UTB a potential hub for regional Muslim students

National 2 minutes, 58 seconds


BRUNEI’s peace and stability, along with the easy availability of halal food can be promoted to Muslim students in the region who are looking to pursue higher education abroad, said a Pakistani student who recently graduated from Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB).

Muhammad Ahsan Akram, 23, who is the first international student to graduate in Mechanical Engineering at UTB, said he feels UTB has huge potential in attracting Muslim students from Southeast Asia.

“After four years of studying here, I feel UTB has huge potential especially for the international Muslim students. Brunei is in a volatile region, and maintaining peace in this region is difficult and challenging, but Brunei already has peace and stability and this can be further exploited to making a business from it,” he said.

He also said that Brunei is safe in the sense that drugs are not easily available and cigarettes are very hard to find here.

“There is hardly any crime or robbery and if you lose your wallet, there is a high chance someone will come looking for you to return it,” he said, adding this practically does not happen anywhere else in the world.

He elaborated that Brunei can be an educational hub for Muslim students due to the easy availability of halal food.

“As an undergraduate, I came here when I was 18 years old. My family did worry about liquor and drugs. But if parents visit Brunei, they will be worry-free and would like to send their children to Brunei,” he said.

Meanwhile, Muhammad Ahsan said most of the faculties at UTB have international lecturers, professors and teachers who are hand-picked from around the world.

“We also have state-of-the-art engineering laboratories which have all the British and German equipment in there which is more than necessary.

“The infrastructure at UTB is also currently supporting the industry’s needs, where it has a material testing centre. Students at UTB also go for placements and internships every year,” he said.

The degree graduate attributed all that he is today to UTB, and praised the leadership in Brunei which he said has taught him “humbleness”.

He told international students that even if they have to pay to study at UTB, the fee structure is less than what it costs at other universities abroad.

“UTB is also going for the world rankings next year, which means that its degrees will be recognised around the world. I would like to mention the hotels at UTB, where students are given their own rooms which are fully furnished and air-conditioned, and that is different from other countries. So the infrastructure is state-of-the-art and modern,” he said.

Muhammad Ahsan was part of a government-to-government exchange programme.

“I was chosen in 2012 among more than 2,500 students in Pakistan. I was chosen on merit base after a series of interviews and extra-curricular activities. When I came here in 2012, there were only about five international students here in the then-named ITB. I noticed the university grew every year and today, we have international students from more than 30 countries,” he said.

He was speaking on the sidelines of UTB’s International Day 2016 held at the varsity yesterday, which is an annual event held to celebrate the different cultures and nationalities at the university.

Yesterday also saw embassies participate in the exhibit.

Present as guest of honour was UTB Dean of Student Affairs Joffry Hj Bungsu.

It was jointly organised by the UTB’s Executive Committee of International Affairs, and Executive Committee Culture under the Student Representative Council.

UTB currently has more than 30 international students from over 15 countries.

The Brunei Times