Paper qualifications alone are insufficient for future public sector leaders: Chan Chun Sing

Although education qualifications stay as a “valid proxy” for the skills of potential public servants, but they alone will not be sufficient enough, said Chan Chun Sing, the Minister-in-charge of the Public Service on Thursday (28 February).

However, paper qualifications will not be disregarded, promised Mr Chan, who is also the Minister for Trade and Industry, during the debate on the budget for the Prime Minister’s Office.

Stressing the importance of diversity in the service, the Minister said, “Going forward, when our Public Service selects future leadership teams, we will increasingly look for a combination of operations, communications, mobilisation and international exposure, beyond pure policy-making skills”.

Adding to this, he also noted, “A more diverse public service is a more resilient public service for the uncertainties ahead.”

The country also requires a public service leadership team that has different talents and is able to surface different perspective, pointed Mr Chan.

Apart from intellect, the Government is also looking for individuals who is initiative and have creative ideas, as well as have the ability to be a team player.

In areas like information and communications technology, the Public Service will select recruits based on their technical skills, he added.

Mr Chan was responding questions asked by MPs Teo Ho Pin (Bukit Panjang) and Ang Hin Kee (Ang Ko Kia GRC) and Nominated MP Anthea Ong. They had all asked how the Public Service was helping its officer embrace new skills and mindset to remain relevant in an ever-changing world and meet the higher expectations of citizens.

As such, the Minister revealed that the Public Service Division will amplify the system of job postings to apply to a wider group of officers. This is so they can “gain wider perspectives, and grow a stronger instinct to work across agencies and with the private and people sector”.

In addition, Public Service Cares will also be implemented this year to encourage all officers to volunteer and, in the process, learn how to communicate better with local Singaporeans.

“Just as in private sector, we should expect future Public Service leaders to have experiences working beyond the domestic context.”

However, online users weren’t too excited about this announcement and began questioning if Mr Chan himself has the qualifications that he’d mentioned.

They highlighted their dissatisfaction on The Straits Times and Channel NewsAsia where over 200 comments were received.


Some netizens even rubbished his statement that paper qualifications alone is not sufficient for public sector leaders. A bunch even pointed out that the current ministers are in the Government without the mentioned skills.