today, the only analog to such a selection criteria in Singapore would be combat pilot selection. Every year probably a few thousand apply, about 200 manage to pass medicals, aptitudes etc, to go basic wings and only about 15-20 make the final cut.
That doesn’t happen in academia today though. A certificate doesn’t guarantee you a job, fewer tenure positions available, school fees rising, less govt support, administration getting more powerful due to corporatization etc. The certificate is seen as default end product, not a trophy for the top performers.