| Azaraimy HH |
THE Ministry of Education (MoE) has revealed a new national education system offering clear progression and greater opportunities for post-secondary school students.
For Year 9 school leavers (equivalent to Form 3 in pre-SPN21), or those who failed to complete their O-Level, there is now a silver lining in the sky, as they can further their studies at Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE) in Industrial Skills Qualification or ISQ (NQF Level 2).
While, those who do complete their GCE O-Level can now go for further studies either at IBTE (for those who obtained 0-4 O-Level credits), or at Politeknik Brunei (PB) (for those who obtained 4-5 O-Level credits), or Sixth Form Centres (for those who obtain 6-9 O-Level credits).
At IBTE, students can apply for National Technical Education Certificate (NQF Level 3) or NTec and it is not necessary for students to have any credit in their O-Level exam.
Alternately, they can apply for Higher National Technical Education Certificate (NQF level 4) or HNTec and students must have a minimum of three O-Level credits in relevant subjects.
Whereas those who obtain five credits may further their studies at PB in a three-year Diploma Programme (NQF Level 5). This is actually equivalent to the Higher National Diploma (NQF Level 5). Applicants must obtain 5-26 points from the five relevant subjects.
Progression from HNTec (from IBTE) is possible with meritorious performances. Or, in PB, applicants can opt for a three-year course in Diploma in Health Sciences (Level 4), and it requires a minimum of four credits in O-Levels in relevant science subjects.
And those who obtain 6-9 credits may further their studies at the sixth form centres for their GCE Advance Level before pursuing their undergraduate studies at a tertiary education institution locally or abroad.
The new system was revealed at a press conference at the Ministry of Education attended by Hajah Anis Faudzulani binti Haji Dzulfiflee, Head of Higher Education Section; Dr Hazri bin Haji Kifle, Director of Planning and Research; Denis Ho Mun Tai, Director of Politeknik Brunei; Dr Haji Mohd Zamri bin Haji Sabli, Acting Director of Institute of Brunei Technical Education and other officials from the Ministry of Education.
It is part of the Ministry of Education’s grand initiative to realign Technical and Vocational Education System to the demands of the various industries that support the national economic development.
Hajah Anis Faudzulani said the main concept of the transformation in technical education is that it is industry-driven.
Thus it needs collaboration from industries in order for the system to produce highly-skilled and competitive graduates that possess entrepreneurial skills and relevant industry-based professional qualification.
She said the transformation is also aimed at strengthening the secondary education pathway system to make it more dynamic, relevant and responsive to the socio-economy of the nation.
Hajah Anis Faudzulani said IBTE and PB had held dialogue sessions with stakeholders including the private and government sectors involving heads of department, schools, community leaders, senior government officers, managers and members of the Legislative Council. The common consensus was that the new system is believed to be responsive and demand-driven.
Currently, the technical education is in its transition phase and at this stage, IBTE still offers the two-year BDTVEC Diploma (NQF Level 4). This diploma will be phased out soon and replaced by HNTec Programmes (NQF Level 4). Similarly, some of the Skill Certificate Programmes still on offer for the final intake will be replaced by NTec Programmes next year. At Politeknik Brunei, the two-year Advanced Diploma Programme is phased out and is replaced by the three-year Diploma Programme starting July 2015.
Hajah Anis Faudzulani said the process is in response to the titah of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam urging for a re-evaluation of technical and vocational education in the hopes of contributing to the needs of the industry and local job market.
Students and parents may visit websites www.ibte.edu.bn and www.pb.edu.bn to gain further insight.
Speaking further on the technical education, Dr Haji Mohd Zamri bin Haji Sabli, Acting Director of IBTE, said not all students are inclined towards academic environment, as some are more inclined towards hands on or practical environment.
He said one of the strategic ways to make the programmes appeal to students is to align the curriculum with the industry requirements as well as job opportunities, so that they are marketable and employable.
Speaking further on NQF (national qualification framework), Hajah Anis Faudzulani said there are eight levels of post-secondary education under the Brunei Darussalam NQF; NQF Level 1 is pre ISQ level; level 2 is ISQ; level 3 is NTec; level 4 is HNTec; level 5 is Diploma; level 6 is degree; level 7 and 8 are postgraduate studies.
Denis Ho Mun Tai, Director of Politeknik Brunei, explained another important aspect of offering the diploma (currently called Advanced Diploma at PB and equivalent to HND).
He said other than offering the diploma to those who obtained five credits in O-Level and above, those who had failed to progress beyond A-Level may also opt to go for a diploma course in PB. Therefore, it opens up further opportunities to obtain technical education for the sake of employability.
Denis said the Diploma in Health Sciences (which is Level 4 NDF), for instance, is a special one, an arrangement between PB and the Ministry of Health.