Scholarship cap rests on MoE budget
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THE Ministry of Education (MoE) has not ruled out limiting the number of government scholarships this year as the 2016/2017 financial year budget may see cuts in bursaries.
Head of Scholarships Hj Ibrahim Hj Bagol said there are no immediate plans to cap the number of scholarships, but that might change when the government budget is disclosed in March.
“We will have to see the amount of budget set for Ministry of Education during the Legislative Council meetings.”
”From there, the ministry can decide the budget for scholarships and the quota for scholarship students as well,” he said.
For the past few years, the ministry has awarded scholarships to more than 100 students to pursue their higher education abroad each year.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Silver Run to mark Teachers’ Day at Taman Hj Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien yesterday, Hj Ibrahim said they are already accepting scholarship applications now.
He said the requirements for this year’s scholarships remained the same as the previous year.
The ministry posted a memo on the scholarship requirements, application deadlines and preferred courses for the 2016/2017 academic session on its website.
“The listed courses or subjects in the memo are in line with the demand and needs of our nation and government’s ministries by 2019 (as this is the time the new batch of scholars will finish their studies and return to the country)”, he said.
Virology, Social Community and Welfare, Land Economics, Agribusiness and Green Technology/Energy Efficiency are among the 118 preferred courses.
He advised students to check the courses before they apply for scholarships as they are less likely to be awarded if the academic programmes are offered in local higher education institutions.
“Even though the government offers scholarships and education loan schemes, we encourage students to study locally if they can.
“Our government spends a generous sum of money to expand and improve the quality of education in this country, so students are encouraged to support our own local institutions than opt or prioritise those located abroad,” he added.
Hj Ibrahim said students will not be assessed solely on their academic qualifications.
Applicants’ critical thinking skills, knowledge and understanding on MIB values as well as how they see themselves contributing to the nation are among the criteria that will determine the awarding of scholarships, he said.
“We want them to be great academically, and equipped with the knowledge of their own heritage and culture.”
”We not only want them to be creative and forward thinkers, but also to be patriotic because they are the future leaders of our nation,” he added.
The Brunei Times