Funding Bruneian students since 2011

National 3 minutes, 1 second

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

EIGHTEEN students from Brunei have received scholarships to study under the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme at Hwa Chong International School in Singapore from 2011 to 2015.

According to the school’s Principal, Koh Chin Nguang, many of them are now pursuing higher education in established and well-known universities in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and the city-state itself.

The scholarships include school fees, medical costs and boarding fees. The school also has its own boarding facilities at its campus in Bukit Timah.

Hwa Chong International School is a Singaporean private international school which offers education from Secondary One up to the IB Diploma Programme.

The school, which opened in 2005, is part of a 100-year-old tradition of the Hwa Chong family of schools.

Over 50 per cent of the students comprise Singaporeans and the rest are international students, typically from Asia, Koh said.

Speaking to The Brunei Times on Wednesday during his visit to several schools to interview potential scholars for this year, Koh said the first Bruneian student received their scholarship in 2011.

“We have a very simple view of a scholarship (recipient). Their duty is to be a learner and be an example to others. There is no bond and no requirement. They come and do their best as a student.

“Our students can come in at any point in time, and we bring them all the way to the end of the six years. In terms of our track record within the last six years, our median score for IB is 37,” he said.

Following the completion of IB courses, many of their students are pursuing higher education at prestigious universities like Cambridge, Oxford and King’s College in the UK as well as in Singapore, Australia and the United States.

One of the Bruneian scholars who completed the programme at the school is now at Newcastle studying medicine while another is in Melbourne pursuing actuarial studies. Another Bruneian graduate under the scholarship is in Manchester studying mechatronics.

“Brunei and Singapore have a longstanding relationship and kinship between their governments and people. Brunei, Malaysia and Thailand, for example, are all in the same region, and Singapore has to work with those in the region,” he said.

“Our view about being international isn’t about how many passport stamps you have but how you see things and deal with people. That’s why our scholarships are part and parcel of us reaching beyond the shores of Singapore.”

The school obtains finances to operate from donors who believe strongly in education and that international education is the way to go, said the principal.

“They believe that when other students come and interact with Singaporeans at the school, everybody learns,” he said.

Teaching staff at the school also come from Singapore and abroad.

The school’s IB fees are about $28,000 per annum, and boarding fees are almost equivalent to that of the programme’s fees. International students who intend to study at the school privately and stay there will be paying around $50,000 per annum, he said.

Secondary One to Five fees cost around $24,000 per annum.

“We are looking at promoting international education and international-mindedness and giving the students a chance to broaden their minds and interact with others. At the same time, we encourage them to better themselves as citizens of the world,” he said.

Koh said potential scholars can apply on their website or work through their respective schools.

He added that the school will send representatives to interview potential scholars once they’ve been shortlisted in their home countries because meeting the students and parents is very important to them.

The Brunei Times