This year, the Civil Service College marks its 20th year since becoming a statutory board in 2001.
In demographic terms, being 20 years old means we are coming of age as part of ‘Generation Z’: born in the age of the Internet and accustomed to an environment marked by rapid technological advancements and other disruptive changes, such as the current pandemic.
Certainly, transformative change has been part and parcel of our journey so far. As a College, we have been continually reinventing ourselves to keep pace with the changing needs of the Public Service. To do so, we set up new departments and business units. We have expanded the number and range of our programmes, initiatives and other offerings exponentially, reaching out to public officers at all levels and in every sphere. Apart from our evolving slate of leadership milestone programmes, we now have dedicated programmes for functional leaders in HR, Finance, Procurement, Public Communications and Service Management, as well as for sectoral leaders in the economy-building, security and social sectors. We are paying ever greater attention to helping participants become better leaders in their own areas of work, and delivering more customised offerings to support intact teams and organisational transformation.
As befits the digitally native Gen Z spirit, the College has been finding innovative ways to embrace new modalities of learning. We started up our digital learning business, introduced virtual classrooms, and developed the LEARN app to let every officer learn at their own pace and in their own time, 24/7. We took new approaches to content design and delivery. Recognising data is the new currency, we have invested in new ways to manage and apply learning data, and we now have dedicated teams exploring how we can harness artificial intelligence to improve learning and development.
In an age of disruption, the most enduring competence is the ability to stay agile and keep learning. This ethos of continual discovery has fuelled our drive to innovate and experiment in order to do better. A tangible instance of this is our satellite campus INN x CSC, which we set up as a sandbox to explore multisensory and flexible learning experiences.
As our environment changes from day to day, the Public Service must stay deeply curious about the world around us—to make sense of what is happening, figure out how it impacts Singapore and hence our work, and then pick up the skills needed to adapt to and thrive in new circumstances.
Towards this end, the College has embarked on a transformation effort to make the learning experience we offer to public officers more innovative, inspiring, and impactful. We call this movement: Learning Redefined. To do this, the College must itself be transformed at the core: to become more anticipatory, connected, and agile.
The insights in this commemorative issue of ETHOS—which explores the future of learning as it applies to our Public Service—contribute to this ongoing conversation and learning journey. Our vision is to become the future-ready centre of learning for a forward-looking Singapore Public Service, so we can better serve the thriving Singapore of tomorrow, for generations to come.
At the Civil Service College, we look forward to working with you on this ongoing quest.
Ong Toon Hui
Dean and CEO, Civil Service College