No foolproof method to awarding scholarships

No foolproof method to awarding scholarships
Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) chairman Lee Boon Yang speaks to the receipients of the SPH Journalism scholarship after the awards ceremony at the SPH auditorium on July 21, 2014.

MR HENG Cho Choon's comments on Singapore's scholarship selection process do not seem very fair ("Ensure scholarship holders are made of sterner stuff"; yesterday).

In this world, there are no foolproof methods for the selection of scholarship recipients.

No matter how stringent a selection process can be, there is still no guarantee that it will always pick out "perfect candidates". It is the same for the job interview system.

In the case of scholarship holders such as Ouyang Xiangyu ("A*Star scholarship holder charged with poisoning classmates"; last Thursday), candidates are interviewed and assessed at quite a young age, typically after completing their A levels or undergraduate studies.

Unless the candidate has prior medical conditions on record, it is not possible for any interview panel to dig deep into these young minds to find any character weaknesses or to discern their - possibly hidden - psychological state.

We should not be too quick to draw from the hip and blame the selection process whenever a scholarship holder gets into trouble.

This article was first published on Apr 9, 2015.
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