Brunei and China have a bright future of cooperation in vocational education, senior officials from both countries said here on Wednesday.
Eighteen students from the Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE) on Wednesday received scholarships from Hengyi Industries Sdn Bhd, a joint petrochemical venture between China and Brunei, who will go to China’s Lanzhou Petrochemical Polytechnic College (LPP) as part of Hengyi’s second batch of trainees for a year’s training program.
During an interview with Xinhua at the scholarship signing ceremony, Haji Azman bin Ahmad, permanent secretary in charge of higher education at Brunei’s Ministry of Education said the joint training program between Hengyi, IBTE and LPP is the only overseas training program for vocational education by a foreign company in Brunei so far, and that the Brunei government appreciates Hengyi’s support for local students’ further studies.
Hengyi Industries is a petrochemical joint venture between China’s Zhejiang Hengyi Group and Damai Holdings Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary under the Brunei government’s Strategic Development Capital Fund, owning 70 percent and 30 percent of the shares respectively.
“Brunei has been committed to improving vocational education in the country for many years and looked forward to boosting local employment through expanding the capacities of vocational and technical education,” Haji Azman said.
He said that China has been very resourceful on vocational education and that there are good prospects for bilateral cooperation in this area.
According to a report from the Asian Development Bank in April this year, Brunei’s unemployment rate in 2018 official statistics reached 8.7 percent, the highest among the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Yu Hong, Chinese ambassador to Brunei, told Xinhua that Hengyi has joined hands with the IBTE and LPP to train local skilled workers through the “college-college-enterprise” cooperation model, which has played an important role in promoting Hengyi’s workforce localization and creating a new model of international cooperation in vocational education between the two countries.
The Chinese ambassador said that the demand for quality and skilled personnel will further increase with the development of Hengyi’s petrochemical project in Brunei and the diversification of Brunei’s economy.
“China and Brunei will continue to strengthen international exchanges and cooperation in vocational education, create more cooperation platforms for scientific research, technology, school management and joint training, cultivate more high-quality localized talents and make greater contribution to promoting economic and cultural exchanges between the two countries,” the Chinese ambassador added.