Payback under Ministry of Finance and Economy’s jurisdiction: Minister

|     Azlan Othman     |

THE Ministry of Education plays a role in the process of requirement, selection process and academic monitoring in the education financial assistance scheme. The payback is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Finance and Economy, Minister of Education Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman said.

The minister was responding to Legislative Council member Yang Berhormat Siti Rozaimeriyanty binti Dato Seri Laila Jasa Haji Abdul Rahman on the sixth day of the 15th Legislative Council meeting yesterday who touched on the exemption of administration fee of three per cent annually during the payback for students taking the government financial assistance scheme.

Yang Berhormat Siti Rozaimeriyanty said in the terms and conditions stipulated by the government, the payback duration should not be more than 30 years and payback can be paid as a lump sum or monthly once the lender gets a job or is self-employed.

The monthly payback should not be more than 15 per cent of their lender basic salary.

She said parents have been grumbling that they have to pay back regardless whether their children got a job or not and to settle the three per cent administration fee after three months of completion of studies.

On the accreditation issue pertaining to students studying in Australia, Yang Berhormat Siti Rozaimeriyanty said there are students utilising the government financial assistance scheme, being requested to pay back to the government even after obtaining a distinction in Australia.

Such misunderstandings financially burden parents who have second thoughts on sending their children to Australia although the country has some of the best educational institutions in the world, she said.

She said a student obtaining first class in a UK university is exempted from paying back to the government through the government financial assistance scheme.

While speaking on technical and vocational education, Yang Berhormat Siti Rozaimeriyanty called for the ministry’s dual system for theory and practical to be implemented benefitting the real job situation as there was vast potential. It is also to reduce foreign workers in the country and to be job ready graduates, she said.

The minister called for more industries and companies to be set up in Brunei and for more industries to step up its collaborative effort with the Ministry of Education.

“We have a limited capacity in the industry to absorb Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE) students who graduate in large numbers.”

The minister also said Universiti Brunei Darussalam’s Discovery Year is intended to make the students more employable and marketable. “It is a whole-of-nation approach. There is no obstruction for both the industry and IBTE to work together.”