Bruneians prefer UK for higher education, says study

Azlan Othman

The top preference for tertiary education among Bruneians is the United Kingdom (UK).

According to a survey conducted by researchers from the Asean Studies Centre at the think-tank Iseas-Yusof Ishak Institute, 39.4 per cent participants choose the country as a top destination for higher education.

Bruneians also chose the UK as the first choice if they (or their child) were offered a scholarship to a university.

The survey was conducted between November 18, 2020 and January 10 2021, covering views from 1,032 academics, policymakers, business people, civil society leaders and the media, as well as regional and international organisations from the 10 Asean member states. Now in its third edition, the survey is meant to be a “barometer of the general attitudes and perceptions of interested stakeholders” on important regional developments, the researchers said.

Respondents in Asean chose the United States (US) as the region’s top preference for tertiary education (29.7 per cent), followed by the UK (19.9 per cent), the EU (13.0 per cent), Japan (12.4 per cent) and Australia (12.3 per cent).

This is the first time Japan made it to the top four. Only 3.7 per cent of the respondents chose an ASEAN member state, which is exactly the same percentage as last year. The US is the most popular destination for tertiary education among six ASEAN member states: Singapore (41.8 per cent), Vietnam (33.7 per cent), the Philippines (31.3 per cent), Thailand (29.0 per cent), Indonesia (27.1 per cent) and Cambodia (26.9 per cent). Japan is the most popular in Myanmar (32.1 per cent) and Laos (25.0 per cent).

Among the respondents who chose an ASEAN member state as their favourite destination, Thailand is the top choice with a share of 26.8 per cent, followed by Singapore (25.5 per cent) and Vietnam (16.6 per cent).

Thailand is most preferred only in Singapore (43.0 per cent) and Malaysia (41.9 per cent).