Only top global unis for gov’t scholars

National 3 minutes, 56 seconds


GOVERNMENT scholarship applicants must now study at reputable higher education institutions which are ranked in a global university ranking system, said the Ministry of Education (MoE) yesterday.

The revised criteria are aimed to ensure that the government’s investment will be worthwhile as successful recipients will be studying at top global universities.

Speaking at a press conference, MoE Deputy Permanent Secretary Dr Hjh Anita Binurul Zahrina Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Wijaya Dato Seri Setia Hj Awg Abdul Aziz said that an applicant’s intended education institution must be ranked in either the QS World University Rankings, Times Higher Education World University Rankings, or the Shanghai Jiao Tong University Rankings systems.

Bachelor degree students must study in a university that is ranked among the top 250 universities listed in any one of the ranking systems, while master degree students must study in a university that is ranked in the top 200.

“The university does not have to appear in all three ranking systems – just one of them,” Dr Hjh Anita explained.

Meanwhile, PhD students must study at a university that is ranked within any of the three systems’ top 100 institutions list.

Head of Scholarship Department Hj Ibrahim Hj Bagol explained that previously, if a scholarship applicant wanted to study in the United Kingdom, he had to study at a place that was ranked in both the “Top 50 universities” and “Top 10 by subject” lists within the UK-based Times’ Good University Guide.

“Through this change, we hope to expand opportunities for local students to acquire government scholarships but at the same time, ensure that the government’s investment will be worthwhile as successful (scholarship) recipients will be getting quality education from top global universities.

“It’s a fact that good universities which are ranked in this way were judged based on various criteria, including the quality of their education,” Dr Hjh Anita said.

Top universities often employ the best academics who are leaders in their fields, which means that students studying under them would be able to learn about any latest happenings relevant to their fields of study, she added.

Alternatively, scholarship applicants can also undertake their studies at higher education institutions which are ranked according to study field within the three global ranking systems, or the US News and World Report’s College Rankings system.

Bachelor or master degree applicants must study at institutions ranked among the top 20 (within one of those ranking systems) for a particular field. In the case of PhD scholars, the choice of university must be in the top 100 of the said ranking systems.

The MoE officials also said that undergraduate scholarship applications were now open to students who have Advanced Diploma (Level 5) or BDTVEC Diploma (Level 4) qualifications with distinctions or a 3.0 GPA.

In previous years, applicants had to have either 300 UCAS tariff points (acquired through their first sitting of their GCE A-Level examinations, without grades lower than Cs) or 32 International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma points.

They could also apply if they had a Higher National Diploma qualification with a distinction or 2.5 GPA. All applicants have to be Bruneians citizens with yellow identity cards, aged 26 years old or below, and who have not yet started working (pre-service).

Applicants also must have at least a credit in Bahasa Melayu and English language in their O-Level examinations, or an English equivalent (‘C’ for English as a Second Language and the IGCSE level, ‘C’ for General Paper in A levels, or a IELTS overall band score of 6.5).

The MoE officials also said that applicants who wanted to study a specific field or degree (which is already offered in Brunei) overseas can still be considered for government scholarships, if they manage to get into a university which is ranked among the top 20 in the world for that field.

“If someone wanted to take up study in a field that’s also offered in UBD but they get into Harvard, for example, it would be a waste (for them not to go) and we can consider (awarding that person a scholarship),” Dr Hjh Anita said.

However, the officials maintained that applicants had to study a field that was deemed as currently required by the country, and that such scholarship applicants would be strictly considered on a “case-by-case basis”.

Hj Ibrahim also clarified that this still does not guarantee scholarships for these applicants, as there are other requirements to pass in order to get a scholarship, such as the Multiple-Mini Interviews (MMI).

Dr Hjh Anita further said that students applying for a masters scholarship no longer need to have a first degree from a university that is ranked. “What we will prioritise now is where or which institution an applicant wishes to undertake his or her masters degree at.”

The Brunei Times