115 students get overseas scholarships from MoE
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THE Ministry of Education has awarded overseas scholarships to 115 students out of about 300 applicants this year.
Speaking to The Brunei Times, Abdullah Hj Ahad, head of the Scholarship Section, said scholarships were more competitive this year.
The ministry last year introduced a new policy in granting scholarships to address the number of scholars who failed to return and serve their bonds.
Abdullah said there was no scholarship quota despite the policy change, thus the 115 were already the cream of the crop.
In a previous report in April, the head of the section said about 300 students vied for government scholarships this year.
“Scholarships now require at least 300 A Level tariff points, equivalent to a ‘BBB’ or ‘ABC’ and the students’ score during their interviews,” he said.
“But 300 points do not guarantee you a scholarship; it only qualifies you for the interviews,” he added.
Abdullah said the students were those who applied via the first round of Higher Education Centralised Admission System (HECAS) 2014.
During the interviews, students are tested in six aspects including their communication skills, critical thinking and loyalty as well as how they plan to contribute to the country in the long run.
He said one of the reasons for the change is to ensure students who are sent overseas abide by the conditions stipulated in their contracts.
The official further said students who missed out on scholarships are not necessarily less loyal to the country than others.
“Some believe sons or daughters of top ranked officials can get their way with the scholarships.
“But it all comes down to merit, collected, assessed, and there’s a statistician who arranges the order.”
He said students who were shortlisted for the interview were already among the best.
“But only those who succeed in the interviews are then the very best of the best students. Each is equipped with the appropriate attitude and character, and (chose) courses that are relevant to the country’s needs,” he added.
Abdullah advised applicants to understand that both academic and non-academic qualities were of equal importance.
Students who apply for HECAS 2014 must choose an institution abroad and at least one programme offered by local higher education institutions – Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali, Institut Teknologi Brunei, and Politeknik Brunei.
Those who missed out on either one of the choices would then be given their alternative choice.
The Brunei Times