Students now opting for Asian universities

National 2 minutes, 13 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

LOCAL higher education agencies have noted an increasing number of Bruneian students opting for Asian universities, representing a shift from the traditional preference for Western institutions.

Speaking to The Brunei Times, the General Manager of James Hon Marketing and Management Delon Hon said that more students are opting for universities in Asia as they are becoming more realistic in their expectations on furthering their studies.

“Students are considering going to Asian universities because they would not be able to afford going to the UK on their own,” he said.

Hon said that the move towards the east was also fuelled by the decreasing chances of landing government scholarships, which are traditionally geared towards students who have been accepted into top universities in the United Kingdom.

“It is not rocket science (to know that there are less scholarships this year), the budget announced during the 12th session of the Legislative Council meeting showed a five per cent decrease for education so funds for scholarships would have become less available too,” he said.

“Based on the number of students who have come in (for consultation), I predict that this year will have a record-low number of Bruneian students flying off to UK to start their university this September,” he said.

Another local higher education agent located in the capital, who declined to be named for privacy reasons, echoed the sentiments of Bruneians looking eastward.

“For the Bruneian students who come to us in particular, many are increasingly looking at Asian universities, in particular the ones in South Korea and Taiwan, which have become quite popular destinations in recent years,” she said.

“What also helps the popularity of these countries is that they are giving out scholarships for students in Brunei as well, especially South Korea and China recently,” she said.

She explained that the allure in going to these places is also down to the popularity of the culture and lifestyle that these countries have.

“Especially in the case of South Korea, students here are quite excited about the lifestyle and culture there as Korean pop culture has a huge following around the world,” she said.

“At other times, students just prefer to go to less conventional destinations to have a different experience compared to the norm of studying in UK, US or Australia,” she said.

She said another factor of students choosing Asian universities is also sometimes out of the circumstances of their education.

“For example some students here who have gone through secondary school learning Syariah law or Sastera so their choices are narrowed to those countries that offer those courses if they want to pursue those courses,” she said.

The Brunei Times