In the third page (the opinions column) of the local newspaper, THE BORNEO BULLETIN, the January issue, a column was written about a local post graduate complaining and asking why students who graduated with an overseas degree or any qualifications higher than that were given priority instead of the graduates from the local university, UBD.
In the article, it was stated that about four hundred of the graduates were about to be released from their jobs as relief teachers and they do not know what else they are going to do. The article also included a question asking why they are less prioritised from the overseas graduates.
Reading this article, it opened up my mind. Although it is quite sympathetic for the local graduates to be unemployed in a few months, but it also enraged me because the government knows who is more qualified for a position and I am very sure that a system exists in making sure that the correct people are chosen for the right job and not just by simply looking at where you get your degree certificate.
It is a shame that the writer of the article would raise such a question. If the question were to be asked in a more appropriate manner, it would be more relatable, but to hint that favoritism exists is just disgusting. Of course when asked, it would be answered by saying that it’s the freedom of speech and they can say whatever they want to. The freedom of speech should exist when the case scenario is really bad such as the Bush government and the oppression of females in the early 20th century and the racism culture that still exists.
The freedom of speech should be applied when it is known that harm can be done without anyone taking a stand. Yes, that is quite true. But then, there is no such thing as the freedom of speech regarding the government’s ways of picking their people to work with several departments to ensure the economic stability and to move the country forward to a more modern era.
What is quite upsetting about this article is that it is using the local university as an excuse. The local university, for one, is under the government. And they are doing their best to make sure the learning experience is the same and hopefully in par with other overseas universities. Secondly, the university is filled with teachers, professors and tutors who have had more experience in the world and they are brought to the country to educate the students.
I believe that the step on prioritising local students with an overseas qualification is just right. Although the usage of the word ‘prioritise’ makes an exaggerating effect to the statement because I believe that the correct term for this is ‘to give more chance to’ because if the government was going to play the prioritising game, would they actually even want to consider having a local graduate working in one of their departments? Let alone teaching and moulding the minds of the future leaders.
These students prove to be more independent, stronger and are more experienced. With the experience of learning and staying in another man’s country comes with the ease of adaption. Surely it must not be easy in learning the culture and although language is not a barrier, but our culture and every day ways are not in parallel. It might look little but adapting to their weather is a tough job to handle as well.
The ability to adapt is generally underrated. ‘So what if he can adapt well to his surroundings? Big deal. ‘ The answer is, yes it is a big deal because that adapting skills can take them anywhere without having to trouble themselves and other people just because they are homesick or missing out on local dishes. This skill is particularly very important in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade because this is the ministry that sends convoys and diplomats abroad. These are the people that ties and strengthens relationships between countries. That is how big the importance of adapting is. If you were to just be homesick most of the time and be scared of communicating to others because you are not familiar with their language, clothes or style of living, don’t even expect to have a reply letter from the job interview.
With these sense of adaption and independence, they offer a lot more than the local graduates can. But it is generally seen as the students who goes abroad are rich. This is ridiculous. At first, this is what I thought as well but upon discovering that the university, UBD offers twinning programs to potential-filled students, a new bubble of thoughts clouded those old perceptions.
In this way, one must not simply blame others for not going abroad for further education. If you work really hard in UBD, then of course students would somehow find their way to the dean’s honour list not by chance, but by a systematic way of grading. Therefore, students in UBD actually have the chance to study abroad without having the need to have old, rich family money in their trust fund. Students can actually study abroad and all they have to do is work hard. Sure, competition is there and almost everyone is battling to get a spot to go abroad but all you have to do is work hard and find your way.
This just says a lot about the writer of the article. It could vary from the writer not doing well enough, or the writer did not try as hard as others or psychologically (although I have no experience whatsoever in this field) this is just another way to let out a big sigh from an old memory of regret and humiliation and the pressure from successful friends and family.
What is really bothersome is that no one actually tries to look at what has been provided for us. The writer is lucky enough to get a place in the university. To be accepted and through another perspective the writer indeed did get a scholarship, a scholarship to attend the university. Yes, it sounds lame, but to be serious, have people ever wondered how many spots there are open to be filled up by students? And how many of the spots are being sought after by students from the neigbouring countries? But the government wants the young Bruneians to be educated therefore prioritising (this time, the word is an understatement) the local students for places in the university. No one has really ever thought of that.
*This is part of the Raise Your Voice segment where anybody can submit an article to The AMO Times. We will then publish it without disclosing the authors real name if he is ever willing. If you have an article to share then simply contact us. Remember no topic is off limits. No Topic is to taboo. Enjoy!