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Civil servants in Singapore are no longer classified by education levels

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In efforts to change the impression that career progression of a civil servant is determined by paper qualifications, the civil service has stopped describing its officers based on their education levels in employee manuals, circulars and policies. According to a report in The Straits Times, officers in Singapore will be referred to by existing grades, which reflected their job scope, starting 1 Jan 2017.

There were previously four divisions:

  • Division I officers were graduates
  • Division II officers were diploma and A-level certificate holders
  • Division III officers had secondary education, and
  • Division IV had primary education

The report also stated that 56% of the 80,000 civil servants were in Division I, with one-third being in Division II, followed by 7%  in Division III and 5% and IV, as of 2013.

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“The change is in recognition that this administrative classification could leave a perception that our officers’ capabilities and potential for higher-level work are determined or limited by their educational qualifications, which is not so,” Public Service Division (PSD) stated in the report.

The change follows recent initiatives by the civil service to stop differentiating graduates and non-graduates in its ranks. While educational qualifications could be used to assess a job seeker with no work experience, an officer’s career progression would be based on his job performance and readiness to take on greater responsibilities, PSD added.

Additionally, PSD also noted how relevant work experience would be more crucial than academic qualifications when assessing mid-career candidates.

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