‘UK still an attractive study option’

National 3 minutes, 6 seconds


INTEREST among Bruneians in studying in the United Kingdom is still strong as parents are willing to invest more to further their children’s education overseas.

Dr Smita Wimmer, general manager of HRD Services, told The Brunei Times yesterday that they noticed an increasing number of parents who are prepared to invest more in their children’s education.

“Because in Brunei, it’s always been a tradition to borrow money to buy a car, furniture or a house, but you don’t borrow money to have an education. But it’s the other way around now. Parents are willing to eat simple food and drive an old car and invest the money (they saved) in their children’s education,” said Dr Wimmer.

She said parents now are borrowing money to ensure that their children are getting a good education.

“A good education means career security. That’s what parents are hoping for, I think. What we’re noticing is that more and more parents are actually prepared to invest in their children’s education and they recognise the importance of further studies in securing their children’s future.” said Dr Wimmer.

She noted that there is still interest in studying in the UK due to such factors as the relative strength of the Brunei dollar against the pound, which is seen as an attractive financial option when parents are considering sending their children overseas.

She said Bruneians like the UK because their cultural needs are met there.

Whether they are Chinese or Muslims, it’s easy to get Asian food, access to mosques, and the UK has its own Muslim population.

Students, she said, usually tend to feel quite safe in the UK, and it also gives them the chance to travel around Europe, the US and places they’ve never been before.

Studying in the UK is a tradition among some Bruneians as their parents and grandparents have studied there since the first Bruneians who went to the UK to study in the 1950s, said Dr Wimmer.

“Traditionally, their parents studied in the UK, their grandparents studied in the UK.

“We’re even seeing four generations because the first Bruneians studying in the UK was in the 1950s, so their great grandchildren are coming to see us. It’s fantastic,” she said, noting that HRDS Education Services will be organising the Study UK Exhibition Application Fair next week.

At the exhibition, which will be held on February 19 at the Empire Hotel and Country Club from 2pm to 7pm, students who have recently received their exam results can match their qualifications and career paths with degrees offered by UK universities.

School leavers can also find out more about the universities and explore different courses.

Around 22 institutions from the UK and their respective staff will be on hand to provide visitors with information.

All of the participating universities are accredited by the Brunei government, according to Dr Wimmer.

“Students will have the chance to actually talk to (UK university representatives) and get direct, personalised information,” she said.

Representatives from HRD Services will also be there to provide support for students during and after the exhibition such as helping them submit documents to UK universities, helping them compare universities and analysing and identifying the right courses for students based on their results.

“It’s a diverse group of universities. There’s no particular course that’s popular in Brunei. There’s a very diverse range of courses that students go for. It could be in health, engineering, management, humanities or arts (for example).

“Whoever is looking for a particular course, they will find it at the exhibition. Whatever they’re looking for, they will not go back empty handed.”

The Brunei Times