‘Brunei can learn from India to address social issues’

National 2 minutes, 39 seconds


LOCAL participants of an ASEAN-India student exchange programme say they are keen to conduct awareness programmes at schools to share what they’ve learnt while in India.

In an interview with The Brunei Times, the youth leader for the Bruneian delegation, Zulfadly Hj Ismail Mohammad, said they had the chance to identify social issues faced in India.

“I discussed the issue of unemployment in India with a local youth who said that in India, one is either a doctor or an engineer or unemployed,” he said.

Zulfadly said the level of unemployment there may be due to the lack of job openings in those fields and parents’ mindset of hoping their children will enter those professions.

“It taught (and reminded) us not to be choosy in what jobs to do and that we mustn’t have thoughts about which job is better. If not, it will make it harder to find (a job),” he added.

Zulfadly noted that during their trip, it was difficult for the delegation to get access to clean drinking water.

“We only drank purified bottled water that’s sold in shops and was available at our hotel. I tried once to drink their (unpurified) water, and it tasted awful. We could see that the water dispensers were covered with a cloth (as a filter),” he said.

Child labour was also prominent, he said, adding they saw children under 10 years old selling souvenirs in order to earn a living.

“It’s all about educating our youth, and we believe that it (education) is the best way to fight social issues here in our country,” he added.

He said that by joining such youth exchange programmes, it enables one to be more aware and learn about issues happening in other parts of the world so as to be empathetic.

Zulfadly said the delegation planned to visit schools to share their experiences with students.

“We’re targeting youths. Apart from that, we might want to collaborate with iCentre on raising awareness of doing business among youth like participating in Ignite or BICTA competitions,” he said.

According to an officer at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, the delegation will engage in entrepreneurship tasks by creating business proposals to open small and medium enterprises which will contribute to the development of youth in the sultanate.

Another member of the delegation, Norizzanti Samsi, who works as a staff nurse at the Ministry of Health, said that being a civil servant didn’t stop her from participating in the student exchange programme.

“I wanted to share with other youths that they should expose themselves (to other countries) so they are ready and open to any challenges in the future,” she said, adding that while visiting a hospital in India, she learnt that it provides better management and facilities compared with in the sultanate.

“They have interpreters to guide and help foreign patients during their admission until they are discharged (from their wards). They also provide online counseling for patients who don’t want to go the hospital. They are more advanced than we thought,” she said.

The delegation is completing their reports, which will be presented to MCYS.

The Brunei Times