AS A citizen, I was both grateful and excited when His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam announced there would be provisions for a student loan to be made available for students who were not granted a scholarship to study abroad, but still wanted to pursue a higher education outside of the country’s educational institutes.
From this, we can see that His Majesty is keen in giving opportunities to his subjects who wish to make their educational dreams and aspirations that are in line with the country’s development a reality.
No restrictions or conditions were mentioned that I was aware off.
However, many parents have recently discovered to their surprise that the student loan process is not as simple as they thought would be.
Some have said that the process is akin to an actual scholarship application process. For instance, it involves student interviews where the students are questioned to the point of being ridiculed on simple issues say, their choice of education institutions.
Clearly if the student wanted to study at a local education institution, there would not have been any need to apply for the scholarship, but they instead wanted to study abroad.
Clearly such interview processes are not transparent to the concerned party, and subject to bias and whims of the interviewers themselves.
Can the Ministry of Education (MoE) clarify the process and requirements for the student loan application?
After all, shouldn’t it be in line with His Majesty’s titah and intentions for his subjects.
The processes should not be based on additional implied requirements by other parties, as the main intention is to provide a means for the citizens of Brunei to access further education for their development and that of the country as a whole.
On the matter of scholarships, another issue that has also been observed was that even with fantastic results (straight A’s), the student is not guaranteed of being granted a scholarship, even though their intended further studies are relevant to the country’s needs.
These students have to undergo multiple interviews, which again are not transparent and often subjected to the interviewers’ whims and fancies.
What is the basis that constitutes an acceptable or correct answer? Is there a grading sheet that can be made available to the parents concerned for transparency sake?
Recently there was a meeting between the MoE, as well as parents and students, where it was mentioned that getting excellent grades does not necessarily guarantee a scholarship, but rather the student still has to successfully pass the interview processes.
Hence even students with average results were given scholarships instead of straight-A students.
Indeed this statement came as a surprise to all parents concerned, as the students have always been informed by the MoE representatives during school visitations, to concentrate on their studies and strive for excellent results in order to qualify for the government scholarships.
It is sad to know that this is not the case at all.
Maybe it would have been better for the parents to also have their children trained for the interview processes and questions, as we have seen that striving for excellent results (straight ‘A’s) are not at all rewarded but rather wasted.
Instead others with lesser results are awarded the much sought-after scholarships.
Parents understand that scholarships are awarded based on the country’s needs for development and growth, hence not every subject chosen by the students will be awarded a scholarship to study abroad.
Can the MoE clarify the scholarship award processes?
Are there plans to make such interviews more transparent to all parties?
Is it more important to get excellent results as a means to demonstrate their capabilities to excel and deliver or having to do well in the interview with just above average results?
– Concerned Parent