The Colombo Plan – Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore Postgraduate Scholarships 2011/2012

Jointly Sponsored by: the Colombo Plan Secretariat and Technical Cooperation Directorate of Singapore

The Colombo Plan for Cooperative Economic and Social Development in Asia and the Pacific is a unique inter-governmental organization providing development assistance under the “Planning for Prosperity” motto and the concept of self-help where member countries provide assistance to one another in socio-economic development.

The Colombo Plan was conceived at the Commonwealth Conference on Foreign Affairs held in Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in January 1950 and was established on 1 July 1951 as a cooperative venture for economic and social advancement of the people of South and Southeast Asia. It has grown from the founding group of seven Commonwealth nations – Australia, Britain, Canada, Ceylon, India, New Zealand and Pakistan – to twenty five including non- Commonwealth and countries belonging to the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). Current Colombo Plan member countries are Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Republic of Korea, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United States of America and Vietnam.

In December 1977 the Colombo Plan for Cooperative Economic Development in South and Southeast Asia was changed to The Colombo Plan for Co-operative Economic and Social Development in Asia and the Pacific, to reflect the expanded geographical composition of its enhanced membership and the scope of its activities. The primary focus of all Colombo Plan activities is human resources development in the Asia-Pacific region.

Over the years, the programme content of the Colombo Plan has been adjusted to respond to the needs of member countries in a fast changing economic environment. In the early years, the training programmes were more of a long-term nature whilst the current programmes are established to provide advance skills and experience sharing, aimed at arriving at the best practices in different fields of economic and social activities for effective policy making and governance.

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A significant characteristic of the Colombo Plan is that the administrative costs of the Council and the Secretariat are borne equally by all member countries and all member countries have an equal status in Colombo Plan’s functions and activities. However, programme activities are funded by voluntary contributions by member countries as development partners. In addition, non-member countries, other international and regional organisations and other donor agencies are also sourced for funding.

Current Programmes

In 1995, Colombo Plan revitalized its programmes to emphasize on short-term training courses in priority areas and promoting South-South cooperation. The current programmes of the Colombo Plan are in the areas of Public Administration and Environment including post-graduate long-term scholarships, Private Sector Development and Drug Demand Prevention in member countries. In this regard, Colombo Plan has established three programmes for capacity building, namely, Drug Advisory Programme, Programme for Public Administration and Programme for Private Sector Development.

The Singapore Cooperation Programme

Singapore has provided technical assistance to other developing countries since 1960s. As a country whose only resource is its people, Singapore believes that human resource development is vital for economic and social training provided by other countries and international organizations. Through the Singapore Cooperation Programme(SCP), Singapore can contribute to the development of other developing countries.

In 1992, the SCP was established, bringing together under one framework the various technical assistance programmes offered by Singapore. Through the SCP, the range and number of training programmes have been increased to meet the needs of developing countries. Since 1982, Singapore has sponsored training courses and study visits for well over 20,000 officials from some 147 countries. The SCP is managed by the Technical Cooperation Directorate (TCD) of the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Singapore Postgraduate Areas of Study

Except in Medicine and Dentistry, candidates may pursue their Master Degree studies in areas of interest offered by the National University of Singapore (NUS), and the Singapore Management University (SMU), as listed in the Appendix 1.

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The postgraduate programmes are taught in English.


The scholarship will be awarded for full-time study over duration of one year.

Invited Countries

Colombo Plan Developing Member countries.

Admission Criteria

Applicants must be nominated by the Colombo Plan National Focal Point of their respective Governments and must meet the following general requirements:

  • minimum of five years work experience;
  • possess a good bachelor’s degree or its equivalent;
  • submit complete applications, including the test results of GMAT,TOEFL/IELTS as required by the respective universities and its faculties;
  • submit admission essay; and undergo admission interviews as required by the universities and
  • meet English language requirement

English Language Requirements

Applicants must prove their proficiency in English Language by submitting TOEFL (minimum 570) or IELTS (minimum 6.5) scores or any other qualifications required by the respective universities. Those who pursued their first degree at an English medium university are exempted from this requirement.


Up to 2 scholarships are available under this CPS – Singapore collaboration programme. Successful candidates will receive the following benefits:

To be borne by the Colombo Plan

  • a return economy class air ticket to Singapore

To be borne by the participating countries

  • One time settlement allowance S$ 1,000
  • Allowance of S$600 per month (for one year)
  • one time book allowance of US$135 and
  • one-time thesis allowance of US$205

To be borne by the Singapore Government

  • full tuition fees and
  • accommodation


Selected candidate can enter Singapore on a holiday/social visa. Once in Singapore, a liaison officer will assist with the Student Visa.

Airport Transfer

A liaison officer will assist in airport pickup to university hostel.


Please adhere to the dress code spelt out by the respective universities.


Selection of candidates will be done by the Colombo Plan Secretariat (CPS) and the respective universities. Successful candidates will be notified through their respective National Focal Points.

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Member Country Nominations

Each member country is requested to nominate through the National Focal Point two candidates by completing the Application Form, the Medical Certificate and Admission Essay.

Please send the duly completed nomination forms (two sets each) to the Colombo Plan Secretariat at the following addresses, The deadlines are as follows;

Scholarships for following programme are only for one year. Therefore each programme should be completed within one year’s period. (Please refer the Annex 1 for more details)

The Colombo plan Deadline for Master Degree Programme

National University of Singapore

  1. Master of Science in Civil Engineering : 25 February 2011
  2. Master of Science in Safety, Health & Environmental Technology : 25 February 2011
  3. Masters of Science in Chemistry : 31 March 2011

Singapore Management University

  1. Master of IT in Business (Financial Services) : 31 March 2011

Secretary General
The Colombo Plan Secretariat
No.31, Wijerama Mawatha
Colombo 7
Sri Lanka.
Tel: + 94 11 2684188
Fax: + 94 11 2684386

Please refrain from sending Application Forms directly to the University.
The deadline for the nominations will be strictly observed.

Any queries can be forwarded to Mr. Muhamad Ghopran, Director of Public Administration and Environment at and Ms. Savini Sirikuara, Programme Officer, at

Details of the admission requirements can be obtained from the respective websites of the three universities, National University of Singapore:, and Singapore Management University:


Visit official website.

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