SINGAPORE: Annually, from 2018 to 2022, approximately 580 full-time national servicemen (NSFs) were granted disruptions to pursue university studies, as revealed by Minister for Defence, Dr Ng Eng Hen.
Among these disruptions, 520 NSFs chose to attend local universities, while 60 embarked on overseas academic pursuits, marking a distinctive trend within the sphere of National Service (NS) commitments.
Dr Ng was responding to a Parliamentary Question presented by Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song, a Member of Parliament from the Workers’ Party, on Tuesday (19 Sep).
Mr Giam sought clarification on the number of full-time NSFs who were granted disruptions for overseas studies, the proportion of Government scholarship holders among them, and the rationale behind allowing these disruptions.
In his written response, Dr Ng elaborated that the majority of disruptions, approximately 70%, pertained to NSFs who had enlisted later than their peers.
This aligns with the policy of ensuring that each cohort commences their university studies in the same academic year, necessitating disruptions for these later enlistees.
Around 27% of the disruptions were allotted to NSFs pursuing medical studies, preparing them to serve as SAF Medical Officers during their NS.
Public Service Commission (PSC) scholars make up the remaining 3% or an average of 19 NSFs. This follows a long-standing practice since 1967 to attract top talent into the public sector.
Dr Ng emphasized that all NSFs are required to complete the remainder of their full-time NS after the disruption period.
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