| Azaraimy HH |
UNITED Kingdom remains as the premier destination for undergraduate and postgraduate studies for students from Brunei Darussalam.
This was stated by Ben Boddy, British Deputy High Commissioner to Brunei Darusalam, in an interview yesterday at the UK Education Fair in Indera Samudra Hall of The Empire Hotel & Country Club.
Boddy said he strongly believes that a British qualification, which he called a “ticket to global employability”, is a plus point that will far outweigh any high cost of living associated with a European country, especially the UK.
The availability of an array of full study scholarships with monthly living allowances (without repayment) also means that the cost of living may not be an important factor for many.
According to Boddy, there seems to be a strong intrinsic connection between Bruneians and United Kingdom. After all, the UK is a traditional destination for undergraduate and postgraduate studies for Bruneians. There exists a strong Brunei student community in the United Kingdom. Bruneians, in no time, will get attuned to live and study in the United Kingdom due to this strong presence of Bruneian community.
There are many similarities between the United Kingdom and Brunei Darussalam, which was part of the British Empire during the colonial era.
Take for example studying law in the British Institutions; be it civil or family or business law; the British law has its influence over the current legal tradition or justice system of Brunei Darussalam.
Clare Walker, Director Education and Society, British Council, Malaysia, said Malaysia at one time had around 15,000 students in the UK, while Brunei had 2,000 students, but it represented significant proportion of the Brunei overall population. Therefore, it is easy to go around and to find a Bruneian educated person who has a British qualification.
Clare demonstrated how important it is for a lot of students to actually go to studying the UK just to experience the British education atmosphere despite the costs. She took an example of Malaysia, saying that Malaysia has a very mature education market and there are a lot of partnerships between UK institutions and Malaysian institutions, where Malaysians can get British qualification without ever having to live in the United Kingdom.
Despite such facilities, there is still a significant outflow of students from Malaysia to UK institutions to study in the European ambiance.
According to her, the situation in Brunei is a bit different. There are more self-funded Bruneian students studying in the UK now.
Engineering-related, business-related and law-related courses are still the popular choice of courses for Bruneian students, but there has been a slight increase in the interest in health science-related courses.
Boddy said there has long been a strong presence of Brunei students studying the UK, and it is something that the British Government wants to foster. He said Brunei has put emphasis on an educated workforce and the UK is a right place to nurture that.
“I think more than anything, what it gives students when they leave is sort of global employability …” he said.
Quoting some statistics, he said the QS global survey of 27,000 graduate employers showed that the UK degree is the most highly valued.
“Obviously, Oxford and Cambridge are rated as the most employable in the world. Then, there are also others such as London School of Economics (LSE), and Imperial College and the University of Manchester – all of which are in the top ten”, he said.
The UK Exhibition has featured over 38 participating universities and colleges. The exhibition opened to public at Indera Samudra Hall yesterday, where representatives of institutions were on hand to offer guidance and advice.
The exhibition sought to serve as a one-stop-shop for future scholars. Experts from Ministry of Education were also on hand to provide guidance on how to apply for scholarship.