|CfBT | Teacher Recruitment | FAQs|
What connection does CfBT Education Services (B) Sdn Bhd in Brunei have to CfBT in the
CfBT in the UK owns 55% of the Brunei company. The remaining 45% is owned by Bruneian partners. Teachers who work for CfBT in Brunei are full members of the CfBT international network and are able to benefit from the sharing of knowledge and best practice. There are also excellent opportunities to transfer within the global network once a contract has been completed.
How easy is it to buy a car?
There is a very large second hand car market with a wide range of mostly Japanese and other Asian models available. Teachers receive an interest free B$10,000 car loan upon arrival (paid off over 10 or 20 months) and this enables the purchase of most good quality models. It is still very much a buyers market, with haggling over price expected. Traffic is quite light in Brunei, unlike other Asian capitals. Apart from certain times of the day, such as when schools finish, traffic tends to flow freely. Roads are generally very good, although in more remote areas they can occasionally be in a poorer state of repair.
What is the cost of living
In general teachers find that the cost of living in Brunei is much less than what they have been used to at home. As teachers come from a number of countries it may be more useful for you to check out the list of possible costs below:
How much can a teacher save?
Remember that there is no income tax. Your quoted salary is what you will receive at the end of the month. In addition you will receive two months salary per year of service when you complete each contract, housing and certain allowances depending on your family situation. The amount of savings you can make depends very much on your lifestyle. If you are frugal, and dont go on expensive holidays then it is quite possible to save about half of what you earn unless you are very low on the salary scale. However, teachers with non-working dependent spouse and children will find it difficult to make any substantial savings in their first contract.
What sort of accommodation
do teachers have?
In general, teachers live in houses which are much larger than they may be used to in their own country. It should be noted however that houses can vary a lot from one district of Brunei to another. Rents have come down considerably in recent years and as a large company we can negotiate very favourable rents with landlords, meaning we can offer an excellent standard of accommodation to our teachers. Families usually live in large detached houses with gardens, singles are able to live in similar houses but many prefer to live in smaller accommodation and keep the surplus in the housing allowance. Basic furnishing is provided although some landlords provide additional extras such as TVs and washing machines.
What about insurance
and medical matters?
CfBT Education Services (B) Sdn Bhd teachers and dependants aged 12 and above receive treatment at a nominal cost in government clinics. Below 12 yrs, treatment in government facilities is free. The standard of this is quite good. We do however provide a comprehensive insurance policy which teachers must take out and this covers private medical treatment in Singapore or elsewhere (not N. America). This costs about $500 per year per teacher. CfBT subsidises these costs so that teachers pay around $300 per year and dependants pay 50% of the total cost. For other types of insurance, several major international companies are represented in Brunei, so house contents insurance is easy to obtain at quite competitive rates. Car insurance is also reasonably cheap and companies will often honour an existing no claims bonus from outside Brunei.
When and how are salaries
They are paid directly into teachers bank accounts before the end of every month. Salaries are paid in Brunei dollars, which is pegged to the Singapore dollar. The Brunei dollar has remained relatively stable throughout the economic crisis of recent years.
What is the electricity
It is the standard 220-240 volts. Plugs are of the 3 pin variety, the same as in the UK. Adaptors for other plugs are easy to find. Power cuts happen occasionally, in some areas more than others, but usually not for more than a couple of hours. Although some people do purchase surge protectors most teachers do not find that power surges are a problem.
What about schooling for teachers children?
There are two excellent options. Firstly, there is the International School Brunei, where most teachers send their children. This has been established for about 30 years and follows the English National Curriculum from Kindergarten up to GCSE and the International Baccalaureate for years 12 and 13. Teachers here are usually UK or Aus/NZ trained. CfBT pays teachers an education allowance which makes a significant contribution towards school fees for up to two children from Reception. Teachers will need to pay the initial entrance fee to the school for each child, however.
The second option is Jerudong International School, . Many CfBT teachers also choose to send their children to JIS. Established in 1996, JIS has 1700+ students from 54 nationalities. It offers a British International education from Nursery to Year 13, including I/GCSEs, A Level and the International Baccaulaureate. The buildings are extensive and purpose-built and facilities are excellent. Once again, the CfBT education allowance makes a considerable contribution towards the cost of education at JIS but, as the fees are more than ISB, teachers choosing this option will have to make up the difference themselves. For JIS admissions please contact Anne, Jennifer or Sue at firstname.lastname@example.org
Is there much crime in
Although not crime-free, the crime rate is much lower than in Western societies. There is little or no street crime, though there have been some burglaries. CfBTadvises on simple measures that greatly reduce the risk of these, and most teachers never experience them. Women will find that there is nothing like the level of hassle that one may experience, for example, in some countries bordering the Mediterranean. However, as in any country, and especially where one stands out as being different, it is a good idea to exercise sensible precautions. All in all, teachers find that Brunei is a very safe place to live indeed, many teachers prefer the idea of their children growing up in Brunei than in their home countries!.
What is the environment
like in Brunei?
The country has a lush, green, leafy feel to it that many people find addictive. Every bush that one passes is alive with the sounds of hundreds of creatures and the amount of flora and fauna that one can witness on a daily basis is one of the many attractive aspects of life in Brunei. Most people tend to live on or near the coast and the rest of the country is mostly primary or secondary rainforest. Despite the enormous amount of development which has taken place over the last ten years, there are still very large areas of untouched jungle, as there has been little or no extensive logging and there is not really any heavy industry. The oil industry is concentrated on the southwest coast and does not have a serious degrading effect on the environment. Because of the small population, the towns are not at all crowded. Overall then, much of the country is in pristine condition.
Where is Brunei?
Many people believe that it is in the Middle East, as it is a small oil-rich Muslim state. It is however situated in South East Asia on the North East coast of the magical island of Borneo 450Kms North of the Equator. Brunei is divided into two separate sections and is totally surrounded by the Malaysian state of Sarawak.
What sort of travel
Teachers spend their holidays in various places throughout South East Asia such as Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam etc. Many teachers from the UK take the opportunity to visit Australia and New Zealand, and some adventurous types go further afield to China, orIndia. It is also fairly easy to travel around Borneo by car, plane or boat into the Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah. CfBT publishes an occasional travel magazine
What is the social life
like in Brunei?
Brunei is a Muslim country therefore western style nightlife is limited and there are no offical pubs or nightclubs. Having said that, the lack of such establishments means that people tend to organise more events/parties themselves. There is a wide variety of clubs and societies you can join to meet people depending on your interests. There are a number of good cinemas showing the latest Hollywood blockbusters. There is a large number of restaurants of all types and budgets and it is easy to go over the border into Malaysia which is more liberal with good hotels, bars etc. Non-Muslim teachers are also allowed to bring in 12 cans of beer and two bottles of wine or spirits every 48 hours, and the border is not usually more than an hour’s drive away.
In general, Brunei is a more family-oriented place with many events revolving round childrens activities. However, many single teachers find that they can socialise with other singles and go into the neighbouring states quite easily, making Brunei quite doable for single people.
Just about any sport you want is catered for. The Hash House Harriers (running through the jungle) are very popular, as is tennis, swimming, scuba diving, squash, football, rugby, golf, etc. The facilities are very good and quite cheap.
What sort of Extra Curricular Activities are teachers involved in?
This depends very much on what teachers can offer but can involve any sports, English quizzes, jungle walks, drama productions, school publications etc. You will be expected to participate in extra-curricular (or co-curricular) activities in your school on a regular basis as part of your normal school duties.
What opportunities are there for
involvement in materials development etc.?
There are many opportunities for this, and they are increasing all the time. We currently have people involved in revisions of the textbooks in use in schools. We have very close links with Macmillan Publishers in the UK, if teachers wish to pursue more individual projects.
What opportunities exist for Professional Development?
CfBT currently run the Cambridge ESOL In-service Certificate in ELT as well as various computer courses and Malay Language lessons (see here for details). We also run the ESL in the Mainstream course. There is also the possibility of financial assistance for teachers who wish to undertake further study by distance learning such as a Masters Degree etc.
How do you recruit
We have CfBT Recruitment Offices in the UK and Australia who find teachers for us and we also recruit directly through our website or advertisements in the press.
How are the schools organised?
A Secondary School is run by a Principal who is usually Bruneian, assisted by two Deputy Principals. There is a fairly standard hierarchy below that, of Senior Teachers, Heads of Departments etc. In Primary schools there is a Head Teacher who is usually assisted by a Deputy, although this depends on the size of the school.
Although some CfBT teachers are HODs in secondary schools or hold some other administrative role there is less possibility of career progression in an individual school than you might expect at home. On the other hand, CfBT teachers who have successfully completed a contract are well placed to benefit from CfBT’s career progression activities worldwide.
How big are the schools?
Some secondary schools have over 2000 students often split into two shifts. Most are around 1500 however. Primary schools usually have around 300-400 students, although some have as few as 100, or as many as 1000. It should be noted that teachers could be posted by the ministry to any school, on either morning or afternoon shift. Obviously however we do try to fit in with peoples family circumstances.
How many CfBT teachers are in each school?
This varies. In secondary schools there can be up to 10 or 11 CfBT teachers. In Primary schools, there is usually only one CfBT teacher, who may also be the only expatriate in the school.
What subjects do
CfBT teachers are recruited as teachers of EFL, although some occasionally teach other subjects. This may happen in Primary schools but would be rare in secondary schools. Other subjects are taught by local teachers or expatriates directly employed by the government.
What are the students
Most of the students are Malay Muslims, but there are also quite a large number of Chinese students who may be Bruneian citizens or Permanent Residents. In more rural areas other indigenous groups may be represented. In terms of ability and motivation etc, there is quite a wide range, from highly motivated students with almost native-speaker English language competence to the disaffected and unmotivated students with very little English. As in any country, discipline problems do exist, although they tend to be born of frustration and manifest themselves more in lethargy than in confrontation. Systems to deal with such problems are in place in most schools although the will to use them depends very much on the school concerned.
What resources are
available for teachers?
In three of the four districts of Brunei, there is an Education Centre, with a fairly extensive stock of books, magazines, videos etc as well as photocopying facilities. Each teacher has an annual photocopying allowance. In schools the resources vary greatly.
What is an average teachers workload like?
A normal teaching load at Secondary level is typically about 12-16 contact hours a week or 24 to 32 teaching periods. Teachers in general teach up to a maximum of 6 periods in any single day. Additionally, Secondary teachers have to be in school for an additional 4.5 hours per week. This time is set aside for clubs, extra classes and meetings. For those teachers on the afternoon shift this can mean they are expected to be in school on Friday mornings once or twice per month for extension activities or extra lessons. Periodically, throughout the year all teachers will be expected to attend school functions on Fridays or Sundays. These events can include sports days, teacher parent interviews and other whole school events,
At Primary level teachers can expect a classroom timetable of around 15 contact hours. There has been a recent change in government policy and all Primary teachers are required to stay back in school up to twice a week for extension activities and clubs. Each of these sessions lasts 3 hours.
Because of pressure of numbers some schools run a double shift (7.30-12.30 then 12.30-5.30), but teachers will only work one of those shifts. The majority of teachers find that they have considerably more free time in a typical working week than they did in their home countries.
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