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Graduation rate has risen over past years, says ministry official

Azlan Othman

Students under the Brunei Government Overseas Scholarship Scheme at the Bachelor’s Degree level continue to record an increase in the graduation rate year-on-year from 88.2 per cent in 2019 to 91.8 per cent in 2020 and 92.0 per cent in 2021.

Head of Department of Scholarship Management at the Ministry of Education (MoE) Julaihi bin Mohamat said this at the Excellent Graduate Awards ceremony yesterday to celebrate the achievement of 31 graduates under His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s Overseas Scholarship Scheme and the Education Loan Assistance Scheme who completed their studies with First Class Honours in 2020 and 2021.

Minister of Education Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman was present as the guest of honour at the ceremony held at the An-Naura Hall, Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Complex.

Julaihi also said, “The graduation rate for the Education Loan Assistance Scheme for the same period was 93 per cent in 2019, decreased to 80 per cent in 2020, but increased again to 94 per cent in 2021.

“The decrease in the rate in 2020 was due to several factors including students deciding to postpone their studies during the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak.”

He added, “The rate of the Government Overseas Scholarship Scheme students who obtained excellent results, specifically First Class Honours, has also been at an encouraging level for the past three years with a rate exceeding 20 per cent per annum.

Minister of Education Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman speaks with the outstanding students at the ceremony. PHOTO: AZLAN OTHMAN

“Meanwhile, the First Class Honours rate for the Education Loan Assistance Scheme increased from 17 per cent in 2019 to 28 per cent in 2021.”

Julaihi said, “The last two years have been very challenging for the whole world due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is no exception for students, including our students studying abroad. Students need to adapt to the new norms in education especially in the transition to online learning.

“However, such difficulties and challenges do not at all discourage our students to continue to strive for excellent results.”

Also present at the ceremony was Deputy Minister of Education Datin Seri Paduka Dr Hajah Romaizah binti Haji Mohd Salleh.

Dayangku Nurin Nabeelah binti Pengiran Haji Abu Bakar, a graduate in mathematics, operational research, statistics and economics (MORSE) from the University of Southampton said, “I’d like to remember and thank my friends, the people I met during my university years, the people I spent nights studying and eating burgers and kebabs with.

“We were just a group of 17, 18 and 19-year-olds who got to live our dreams. This is long overdue but congratulations, my friends, we made it.”

She added, “The pressure was obvious because you were afraid of disappointing your parents. Coming home from the library at 7am and going to class at 10am. Buying takeout the whole exam season, eating leftovers from two days ago, sometimes forgetting to eat, sometimes cooking four course meals in the kitchen to avoid studying.

“Your mental health was depleting before you even knew it!” she said, now a statistics officer at the Civil Service Commission.

Ahmad Darwisy Ar Rayyan Hamdan, also a MORSE graduate at University of Southampton, spoke about the support from parents and fellow Bruneians in the United Kingdom. Currently a data analyst at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports and a public relation officer for the National Welfare System taskforce, he said, “We need to have people around when we’re feeling down, and my Bruneian friends helped to lift my spirit high enough to earn my achievement.”

The event aimed to acknowledge graduates for their academic success, and inspire others to achieve greater heights in their studies.