THE Hassanal Bolkiah Arabic Boys Secondary School (SMALHB) marks its 50th anniversary today. The foundation stone laying ceremony was held on September 24, 1964 by Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien.
Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien in his titah during the foundation laying ceremony said, “With the establishment of religious secondary school, it fulfils the aspiration of students furthering their studies after having passed their religious primary school studies.
“It is the government’s aspiration for Islam, which has become the official religion in Brunei, to expand and bring happiness together with benefits to the Muslims. Such higher education would give true meaning to the objective stated in the constitution – making Islam as the official religion in Brunei.”
The school was established on March 1, 1966, with the first intake of 46 male students and was temporarily placed at the Madrasah building of the Religious Affairs Department before SMALHB was completed in May 1967.
Initially, the school used to accommodate male and female students from Form One to Form Five and they only sat for internal school examinations. The first head of teachers was Ustaz Sonhadji bin Muhammad Milatu (1966-1967).
In 1968, the Primary Certificate of Education exam was introduced followed by the Malaysian Certificate of Education exam in 1970. SMALHB then established the Lower and Upper Sixth Form Centre in 1982 and students took two types of examination, namely Higher Religious Education Certificate and BC GCE ‘A’ level.
SMALHB fully became a Sixth Form Centre (for men and women) in 1990 after the students from preparatory until upper secondary levels were transferred to Mahad Islam Brunei in the same year.
With the advancement in technology, SMALHB too has introduced modern developments such as providing the school with a science lab installed with the latest equipment to meet the needs of students taking the science stream which has seen an increasing trend year after year. However, the Arabic stream comprising Usuluddin, Syariah and Lughah is still the main focus in the education system of the school.
At present, SMALHB has 178 male and female students for Pre-U2 as well as 202 male and female students for Pre-U1. After 50 years since its establishment, SMALHB continues to give the best in terms of religious education as aspired by the Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien.
It is also the vision of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam to make the country a Zikir Nation through Islamic education, right from the primary to tertiary level.