France keen to promote French language, culture in Brunei

National 1 minute, 28 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

FRANCE is seeking more tie-ups with Brunei higher education institutions as a way to promote French language and culture, said a visiting French senator recently.

Joëlle Garriaud-Maylam, the senate representative for French citizens abroad, said there is abundant opportunity for more Bruneians to study in French universities.

“We don’t have enough students from Brunei in French universities and vice versa. I met with vice-chancellor of Universiti Brunei Darussalam and we had a long and good discussion on ways to develop cooperation,” she told reporters on Wednesday.

Senator Garriaud-Maylam was in Brunei last week on a four-day visit to boost bilateral ties.

French ambassador Loan Forgeron said the country is keen to increase the number of scholarships offered to Bruneians in a bid to boost local workforce capacity.

Training the next generation of workers will be vital to the development of the private sector, she told _The Brunei Times _in a previous interview.

“Bruneians already have a good level of knowledge but many people need to diversify… In France we can provide courses in many technical fields (such as) medicine, engineering… all subjects at every level.”

The envoy said there are currently only five scholarships offered through French energy firm Total to Brunei citizens but that the embassy is looking at increasing funding to provide more scholarships for Bruneian students.

“We will study how to develop the scholarships. We can share the financing. In Indonesia we have provided US$15 million worth of scholarships to send students to France, and we shared half the cost with Indonesia,” she said. Forgeron added that French universities are now offering a wide range of courses in English but recommended students to take some French language classes to prepare for life in France.

The Brunei Times