BPIEF 2015 ends but info updates to continue’

KUCHING: The 6th edition of the Borneo Post International Education Fair (BPIEF), which showcased 88 exhibitors from local, national and international institutions of higher learning, ended yesterday. “Even though it ends today, students can still continue to get up-to-date information from bpief.com or theborneopost.com or seeds.theborneopost.com. We will continue to post ongoing events, activities, courses of all participating institutions,” said BPIEF chairman Dorge Rajah yesterday. The education fair featured several first-time exhibitors to the BPIEF, such as Advantage Learning Company, Asia-Europe Institute from University of Malaya, Automative and Welding Institute of Sarawak (Awisar), Excel College, Messiah College, Centre of Technical Excellence Sarawak (CENTEXS), GEN Education Hub, and Kaplan Higher Education Institute. Among the highlights of the event was the New Zealand Education booth that featured six institutes this year. According to Marketing and Strategic Relations manager of Education New Zealand, Jane Goh, about 1,500 Malaysian students enrolled in New Zealand universities annually. “The most popular programmes that Malaysian students would go for are business, engineering and medicine programmes,” said Goh, adding that most opt for the University of Auckland. Also creating a wave among the visitors at the BPIEF was Maison Monica Hair and Beauty Academy. Visitors could get their hair curled for RM2 and their nails done for RM1 per nail. Maison Monica Hair and Beauty Academy vice principal Gene Thian Sze Mei said the academy was set up in 1971 and gave personal services. It eventually evolved into a salon and later a beauty academy. In general, Maison offers two set of courses: hair dressing and beauty therapy. Its hair dressing programme is the most popular choice. “The skills they learned actually come with an accreditation from the Malaysian government. Graduates are awarded the Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia or Malaysian Skills Certificate.” Since the courses offered under the academy were of the hands-on type, each trainer can only accommodate 25 students. “Each year we have 40 to 50 students.” Also participating for the first time was SMART College. Its head of Non-Academic Division, Alexander David Pon, said their main offerings were the Diploma in Enforcement and Compliance and Diploma in Occupational Safety and Health. Meanwhile, participating in the BPIEF for the fifth time was Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus, which is popular for its engineering and business programmes. “Our other programmes like designs are up-and-coming, not to mention biotech as well,” said associate lecturer Kristian Lee, who specialises in design. Currently, his final year students are making apps for Microsoft Windows. Senior lecturer Chai Almon, who specialises in robotics, said, “It is a misconception that students studying robotics and electronics courses would have a hard time looking for jobs. That is not true. We have graduates working for oil and gas firms. They have lots of instrumentations, such as drill heads and sensors.” He added that students’ educational backgrounds in robotics and electronics would be needed in the oil and gas industry. Also participating this year was Open University Malaysia (OUM), which had participated in the education fair since the birth of BPIEF in 2010. “OUM is usually for working adults, where during the weekdays they would be working in their respective fields and during the weekends they would be studying,” said Joshua Mariyam Duum, an executive at OUM. According to Joshua, the most popular programmes at OUM were Bachelor in Occupational Health and Safety Management, Bachelor in Children Education, and Bachelor in Islamic Studies. Every year, the running of the two-day fair is assisted by dozens of volunteers sporting BPIEF T-shirts. For the first time since the running of BPIEF, the committee enlisted university students to help with visitor registration and overall support. Forty student volunteers from SEGi College Sarawak and UCSI University helped out in the running of the fair. Among first-time volunteers were 20-year-old students from UCSI Eilyn Chiew and Glyn Lee who are both studying Diploma in Leisure Management. For Lee, her curiosity in trying new things made her interested in participating as a volunteer at the BPIEF 2015. “I had never tried volunteering before and wanted to try it out,” she said. Also volunteering for the first time for BPIEF 2015 were classmates Helen Laing and Ebbyla Mena from SEGi College. Both students are taking dual diplomas in Diploma of Early Childhood and Care Medicine. According to the 20-year- old students, the volunteering programme for BPIEF 2015 was a good chance for them to meet new people of different backgrounds and also to practise their communication skills. “Of course I would volunteer again,” said Ebbyla. Other activities held alongside the exhibition included a two-day blood donation drive by the Sarawak General Hospital blood bank, health screening by the Sarawak Nursing Professional Association, and orchestral performance by SM Sainsku Wind Orchestra. (Text excerpted from The Borneo Post)
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