Sultan’s Scholar only seeking ‘best of the best’ students

National 2 minutes, 3 seconds


THE Sultan’s Scholar will maintain its prestige through stiffer requirements in a bid to draw the best students in Brunei, said the assistant managing director of Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah.

Hjh Donnaliza Abdullah Puasa noted the scholarship scheme is becoming “increasingly tougher” for young hopefuls with additional requirements introduced in response to the growing number of students achieving academic excellence. “Even some straight-A* students are not selected for the Sultan’s Scholar. It is very, very competitive, and we only choose the best of the best,” she said.

In a move to better identify the cream of the crop, prospective candidates are now required to undergo a mini-multilevel interview and psychometric testing on top of the existing requirements set out in the programme.

As part of the mini-multilevel interview, each student will deliver a five-minute presentation on a given subject to assess their constructive thinking and critical reasoning among other skills.

Meanwhile, the psychometric testing will be conducted based on the Neuroticism-Extroversion-Openness (NEO) Personality Inventory that measures extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness to experience.

Hjh Donnaliza also pointed out that academic excellence alone is no longer satisfactory to join the respected rank of a Sultan’s Scholar. “They are academically excellent, but we want them to excel in other things as well instead of just being ‘too academic’. You can have excellent students but they are not ‘thinking students’ in terms of being able to utilise their knowledge and apply it to the real world,” she said.

In order to boost their chances of being selected for the programme, students were encouraged to actively participate in community service and extra-curricular activities.

“There are certain criteria they must fulfil in addition to academic excellence, such as how well they work with the community. We look into whether these students are contributing or volunteering for the community,” she said.

Apart from the selection process, she said shortlisted candidates will be reviewed by the Sultan’s Scholar steering committee.

“It’s a very, very rigorous selection process. They will have to go through various hurdles to get the Sultan’s Scholar. That’s why for those who have been selected, we make sure they excel. We make sure they are well taken care of during their studies,” she said.

A total of 36 recipients have been awarded scholarships since the Sultan’s Scholar was introduced in 2006 as one of the most prestigious schemes offered in the nation.

The Brunei Times