| Achong Tanjong |
THE spotlight was yesterday cast on Universiti Brunei Darussalam’s (UBD) ‘Discovery Year in Asean member countries’ during an educational talk held in conjunction with the Asean@50 Exhibition at the International Convention Centre.
UBD Deputy Director of Global Relations Dr Sabrina binti Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Daud explained that the Discovery Year (DY) programme offers students a host of choices to acquire firsthand experience outside of the university. Students embark on the programme during their third year, engaging in two semesters of DY activities accumulating 32 modular credits (MCS).
Broad options are available for students during their ‘DY – Study Abroad Programme,’ namely, i) Gain academic knowledge at an established international university over two semesters, ii) Incubation – Spend one semester developing a potential business idea and transforming it into a final product/service for a potential target market, iii) Internship – Spend a semester working full time at an organisation locally and abroad; and iv) Community Outreach – Spend one semester engaged in a non-profit community project aimed at reaching out to the needy community.
UBD has over 95 partner universities across 18 different countries, with 35 partner universities in Asean member countries for the DY Study Abroad programme.
Dr Sabrina pointed out that the DY (2011 – 2017) to seven Asean countries had seen the participation of up to 2,000 students. Students opted for Malaysia (making up 26 per cent) given the similarity in culture and religion; followed by Indonesia at 14 per cent. The activities are 67 per cent study aboard, 17 per cent internship and 16 per cent community outreach programmes.
UBD’s DY Internship is with Asean University Network (AUN) Secretariat, Thailand; SEAMEO Secretariat, Thailand; Asean Secretariat, Indonesia; Mercy Relief, Singapore; and Heartware Network, Singapore.
The DY Community Outreach partners with Indo-China Starfish Foundation, Cambodia, FPT University, Vietnam, Universiti Malaysia Kelantan, Malaysia, Surin Rajabhat University, Thailand and Universitas Airlangga, Indonesia.
For the DY Incubation, students were exposed to multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary enterprising projects such as start-up companies and developing alternative energy – powered cars.
UBD has eight academic faculties, eight research institutes and two support centres. It notched a major milestone this year for breaking into the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings, attaining a creditable 349th rank.
With over 26,000 universities in the world, QS has placed UBD among the top 1.3 per cent of universities worldwide. UBD is one of only 13 universities in Southeast Asia to be ranked in the Top 400 in the world.
It is a massive achievement for the 32-year-old university, which made headlines the first year it participated in the QS Asia university rankings in 2014.
UBD has become one of the fastest rising universities in 2015, when it leapt 57 places to an overall ranking of 118 in the region.
UBD developed an innovative and broad-based GenNEXT curriculum, with emphasis on producing adaptable and entrepreneurial future-ready graduates with a passion for life-long learning.
Recently, UBD opened the Centre for Lifelong learning, offering a degree in Digital Economy, and introducing more pathways for higher education for mature students and the community.
While the rankings attest to its growing international reputation, UBD remains fully committed to its primary mission of producing highly-educated and industry relevant students with the necessary skills and expertise for the nation’s future workforce and in supporting the Brunei Vision 2035.
UBD faculties and research institutes have focussed on key areas of research relevant to Brunei Darussalam; Energy Studies, Biodiversity and the Environment, Islamic Studies, including Islamic Governance and Asian Studies. For the first time, UBD is now ranked as a ‘high’ research intensive university by QS.
UBD will continue to strive towards becoming a world class university and fulfil its primary mission of producing highly-educated and well-trained students with the necessary skills for the workforce and nation building.
Invited students from schools across the country attended the educational talk.
Meanwhile, Dr Paul Ong of National University of Singapore (NUS) pointed out in his talk that NUS is a leading global university centered in Asia. It is Singapore’s flagship university offering a global approach to education and research with focus on Asian perspective and expertise.