| Fadhil Yunus |
THE top participants of the Command and Staff Course 2014 yesterday underlined the importance of applying their newly-acquired skills into their job, following an award presentation ceremony at the Officers’ Mess at the Sungai Akar Camp.
Speaking to the Bulletin, Commander Andrew George James of the Royal Navy (United Kingdom), recipient of the Massey University Prize for Academic Excellence, explained that the relatively small number of people in the course allowed for things that large courses would not have enabled them to do.
The cohort visited a number of organisations, both military and academic, that allowed them to observe contemporary security issues and historic battlefields. This included areas in Hawaii and the Philippines.
“Because there is only a relatively small number of permanent course staff, the opportunity of getting a large number of good quality, high-profile visiting lecturers was a definite strength to the course… something that has brought huge benefits.
“The quality of the course was pretty good and benefits a number of things. The quality of the academic side delivered by Massey University from New Zealand was very good. They brought a lot of experience.”
Andrew, who will be moving to the Ministry of Defence in London, took his undergraduate degree at Edinburgh University, post-graduate diploma at Surrey University and Masters’ at Portsmouth University. He has 14 years of experience in the Navy under his belt.
The professional engineer is looking to use the experience acquired through the course to build on his regional perspective, in particular.
“The network is part of the process – it’s very important. We were a small team, but as a result we all know each other very well. Our ability to stay in touch now will be very easy, despite the fact that we will be separated around the world.”
Meanwhile, RBAF Command Staff Course Overall Excellence Award recipient Sajjad Haider Khan of the Pakistan Army described the learning experience as “tremendous,” in view of the good combination of teaching staff from Brunei, Singapore and the United Kingdom.
“They brought to class knowledge they had gained back home. This means that whatever was being imparted to the students was a very good mix of three different nations. The academics are affiliated with Massey University New Zealand and they brought to the table very good academic knowledge,” he added.
The availability of internationally-recognised guest speakers formed the basis of a quality course. These guest speakers, he explained, offered plenty of perspective on issues that occur in the region.
“The courses are also module-based and we had a lot of interaction with foreign training teams from Singapore, New Zealand, the Philippines Army and the US Army in Hawaii,” he added.
“One of the most important aspects of this course was that we had an enriching mix of international officers and local Bruneian officers. The bonds created will definitely help us when cooperating with each other in dealing with future issues.”
Meanwhile, RBAF CSC Commendation Award recipient Major Mohd Salehudin bin Dato Paduka Haji Puasa from the Defence Security Branch of the Defence Minister’s Office & Directorate of Strategic Planning noted that the course relates to critical-thinking, which includes analysing factors that could apply in his organisation.
He added, the course has developed his professional-thinking as he evolves in his career.
“Of course working in a team with all these international officers really taught us how to interact with everyone,” he added.