12 SMSA students awarded scholarships

National 2 minutes, 23 seconds





TWELVE students from Sayyidina Ali Secondary School (SMSA) have received full scholarships to study abroad this year, a small increase from the year prior.

Nine out of the 12 have been awarded Brunei Shell Petroleum scholarships, while the remaining three received scholarships from the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Education and Royal Brunei (RB) airlines. All have selected the United Kingdom as their destination.

SMSA’s Pre-U Senior Master Academic Shim Sheau Huei said this year’s recipients, who sat for their A-Level examinations in 2014, represented a proportionally higher percentage of students securing scholarships compared with those sitting for A-Levels in 2013.

“This year, we have 12 receiving scholarships from the Brunei government or from Brunei-based organisations out of about 230 students total. Last year, we had only 11 from over 300 students, so it’s an improvement,” he said.

Shim noted that scholarships are becoming increasingly competitive with tougher academic requirements and an increased focus on communication skills.

“Over the years in general, applications for scholarships are more competitive and intense. The interview process has gone from a traditional format to the modern style (Multiple-Mini Interview), which doesn’t just emphasise academic results but also social and thinking skills,” he said.

Shim said this was a positive trend which ensured that scholarship recipients would be of a higher calibre. He added that SMSA, Belait’s only sixth form centre, has taken note of the changing playing field and will try to equip students with the tools necessary to ace interviews.

“There have been years where we had more achieving scholarships. At the same time, we recognise that the selection is becoming increasingly competitive, so we know what needs to be done academically and the skills needed for students to ace interviews,” he said.

This year’s recipients had a clear preference to work in the oil and gas industry, with the majority having targetted BSP scholarships since the beginning of their sixth form journey.

“With the BSP scholarship, we are provided attachments and graduate training and the opportunity to work for the biggest company in Brunei,” said Ak Nasser Pg Hj Ahmad, who will undergo a degree in Mechanical Engineering at Loughborough University.

Keanu Isaak Iscramuon, another BSP scholar, said he hopes to become an exploration geophysicist upon graduating from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

His sister, Kiara Esmeralda, SMSA’s top performer in 2014, was awarded a Ministry of Defence scholarship to pursue a Masters in Biomedical Engineering at Imperial University.

“I’m hoping to contribute to MinDef in a medical capacity with the knowledge the course offers which will have the latest cutting- edge developments in tissue engineering and neurotechnology,” said the 17-year-old, who achieved five straight As.

The recipients were feted in a ceremony held by SMSA yesterday at the school’s staff lounge, where students met and thanked teaching staff for their guidance and support.

The Brunei Times