BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN - Some 141 students have been approved for an education loan via a new loan facility introduced in August 2014, said the minister of education yesterday.
Since it was announced last year, the ministry has received more than 400 applications for the 'Education Loan Assistance Scheme', which aims to help students pursue higher education locally and overseas, particularly those who have fallen short of government scholarship criteria.
The loan covers tuition fees and living expenses, making higher education more affordable for Bruneians.
The Minister of Education, Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Awg Abu Bakar Hj Apong, said yesterday that applicants were approved on the basis of the relevance of their course to the country's needs.
Loan recipients are now pursuing courses in sciences, engineering, business, medicine, IT, as well as the arts, he said during a dialogue with Legislative Council members at Universiti Brunei Darussalam.
The countries they will study in include the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia. Some have been accepted into prestigious universities such as Imperial College London and Stanford University.
Of the 141 students, 90 are female and 51 are male.
According to the Ministry of Education, if a recipient successfully graduates with first class honours then they will not have to pay back the loan, as an incentive for their hard work.
The education minister (pictured) also outlined the ministry's key goals, namely to reduce the unemployment rate by 80 per cent by 2017; ensure the education system fulfills the needs of employers; achieve a high rating on the Global Competitiveness Index by 2017; and get into the top 50 of the Programme for International Assessment Chart by 2018.