Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen presented The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Scholarship to six recipients, Public Service Commission (PSC) Scholarship (Engineering) – Defence and Security to four recipients, SAF Merit Scholarship to 19 recipients, SAF Engineering Scholarship to six recipients, Defence Merit Scholarship to 15 recipients, SAF Medicine Scholarship to six recipients, SAF Dentistry Scholarship to one recipient and Defence Science and Technology (DSTA) Scholarship to 36 recipients at a scholarship awards ceremony held at the Istana this evening.
Speaking at the ceremony, Dr Ng emphasised that the people of Singapore’s defence community play the most vital role in securing and safeguarding Singapore’s sovereignty. “The spectrum of threats that Singapore faces, and our inherent vulnerabilities as a small nation with limited resources make the physical defence of Singapore challenging. We can only surmount these vulnerabilities and challenges through exceptional commitment, resilience and innovation, whether as soldier, scientist, engineer, doctor or administrator,” he said. “Singapore’s defence can only be as strong as the heartbeats and resolve of our warriors in MINDEF, SAF, DSTA and DSO.”
Dr Ng highlighted that the diversity of institutions that the scholarship recipients come from – 22 Junior College and Polytechnics – is the highest number to date. He also commended the wide range of multi-disciplinary subjects they would be pursuing and encouraged them to put their capabilities to good use in building up Singapore’s defence. “I applaud our recipients for undertaking these demanding and diverse fields. Diverse in experiences and backgrounds you may be, you must now gel with that collective resolve to grow MINDEF and the SAF to the best of your capabilities. Only with strong organisations can we mount the best defence for Singapore,” he said.
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 and SAF Dentistry Scholarship were introduced in 1991 and 2009 respectively. These scholarships are 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 and SAF Dentistry Scholarship will return as Medical Officers and Dental 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 Scholarship (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, CSIT, members of the PSC, school representatives, as well as the invited guests of the scholarship recipients.