President's Scholar

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A President's Scholar is a recipient of the most prestigious class of university undergraduate scholarships awarded to Singaporean citizens annually by the government. For the past years, on average, only two to four President's Scholarships were awarded each year. A recipient of the President's Scholarship has a legal obligation to serve in the government for a stipulated period of time after completing his or her studies in university.

To receive a President's Scholarship, one must demonstrate excellence in both academics and co-curricular activities, a strong ethos of public service, a soundness of character, and a potential to lead. Shortlisted candidates are interviewed by a selection committee chaired by the Chairman of the Public Service Commission (PSC) of Singapore.

A President's Scholarship is generally awarded concurrently with another PSC Scholarship, which could be either of the following:

History[edit]

The President's Scholarship has its roots in the Queen's Scholarship, which was founded in 1885. The Queen's Scholarship was initiated by Cecil Clementi Smith, Governor of the Straits Settlements. It was awarded to the best performing student of the year by a special selection board.

The Queen's Scholarship was abolished in 1959 and replaced by the Singapore State Scholarship when Singapore gained self-governance.

In August 1964, the Yang di-Pertuan Negara Scholarship was inaugurated to replace the State Scholarship.

In 1966, after Singapore achieved independence, the Yang di-Pertuan Negara Scholarship was renamed the President's Scholarship.

Recipients[edit]

Many recipients of the President's Scholarship went on to serve in top positions in the civil service.

According to statistics collected by the newspaper The Straits Times, the schools in Singapore having the highest number of President's Scholars among their alumni are as follows:[citation needed]

School Number of President's Scholars
Raffles Institution 90
Hwa Chong Institution 53
National Junior College 45
Notable recipients of the President's Scholarship
Name Year received Brief description Notes
Edmund W. Barker 1946 Served as a minister in the Cabinet from 1964 to 1988. Recipient of the Queen's Scholarship.
Kwa Geok Choo Lawyer, wife of Singapore's first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. Recipient of the Queen's Scholarship.
Tony Tan The seventh and current President of Singapore. Recipient of the Singapore State Scholarship.
Yeo Ning Hong Served as a minister in the Cabinet in the 1980s and 1990s. Recipient of the Singapore State Scholarship.
Lim Siong Guan 1965 The current Group President of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC).
Barry Desker 1966 The current Dean of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
Lee Yock Suan 1966 Served as a minister in the Cabinet from 1987 to 2004.
Mah Bow Tan 1967 Served as a minister in the Cabinet from 1991 to 2011.
Kishore Mahbubani 1967 The current Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.
Su Guaning 1967 Served as President of Nanyang Technological University (NTU) from 2003 to 2011.
Lee Hsien Loong 1970 The third and current Prime Minister of Singapore.
Ho Ching 1972 The current Chief Executive Officer of Temasek Holdings and the wife of Lee Hsien Loong.
Teo Chee Hean 1973 The current Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs.
George Yeo 1973 Served as a minister in the Cabinet from 1991 to 2011.
Ivan Png Paak Liang 1975 Served as a Nominated Member of Parliament from 2005 to 2006 and Vice-Provost of the National University of Singapore 2001-2003.
Chan Soo Sen 1975 Served as a Member of Parliament from 1997 to 2011.
Lee Hsien Yang 1976 Served as the Chief Executive Officer of Singapore Telecommunications from 1995 to 2007. The younger brother of Lee Hsien Loong.
Lim Hng Kiang 1976 The current Minister for Trade and Industry.
Vivian Balakrishnan 1980 The current Minister for the Environment and Water Resources.
Ng Chee Khern 1984 Served as Chief of the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) from 2006 to 2009.
Chan Chun Sing 1988 The current Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports.
Ng Chee Peng 1989 The current Chief of the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN). Younger brother of Ng Chee Khern.
Sim Ann 1994 The current Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Law.
Koh Cher Siang 1965 The current Housing and Development Board Chairman

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