I’M NOT here to condemn or belittle anyone or any agency but merely share my thoughts and give my opinion on a topic that is affecting a lot of our young Bruneians, which is the issue of unemployment, something that is also affecting a very close friend of mine.
First of all, I’d like to express my gratitude to, and I believe I represent all Bruneians in doing so, the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam for awarding scholarships to students who have performed well in their studies.
It’s a very kind gesture of giving an opportunity for Bruneians, who otherwise might never have the financial capacity to study at top universities around the world.
However, the issue that I’d like to highlight here is what happens when these graduates return home.
My friend is a science graduate, from a top 20 UK university, and he has been struggling to find permanent employment for two years now.
As thankful and as proud as he is of his degree, he has told me quite a few times of how having a science degree is kind of pointless in Brunei. And he’s not alone, he has got friends and juniors, some of whom I know as well, who are going through the same thing.
As pure science graduates, they have learnt nothing but science and spent countless hours in the lab, but the sad thing is there are not many vacancies available for science related jobs in Brunei. They’ve told me of how demoralising it is to appear for a written test and fight 60 other applicants for one vacancy.
And due to their courses being highly specialised, they mostly get rejected if they apply for jobs in other fields. Surely, something has to be done about this. I feel sorry for my friend and feel that he and others in his position have been failed by the system.
Surely, the Ministry of Education (MoE) can’t keep giving out scholarships to those who want to do a course that doesn’t suit Brunei’s job market. Scholarships cost tens of thousands and it would be a waste of government money if these graduates can’t find a job.
As a wise friend of mine once said, the idea of being unemployed after being given a scholarship negates the idea of awarding the scholarship in the first place.
Can I know if the MoE is still giving out scholarships to those students who want to pursue a science degree? I’m not asking to suspend the scholarship for science subjects. Obviously to those who want to be a teacher, they can still apply for one. But surely better planning must be done before a scholarship is granted to those who are not bound to be teachers.
What I suggest is that the scholarship unit at the MoE look at the future and not just worry about giving out scholarships. Maybe, form a dedicated career service unit whose job is to help plan these students’ future. Guide those who want to apply for a scholarship to choose a course that can be of use in Brunei. Because, I still find some students who are naive in thinking that if they study chemistry they will become chemists.
Sadly, that’s not how it works in Brunei.
Liaise with government agencies and enquire about possible future vacancies and send a strict number of scholars according to each agency’s requirement to ensure that our government won’t keep wasting money.
I really don’t see the point of sending out scholars overseas when no jobs are available for their qualifications. Is this why the loan system was introduced?
– The Pride of Rey