| Siti Hajar |
THE last decade has seen an impressive shift in the country’s education system with each passing decade intensifying in its personification of what it means to provide the people with a robust education landscape that were tailor-made to meet the needs of Brunei Darussalam’s much needed development.
In a recent celebration to mark the 100 years of formal education in the Sultanate whose roots took hold during the reign of Al-Marhum Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Alam’s administration, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam consented to launch the ‘Evolution and Transformation: Achievement in the 100 Years of Education in Brunei Darussalam 1914-2014’ book produced by the Ministry of Education that highlights some of the most significant milestones in the country’s education history.
Written and compiled by three prominent figures in the Sultanate, the hardcover first volume showcases the different stages of Brunei’s education transformation since the early 1900’s as it takes readers back in time to when the country came face to face with a local human resource dilemma that could not meet the demands of the country’s development perpetuated by the shortage of those who could not read nor write.
The short year’s prior to the establishment of the first Malay School in the Capital, then known as Bandar Brunei in 1914, under the auspice of Al-Marhum Sultan Muhamamd Jamalul Alam’s administration were the formation years of what we Bruneians are more familiar with today with the initial investments that were made a century ago bearing fruit in ways that were once unimaginable.
As the decades wore on, several historical events proved to be influential to the progress that Brunei’s education system at the time was making, particularly with the British as well as the Japanese Occupations.
More and more steps as well as measures were incorporated in to the teaching and learning content within Brunei’s very small student population all of whom started off with reading and writing in Arabic and Roman and, later, the introduction of mainstream subjects that were needed to create a local administration apt with knowledge to propel the nation forward.
Even when the country was still exploring its capabilities in providing the best form of education that it could possibly offer even as the government was still dependent upon allies to help educate its people, the administration had realised the importance of what it means to educate its people and made it mandatory for school children living within the vicinity of the first schools to attend classes, of which the current administration also takes very seriously as part of the country’s laws.
Before the reign of Al-Marhum Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien in 1950, the Bruneian formal education was still in its infancy stage with school enrollment for Malay, religious, Chinese and English education were still at their lowest.
But the mid-1900 became the significant turning point of the country’s education system that witnessed further transformation under the late monarch’s rule especially under the National Policy of 1954 and 1962 that became the foundational basis towards Brunei’s education vision.
In carrying out Al-Marhum Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien’s legacy, the current monarch has made even more, and much longer, strides in tandem with globalisation as the Sultanate joins the rest of the world in contributing to the field of knowledge and innovation through quality human resource with the establishment of the first university, and subsequent universities, all of which have found homes in the hearts of Bruneians.
The 300-page book is an ideal piece of historical reading for those looking to learn more of Brunei’s educational history from a Bruneian perspective complete with accurate facts and figures arranged in chronological order based on education sector development in the fields of Arabic and Religion, Technical and Vocational, teacher’s training, higher education, scholarship and education administration.
Those who are interested to own their very own copies at just $75 are encouraged to visit the Higher Education Division General Office, fifth floor, Block B of the Ministry of Education Building at the Old Airport in Berakas.
ACHIEVEMENT IN THE 100 YEARS OF EDUCATION IN BRUNEI DARUSSALAM
|Below are excerpts from the recently launched ‘Evolution and Transformation: Achievement in the 100 Years of Education in Brunei Darussalam 1914-2014’ book in conjunction with the marking of a decade of formal education in the country.
Since 1914, the country’s education system has made leaps and bounds to achieve what it has accomplished today, with thousands of students and graduates embarking on journeys made possible only by education.
1914 – The first Malay school was established in Bandar Brunei
1916 – The first Chinese school was established in a shophouse in Bandar Brunei
1917 – The first Malay school was established in Kuala Belait
1918 – The first Malay school was established in Tutong
1926 – The first Malay school was established in Bangar
1929 – An enactment of school attendance introduced. It was made compulsory for Malay boys between the age of seven and 14, and living within two miles of Sekolah Melayu, Bandar Brunei to attend school
1931 – Islamic Religious education was formally launched at Sekolah Melayu, Bandar Brunei
– Kuala Belait English School was established by the British Malaysian Petroleum Company in Kuala Belait as the first private English school for boys and girls
1932 – Pengiran Muda Tengah who became Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien went to study at Maktab Melayu Kuala Kangsar, Perak, Tanah Melayu
1938 – Girl’s school reopened in Bandar Brunei following the recruitment of two local female teachers. It was closed in 1931, a year after it opened due to the lack of appropriate human resource.
1941 – Private Arabic School opened with funding from Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin but was closed down during the Japanese Occupation and never reopened.
1942 – Japanese education system adopted in all Malay schools until the end of the war in mid-1945
1949 – James Pearce was appointed as the first state Education Officer
1951 – First Government English School, the English Elementary School established in Bandar Brunei
– Sekolah Melayu was renamed to Sekolah Melayu Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Alam (SMJA)
1956 – A full-time Religious Primary School was established upon the initiative of Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien
1960 – For the first time, Sekolah Melayu introduced Primary Seven and Primary Eight the year after that were given the status of secondary education
1965 – An unofficial member of the Legislative Council, Lukan bin Uking, was appointed as Education Minister Assistant. The post was then dissolved in 1970.
1972 – Education Commissioner’s Report 1972 was released containing suggestions for the establishment of a National Education System
– Nine years of basic education introduced but was not enforced by law
1976 – Brunei’s Education Board commences public examinations for PCE, BJCE, Brunei Cambridge GCE ‘O’ and ‘A’ Levels
1984 – Government schools begin to use the National Secondary School Curriculum based on local requirements
– Brunei joins the South East Asian Minister’s of Education Organisation (SEAMEO)
1985 – The establishment of Universiti Brunei Darussalam
– Brunei Darussalam becomes a member of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation
1993 – Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Tahfiz Al-Quran Institute established
– Sultan Bolkiah Vocartional School in Seria established
1997 – Inclusive Basic Education implemented
2003 – Education Order introduced
– Sports School established
2007 – Universiti Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) established
– Compulsory Education Order enforced under which it is mandatory for every child over six years old and no older than 15 to receive nine years of education
2008 – 21st Century Education System (SPN21) introduced
– Nation Vision 2035 includes the objective to develop an educated and highly skilled population
2013 – Mandatory Religious Education order declared
– Establishment of the Brunei Darussalam Teacher’s Academy
2014 – The Ministry of Education celebrates 100 years of formal education in Brunei Darussalam