sector agencies. In 2019, the theme of the seminar was ‘Smart Nation: The Way Forward’. The programme explored what it meant for Singapore to be a Smart Nation and how it would impact various stakeholders – citizens, businesses and the economy. The speakers were Ms Ong Toon Hui (Deputy Secretary (Leadership), Public Service Division, Prime Minister’s Office), Mr Tan Chee Hau (Director, Planning and Prioritisation, Smart Nation and Digital Government Office), Mr Tan Kiat How (Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Media Development Authority) and Mr Poon King Wang (Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities, Singapore University of Technology and Design). The speakers addressed questions generated from the session in a plenary session, with Ms Claire Chung Su-Lin (2017 Public Service Commission Teaching Scholarship) acting as facilitator to the session.
As leaders being groomed for leadership positions, PSC scholarship holders are also strongly encouraged to engage with the community that they are in. By immersing themselves in these communities, and thinking through initiatives that could address the challenges that the community faces, the scholarship holders gain immeasurable skills in citizen-centricity.
The PSC partners Youth Corps Singapore (YCS) to train scholarship holders in their first year in the Service Learning approach to community involvement. Held over the course of four days as part of the Preparatory Course, the programme equips them with the skills and tools to initiate and lead community projects, complete with volunteer management skills. After completing the programme, scholarship holders would engage communities in Singapore, identify problems, co-create solutions and embark on projects within the next two years to benefit the community that they have engaged. Scholarship holders are conferred as Youth Corps Leaders upon completion of the project deliverables.
YCS Projects Completed in 2019
As part of the eighth intake of the YCS Leaders Programme, PSC scholarship holders completed six community projects. Of which, three are featured as below.
Project Living Languages
Together with Viriya Community Services, the project team organised a free one-day dialect course (Hokkien and Cantonese) for youths. To promote the course, short clips with recordings of basic language phrases were featured on social media. The project aimed to address the intergenerational gap between elderly and youths who were not well versed in dialect.
Creating Resources for Kids – Team Lit
The project aimed to create opportunities for children (in particular, those from disadvantaged backgrounds) to develop socio-emotional intelligence, through which they could gain better self-mastery and stronger relationships with the people around them. Collaborating with Ulu Pandan Stars Programme, the team suggested ways in which the programme could better incorporate socio-emotional learning into the curriculum and rolled out a workshop to pilot the ideas.
Project Too Shiok
The project aimed to preserve hawker culture in Singapore and educate youths on this tradition. This was done by organising a heritage trail for students to experience the rich history of hawker culture, landmarks, and food, organising a competition where students produced video clips based on their experiences and archiving the experiences and stories of hawkers and students alike on a website to garner greater awareness.
Experiencing the Complexities of the Future
With ever-changing global trends and uncertainties abounding, Singapore needs public service leaders who are equipped to address the complexities of the future. To meet this need, PSC scholarship holders are encouraged to amass diverse experiences, which can help them imagine solutions to these complex problems.
Academic Programmes and Exchanges
In 2019, PSC scholarship holders participated in summer and exchange programmes to countries such as Chile, China, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, Israel, Japan, Russia, South Africa and The Netherlands. Seven scholarship holders pursued their postgraduate studies in various non-traditional countries – China, Germany, Japan, Spain and The Netherlands.
Gap Year Programme
Scholarship holders have the option of taking up a year-long attachment in non-public sector organisations, locally or overseas. These include International Organisations, reputable NGOs or private companies. The Gap Year programme takes place upon completion of studies, after completion of National Service (where applicable) and before being deployed to the Public Service.
In 2019, three scholarship holders proceeded for their Gap Year programme with UNESCO. Other scholarship holders embarked on the programme with the following companies; Corpy & Co (Japan), Shopee (Singapore), Singtel (Singapore), StashAway (Singapore), Cogitativo, Inc. (US) and Lovelytics (US).