Chevening Scholarship applicants see sharp increase

National 2 minutes, 41 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE number of applicants for the Chevening scholarship in Brunei has tripled in the past year as Bruneian students increasingly look for alternative sources of funding in a bid to further their education without relying on the government.

The Chevening scholarship is awarded to international students to study for a master’s degree in the United Kingdom (UK) and funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office along with partner organisations.

Maya Alwines, press officer at the British High Commission, said in an email interview that the scholarship received 30 applications in 2015 from locals looking to further their studies in the UK during the 2016/2017 academic year, compared to just 10 applications received during the previous year.

“There was a very strong field of around 30 applications which we received between August and November 2015 and we are looking forward to interviewing the best applicants later this month,” she said.

“While I would not say that 30 is a record number of applicants for us, it is a relatively (significant) number considering there will only one recipient of the scholarship who will be awarded in Brunei each year,” she said.

She said that the jump in numbers was likely due to the renewed focus on marketing the scholarships to potential aspirants in Brunei.

“We have taken a more targeted approach to raising awareness of the scholarship and the Chevening Alumni of previous recipients in Brunei have also played a major role, especially through their highly successful Youth Forum talk series,” she said.

The President of Chevening Brunei Association, Abd Matiin Hj Muhd Kassim, said that the increase could also be due to locals seeking alternative sources of funding and not relying on the government which is the traditional source of funding for further education abroad. “I think that is partially true but at the same time, I think more people are now aware of the Chevening scholarship and would like to try out their luck to experience life as a Chevening scholar,” he said.

“I would say the master’s degree matters more than the scholarship and the field of study itself but however, the prestige of the Chevening scholarship does add value to any career, especially the global networking opportunities that it provides,” he said.

The scholarship is open to all locals who are eligible to study for a master’s degree and the scholars benefit from the support and network provided by the organisation. “The Chevening Scholarships are awarded to future leaders and decision-makers. One year spent studying for a master’s course at any of UK university gives them the opportunity to develop professionally and academically, network extensively and experience British culture,” said Maya Alwines.

“Naturally, applicants have to be in their early/mid years of their career and between the ages of 25 and 35, but the scholarship is not limited to such candidates. It accepts a wide variety of applicants from both the public and private sectors,” she said.

Applications for the 2017/18 Chevening Scholarship will open later this year on a date that is to be confirmed but those interested in applying for the scholarship can sign up to the Chevening newsletter to find out about the latest news about applications at www.chevening.org/subscribe.

The Brunei Times