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Here’s A Look At All The Schools Our Singapore Ministers Attended When They Were Younger!

  • Jonathan Lee
January 19, 2016
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Well…. A lot of Singaporeans often complained about the supposedly “elitist” background of our cabinet. Considering our dear PM once made a remark on ” Mee Siam mai hum ( no cockles in my Mee Siam please ) “. It is incidents such as these that often make Singaporeans question how different is our cabinet ministers upbringing from other Singaporeans. Find out below:

1. Prime Minister – Lee Hsien Loong

PM Lee studied at Nanyang Primary School and received his secondary education at Catholic High School, before going on to National Junior College (where he learned the clarinet under the tutelage of Adjunct Associate Professor Ho Hwee Long).
In 1971, he was awarded a President’s Scholarship and Singapore Armed Forces Overseas Scholarship by the Public Service Commission to study mathematics at Trinity College, University of Cambridge. He was a senior wrangler (highest scorer among other students in Cambridge) in 1973 and graduated in 1974 with first class honours in mathematics and diploma in computer science (with distinction). In 1980, he completed a Master of Public Administration at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

2. Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security – Teo Chee Hean

DPM Teo was educated at Saint Michael’s School and Saint Joseph’s Institution, before being awarded a President’s Scholarship and Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Scholarship in 1973 to study in the United Kingdom at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science (First Class Honours) degree in electrical engineering and management science in 1976.
He then continued his studies at Imperial College London, obtaining a Master of Science degree (with distinction) in Computer science in 1977. In 1986, Teo completed a Master of Public Administration degree at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.


3. Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies – Tharman Shanmugaratnam

DPM Tharman studied at Anglo-Chinese School, before going on to the London School of Economics, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics. He subsequently obtained a master’s degree in economics from the University of Cambridge and a Master in Public Administration from Harvard University, where he also received a Lucius N. Littauer Fellow award for outstanding performance.

4. Minister for Transport and Co-ordinating Minister for Infrastructure – Khaw Boon Wan

Minister Khaw received his secondary education in Chung Ling High School and Anglo Chinese School in Penang, Malaysia. In 1973, he was awarded the Colombo Plan Scholarship from Singapore to study a combined degree program in Engineering and Commerce at the University of Newcastle in Australia. He graduated in 1977 with a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours Class I) and Bachelor of Commerce.
He received his Master of Science degree in Industrial Engineering in 1982 from the National University of Singapore and received his Doctor of Engineering honoris causa from the University of Newcastle in 2002.


5. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office – Chan Chun Sing

Minister Chan was educated at Raffles Institution (1982–85) and Raffles Junior College (1986–87). He was one of the top four scorers from Raffles Junior College, with six distinctions, including a distinction for Mathematics S-Paper and a merit for the Economics S-Paper.
In 1988, he was awarded a President’s Scholarship and Singapore Armed Forces Overseas Scholarship to study in the University of Cambridge, where he completed a degree in economics at Christ’s College and graduated with First Class Honours. In 2005, he completed the Sloan Fellows programme at the MIT Sloan School of Management under a Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship.

6. Minister for Communications and Information – Yaacob Ibrahim

Minister Yaacob studied at Tanjong Katong Technical Secondary School, which turned coeducational during his time there. He graduated from the University of Singapore with an honours degree in civil engineering in 1980 and in 1989 obtained a Doctor of Philosophy from Stanford University. He was a postdoc at Cornell University. He returned to Singapore in 1990 and joined the National University of Singapore faculty in 1991.

7. Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) – Lim Hng Kiang

Minister Lim was educated in Raffles Institution, before being awarded a President’s Scholarship and Singapore Armed Forces Scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge, where he completed a degree in engineering in 1976. In 1985, Lim was awarded a scholarship to study for a Master of Public Administration degree at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

8. Minister for Manpower – Lim Swee Say

Minister Lim was educated in Catholic High School and National Junior College, before being awarded a Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Scholarship in 1973 to study in the United Kingdom at Loughborough University. In 1976, he graduated with first class honours in electronics, computer and systems engineering. In 1991, Lim completed a master’s degree in Management at Stanford University.

9. Minister for Defence – Ng Eng Hen

Minister Ng attended Anglo-Chinese School and National Junior College, before going on to medical school at the National University of Singapore and fellowship training in surgical oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

10. Minister for Foreign Affairs – Vivian Balakrishnan

Minister Balakrishnan had his primary and secondary education at Anglo-Chinese School, before going on to National Junior College. After graduating from junior college in 1980, he was awarded a President’s Scholarship to study medicine at the National University of Singapore (NUS).
He served two terms as the president of the NUS Student Union, and later served as chairman of the union council. He chose a postgraduate specialisation in ophthalmology and became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1991.

11. Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law – K. Shanmugam

Minister Shanmugam was educated in Raffles Institution from 1972 to 1977, before going on to study law at the National University of Singapore where he graduated at the top of his class with a First Class Honours degree in 1984.

12. Minister for Health – Gan Kim Yong

Minister Gan was educated at Catholic High School and National Junior College, before going on to the University of Cambridge, where he completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Electrical Engineering (1981). In 1985, he obtained his master’s degree from Cambridge University.

13. Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) – S. Iswaran

Minister Iswaran read Economics at the University of Adelaide and graduated with First Class Honours. He also holds a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University.

14. Minister for Finance – Heng Swee Keat

In 1983, Minister Heng graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in Economics from Cambridge University. He also holds a Master of Arts in economics from the University of Cambridge. In 1993, he obtained a Master of Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

15. Minister for Culture, Community and Youth – Grace Fu Hai Yien

Minister Fu was educated in Nanyang Girls’ High School and Hwa Chong Junior College, before going on to the National University of Singapore where she completed a Bachelor of Accountancy (Honours) in 1985 and a Master of Business Administration in 1991.

16. Minister for Social and Family Development – Tan Chuan-Jin

Minister Tan was educated at Anglo-Chinese School and Raffles Junior College. In 1988, he was awarded an SAF Overseas Scholarship to study in the United Kingdom, where he completed a BSc (Econ) degree at the London School of Economics and a Master of Arts degree in Defence Studies at King’s College London. In 2008, he completed a Master in Public Management degree at the National University of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

17. Minister for National Development – Lawrence Wong

Minister Wong was educated at Haig Boys’ Primary School, Tanjong Katong Secondary School and Victoria Junior College, before going on to the University of Wisconsin–Madison in the United States where he completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics in 1993. He subsequently obtained a Master of Arts degree in Economics at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor, and a Master of Public Administration degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

18. Minister for the Environment and Water Resources – Masagos Zulkifli

Minister Masagos had his early education at Bukit Panjang Government High School and National Junior College. Subsequently, he graduated in 1988 with a Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng.) degree from Nanyang Technological University with First Class Honours, majoring in electrical and electronic engineering, and in 1994 with a Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Electrical Engineering from the National University of Singapore.
His first job was with Singapore Telecommunications Limited (now Singtel) in 1988; a SingTel Postgraduate Scholarship enabled him to take a Masters of Business Administration (M.B.A.) from the University of Southern California in 1995.

19. Acting Minister for Education (Schools) and Senior Minister of State for Transport – Ng Chee Meng

Minister Ng was awarded the Singapore Armed Forces Overseas Training Award (Graduating) in 1987. He completed a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering at the United States Air Force Academy in 1991, and graduated from the Singapore Command and Staff College in 1999. In 2002, he obtained a Master of Arts in international relations from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

20. Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) and Senior Minister of State for Defence – Ong Ye Kung


Minister Ong was educated at Maris Stella High School and Raffles Junior College, before going on to the London School of Economics where he completed a BSc (Econ) degree in 1991. In 1999, he completed a Master of Business Administration degree at the International Institute for Management Development in Switzerland.


So dear Singaporeans, “elite” or not, you decide…. However, bear in mind that our society is founded on the principle of meritocracy. Cheers.


END of Article
Very impressive. I remember reading somewhere PM Lee Kuan Yue once said, if you pay peanuts, you attract only monkeys. This was in reference to the need for selecting high caliber people and keep their status high for good administration. Obviously, all the Singapore cabinet members are richly deserving of high status and hence can be trusted to take care of the nation's interest unlike in many other countries.
 

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