| James Kon |
“WITH increasing global challenges and in response to national aspirations of SPN21 and Wawasan 2035, the Department of Technical Education system is no longer relevant or responsive in a modern day competitive economy.”
In response to the need to restructure and establish a new system of technical and vocational Education and training which is better aligned with the social and economic needs of the country, Institute Brunei Technical Education (IBTE) was established on May 27, 2013, following the approval of three documents by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, namely the Institute Brunei Technical Education Order 2013, the Technical and Vocational Education Transformation White Paper and the Brunei Darussalam Technical Education Upgrading Plan 2013-2018. These three documents have laid the foundation for the transformation of technical and vocational training in Brunei.
Dr Chin Wei Keh, the Director of the newly-established Institute Brunei Technical Education explained this yesterday during his presentation on ‘The Transformation of Technical Education in Brunei Darussalam: An Update and Implication’, which was organised by the French Bruneian Business Association (FBBA).
He further explained, “IBTE, as a provider and trainer for skilled workforce in the country, is committed towards meeting the challenges of job mismatch between the skills demanded by employers and those available among the population, as well as the increasing number of youth unemployment.”
In upgrading the training environment, he revealed that two mega campuses have been planned to provide a conducive teaching and learning environment, complete with up-to-date infrastructure necessary for the all-round development of students. He also disclosed a proposed development of the Brunei Maritime Academy’s waterfront training facility at Sungai Dunuh. The facility is expected to be completed by 2017.
He also explained that IBTE’s course restructuring “is competency-based and demand-driven. The course is based on 30 per cent theory and 70 per cent practical within authentic teaching and learning environments”. The courses will also teach life skills, entrepreneurship, lifelong learning skills, MIB as well as IRK, he added.
Through the continuing education and training (CET) arm of IBTE, he mentioned that nine courses have been rolled out in 2015, which include a butchery course, cashier course, sales supervisor course, sales promoter course, sales assistant course, housekeeping course, basic food and beverage preparation course, basic food preparation course and front office course.
He added, “The appeal of the courses lies in their short duration and flexibility, where students can acquire skills and enter into employment through JPKE’s SLP scheme. The courses were showcased at the Brunei Job Fair and received close to 200 applicants.”
Before concluding, Dr Chin Wei Keh reiterated, “The question today is no longer about importance of technical education in social and economic development. It is about building quality and sustainability in an educational sector that is often overlooked in society.”
Also present at the talk were Pierre Imhof, the President of FBBA, with Yves Grosjean, the Vice-President of FBBA, and other members.