Brunei Top of World in Girls' Education

Brunei on top of the world in girls’ education
on: November 28, 2015
| Azlan Othman |

BRUNEI Darussalam clinched the top spot globally in the category of female enrolment in secondary and tertiary education, according to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) latest Global Gender Gap Report.

The country’s overall gender equality ranking moved up 10 positions in 2015 to 88 out of 145 countries from 98 out of 142 countries last year.

The Global Gender Gap Index 2015, which was released this week, ranked the economies according to how well they are leveraging their female talent pool, based on economic, educational, health-based and political indicators.

Brunei Darussalam is among the top 20 countries globally with the highest women to men ratio in higher education.

The Sultanate has some of the best educated female citizens in the world, the report noted. They outnumber their male counterparts in tertiary education institutions. Brunei is one of the countries where women are more likely to take up tertiary education and are better educated than men, the WEF report said.

Brunei’s jump in overall rankings is also attributed to its improved ‘Economic Participation and Opportunity’ category score which the country gained due to the presence of more female legislators, senior officials and managers as well as female professional and technical workers.

The Sultanate scored exceptionally well in economic participation where it was ranked at 23 (compared to 36 in 2014).

The country was placed in the top spot in the subcategory of earned income. In terms of educational attainment, it stood at the 70th spot (compared to 88th in 2014).

However, the Sultanate was ranked at 131 (126 in 2014) in the category of ‘health and survival’.

The report said that the gap between men and women in health, education, economic opportunity and political representation has closed by four per cent in the past 10 years. In economic terms, the gap has reduced by only three per cent with progress towards wage equality and labour force parity stalling markedly since 2009/2010.

Over the past few decades post independence, women in Brunei have taken great strides in making themselves level with men both educationally and professionally with literacy among girls reaching its peak at 96.3 per cent in 2013 and 30 per cent of them seeking tertiary level qualifications. Currently in Brunei, more women than men are holding civil service positions with salaries comparable with those of their male counterparts.

Brunei’s government believes that women’s involvement in all aspects of the community is needed in the nation’s development and that women carry with them a different perspective that provides balance in decision making.

In a titah delivered at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in September this year, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam said that with the pace of globalisation, lifelong learning has been given serious attention. His Majesty stated that girls and women have equal opportunities to upgrade their knowledge and skills, particularly in evolving areas like ICTs.

“Women have attained high positions in various professional fields such as medicine, law, education, business and engineering, with progressive education and equal opportunities for employment.”

His Majesty added that in the past decade, the participation of women in the workforce has increased from 59 per cent to over 70 per cent. “With women making up almost half of Brunei Darussalam’s population, their contribution to the national development is of great significance.”

His Majesty further stated that women have equal access to health facilities. “Over the past two decades, women’s life expectancy has improved to about 80 years. Women are also increasingly active in business ventures through various credit financing schemes,” the monarch said, noting that more than half of Brunei Darussalam’s Small and Medium Entreprises (SMEs) are owned by women who have achieved economic self-reliance.

Regionally, Brunei Darussalam is part of the Asean Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children. The Asean Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Children was also adopted during Brunei Darussalam’s Asean Chairmanship in 2013.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin


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