Public Service to Deepen Technical Expertise

The public service needs to deepen its expertise in technical fields while being creative and open to new ideas, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on Wednesday (12 Jul) at the Public Service Commission (PSC) Scholarship award ceremony.

Speaking at the award ceremony, DPM Teo shared that Singapore faces new challenges and uncertainties in today’s global environment and “many drivers that have brought global growth and prosperity – free trade, openness to talent and immigration, and a safe and secure operating environment – are no longer taken for granted in many developed countries,” and that “governments worldwide are seeking new pathways for success and new sources of growth.”

DPM Teo, who is also the Minister-in-charge of the civil service, added that the public service needs more officers with technical skills in engineering, digital and related fields such as cyber security.

To this end, the public service awarded eight recipients from this year’s batch with the PSC Scholarship (Engineering) – a new scholarship launched in December 2016 to train young Singaporeans to handle challenges in defence technology, building a Smart Nation, climate change and scientific fields.

DPM Teo added that the public service must be “a conducive place for innovation”, and public officers must “update our policy assumptions” and “challenge the status quo”.

The public service is looking into streamlining processes, such as procurement, and encouraging pilot projects and experimentation. Government agencies will also allow officers to experiment with new regulatory methods before making changes to existing regulation or laws, he added.

PSC chairman Eddie Teo also shared that the public service needs to have a “diverse set of talent to generate a wide range of ideas to formulate robust policies”. It “cannot relly on successful past formulas to meet future challenges”.

A total of 71 scholarships were given at the award ceremony held at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel. This year’s recipients – who come from 15 different schools – were chosen from a pool of more than 2,000 applicants.

Source: “Be open to new ideas, deepen technical expertise: DPM Teo” (The Straits Times, 13 July 2017)

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