Teaching English in Brunei

By | November 21, 2013

The Nation of Brunei, the Adobe of Peace as it is officially known is a developed country in Southeast Asia. It’s a small Islamic country with a population of around 400,000 people, but what it lacks in size it makes up for it in money!

Brunei was a colony of the United Kingdom until 1984 and during the 1970s – 2000s it went through a period of quick development, with economic growth at 56% per year.

Brunei is completely surrounded by Malaysia and maintains a relatively stable all year round temperature in the late 20s.

The country maintains close relations with the United Kingdom and English is a compulsory language for all people in the Kingdom.

Read more about Brunei from Wikipedia.

Why Teach English in Brunei

Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque

Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque – Image courtesy of WikiMedia.

Although the country has gone through a period of extensive development, there are still large areas of jungle. The population is still small and the country is not crowded.

Moreover, Brunei is kept in great condition and often teachers that go to teach English in Brunei stay there for many years. Some of the reasons for this are that the workload is quite reasonable, teachers are treated with a lot of respect and the country has one of the best standards of living in the entire world.

Coupled with a huge salary and 0% tax, it’s difficult to find any reasons why you wouldn’t want to teach in Brunei! Well it is unless you like to drink alcohol! Brunei is a dry country!

Where to Teach English in Brunei

Brunei is a small country and it’s likely that you could work anywhere in the country. The main city is Bandar Seri Begawan and the second city is Kuala Belait. Most jobs will be within 1 hour of these two cities either by car or by boat!

Types of Teaching Jobs in Brunei

International Schools

Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque

Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque

There are currently 2 internationals schools in Brunei, the Jerudong International School and the International School Brunei. Although both schools do employ native English speaking teachers, but it’s far more likely that you’ll be working in a government sponsored program.

Government Schools

The Ministry of Education for Brunei actively employs Native English speaking teachers. You will usually be working a maximum of 16 hours per week for classroom time, but you will also be expected to prepare your own lesson, engage in extracurricular activities and attend school functions.

As stated above, you will probably be working in a government school teaching English and this could be either in a primary school or a high school.

Teaching Requirements and Qualifications

The requirements to teach in Brunei are high and the Ministry of Education sets the non-negotiable standards for all teachers working in the country. To work as a TEFL teacher in Brunei, you must meet the follow standards.

  • A degree from and completion of tertiary education from the UK, South Africa, New Zealand, Ireland, Canada or Australia.
  • You must be a fully qualified teacher in one of the countries listed above, e.g. a PGCE from the UK.
  • You must have at least 3 years relevant experience and 1 year experiences of teaching English as a foreign or second language.
  • You must be under 55 at the start of your contract for a secondary school teacher and under 52 if you are a primary school teacher.

If you have a MA TESOL or a DELTA, this will be an advantage.

However, a degree in any discipline and a CELTA, TEFL or TESOL certificate will not be enough to work in the country.

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Expected Salary and Living Costs

[sociallocker id=”1080″]Salary

For these strict requirements and a fantastic standard of living, you will be compensated very well. The average salary for most people starts at around $3500 and can go up to $5500 per month. This income is tax free and you’ll also get other benefits.

You will have a free or subsidised home, return airfare, subsidised education for your children, Malay language training, professional and administrative support, health insurance and some money for when you arrive!

On top of this, you’ll also get paid one sixth of your salary upon successful completion of a 2 year contract which could be an amount in excess of $10,000.

Living Costs

Unfortunately, the cost of living is higher than other Southeast Asian countries, but as you won’t be paying tax and your home will be subsidised, that shouldn’t matter too much.

You will need a car and the government offers a zero percent loan on the purchase of a car. You will not be able to rely on the public transport system to commute from your home to your workplace.

However, you can live very well and save as much as 50% of what you make each month. If you decide to eat out a lot and enjoy the high life, you won’t be able to save so much.

Read more about the cost of living from Numbeo.[/sociallocker]

Visa Requirements

brunei sunrise from the 10,000Baht per night hotel room.

Brunei Sunrise

All work permits for teachers in Brunei are sponsored by the Ministry of Education. When you are offered a position teaching in the country, the Ministry of Education will take care of everything for you.

You will need to compile various documents and a medical check-up is compulsory.

Take a look at the official website here.

How to Find a Job Teaching in Brunei

It’s unusual to turn up to Brunei with a tourist visa and expect to find a job. A lot of jobs are advertised online and the recruitment process will often start on the internet. Schools will advertise online or use recruitment agencies to do it for them and you will probably have to go through the interview in your own country prior to being offered a position.

Teach English in Brunei

There are many perks to living and working in Brunei. The salary is high, the cost of living is good, the standard of living is very high and you will be well respected by the people in Brunei. However, you do need to be very well qualified and you will need to have some experience. They don’t take teachers from all countries around the world, so make sure that you meet the strict requirements listed above.


Although I have never worked in this country, every effort has been made to ensure that this information is correct. This blog post has been written after extensive research online, interviews with teachers who have worked or are working in the country, and local schools have been contacted. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. If you have worked or are working in Brunei, we would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment and share your experiences with us.

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