Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen presented The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Scholarship to nine recipients, Public Service Commission (PSC) Scholarship (Engineering) – Defence and Security to eight recipients, SAF Merit Scholarship to 16 recipients, SAF Engineering Scholarship to six recipients, Defence Merit Scholarship to 10 recipients, SAF Medicine Scholarship to five recipients, and Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) Scholarship to 36 recipients at a scholarship awards ceremony held at the Istana this evening.
Speaking at the ceremony, Dr Ng highlighted the record number of applications received and defence scholarships awarded this year. " We received the highest number of applications ever this year, 1700 in total, and applicants continue to meet the high eligibility bar set. The selection panels did not only look for good academic grades but for those with a heart for service, an ethos of excellence and team work, and a strong sense of duty, honour and country. Because of the calibre of applicants, the highest number of awards was also given this year - 90 scholarship recipients in total…it bodes well for our future that these defence scholarships remain attractive. " he said.
Dr Ng also said that the choice of study by scholarship recipients was heartening and stood Singapore in good stead with the domain expertise these scholars will acquire. " We have a bumper crop of eight PSC (Engineering) scholars this year, more than in previous years. More than half our recipients will pursue STEM-related courses. The others will pursue diverse fields, including political science, economics, psychology, international relations and law. For the first time too, we have award recipients studying Information Systems Technology and Design, which is timely given the expanding cyber threats ," added Dr Ng.
The SAF Scholarship, introduced in 1971, is a prestigious scholarship second only to the President's Scholarship. The SAF Merit Scholarship and Defence Merit Scholarship were introduced in 1983 and 2002 respectively. The SAF Engineering Scholarship was introduced in 2016 to attract engineering talent to join the SAF under the Military Domain Experts Scheme. The SAF Medicine Scholarship was introduced in 1991 and is awarded to those who aspire to serve as military medical professionals.
Both the PSC Scholarship (Engineering) – Defence and Security and DSTA Scholarship nurture top engineering talents for Singapore's defence and security sector. The PSC Scholarship (Engineering) was launched in the 2017 to build and strengthen the Public Service's leadership pipelines in the engineering and technology sectors. The DSTA Scholarship was introduced in 2000 to attract budding engineers and scientists with a keen passion for Science and Technology to provide leading-edge technological solutions for Singapore's defence and security.
All scholarships aim to recruit top students from each cohort of school-leavers to join the defence sector. This year's scholarship recipients, who have demonstrated academic excellence and outstanding leadership qualities, will be pursuing their undergraduate studies at reputable local and overseas universities.
Upon completion of their tertiary education, recipients of the uniformed scholarships – The SAF Scholarship, the SAF Merit Scholarship, and the SAF Engineering Scholarship – will return to the organisation to assume a variety of challenging appointments that will groom them for senior command and leadership positions in MINDEF and the SAF. Recipients of the SAF Medicine Scholarship will return as Medical Officers and be groomed for senior medical positions in the SAF Medical Corps. The Defence Merit Scholarship recipients will return as Defence Executive Officers, and be groomed for senior management positions in MINDEF by taking on varied job challenges to hone their skills in critical defence areas. The PSC (Engineering) – Defence and Security, and DSTA Scholarship recipients will be groomed through multiple career pathways for engineering and technological leadership positions in the defence technology community.
Also present at the awards ceremony this evening were senior officials from MINDEF and the SAF, DSTA, DSO, members of the PSC, in-service scholars, school representatives, as well as the invited guests of the scholarship recipients.