Syazwani Hj Rosli
As a knowledge hub, Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) cannot escape the current challenges brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0), which has drastically changed people’s life patterns and the world of employment, said His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in a titah yesterday.
His Majesty delivered the titah as Chancellor of UNISSA, on the occasion of the university’s 9th Hafl Al-Takharruj (Convocation Ceremony), at the International Convention Centre in Berakas.
“To meet these challenges, UNISSA should be well-informed in terms of providing and offering study programmes. It is important that these programmes are designated as being able to meet current needs and adaptable to digital transformation, without abandoning their primary role in producing credible Islamic scholars,” said His Majesty.
“In these circumstances, UNISSA is truly unique. It stands out among other higher educational institutions, and its character and goals are also different. It is due to this that I do not feel the urgency to pursue current world rankings, which are based on other people’s concepts and their own standards of excellence.”
“Authentic levels of excellence are not necessarily determined by a single community or nation, and it should be the right of more than one party to make those decisions.
“The pursuit of excellence is essential, and we must not cease to work towards that. In the case of UNISSA, show your excellence. Establish standards of excellence through academic works of lecturers and students by having them produce a steady output of books, research materials and scientific articles for publication in international journals.”
“We already have an abundance of resources available at UNISSA. It is up to us to make use of them.”
Citing some of the programmes offered by UNISSA which include Syariah Law and Legislation, Usuluddin and Business Manage-ment, His Majesty said, “These are all resources. Not only should they be studied as academic majors, but they can be adapted into books, documents, research material or articles.
“It is my conviction that if such is the cultural norm at UNISSA, then it is a measure of excellence that makes UNISSA all the more eligible for a ranking.
“At present, there is not even a single view that Islamic institutions of higher learning are irrelevant.
“In fact, there are valid views which place higher Islamic studies or education as a fundamental need which should not be neglected, because from that the perfect civilisation is born.
“It is my belief that Islamic studies and learning must be constantly empowered, as they are the quintessence of all substantive issues that can greatly benefit both the people and the country.”
His Majesty then referred to UNISSA’s Strategic Plan of 2019-2023, stating, “It is my hope that this plan will improve the quality of studies on offer and produce high-quality research, while providing excellent services and administration. These are the three elements that must be present at UNISSA.”