Quality education, key to achieve Brunei Vision 2035 goals, says minister

Wani Roslan

Quality education will produce students with good moral character, self-esteem, critical thinking abilities and capacity to meet the challenges of technological, social and economic advancement, said Minister of Education Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman in his welcoming address at the 29th Teacher’s Day Celebration 2019 at the Plenary Hall of the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Berakas yesterday.

He explained on various strategic initiatives, actions and key outcomes to achieve quality educational aspirations for students’ excellence that are being carried out under the Ministry of Education (MoE) Strategic Plan 2018-2022.

“This is in line with the National Key Performance Indicators for the MoE to achieve Brunei Vision 2035’s goals of producing well-educated and highly skilled people, and the production of an equitable education system which includes quality of teachers, students and schools; providing comprehensive educational opportunities and excellent human resource development,” he said.

The minister shared that the criteria, recruitment process and selection of teachers are being updated to ensure that they are qualified, and the processes will be more systematic, comprehensive and effective. He also said that the important factor when hiring a teacher is to look for an individual who has high passion, high motivation in producing outstanding generation that possesses values of identity and adherence to the Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB) principle, in accordance with Brunei Vision 2035.

The minister also highlighted the contract in implementation of the Literacy and Numeracy Coaching Programme (LNCP) which began in August 2016 and ended in June 2019, saying that now the programme is fully implemented by the MoE.

He shared that 149 local teachers completed a one year course to become coaches in English Language and Mathematics, and the number exceeds the initial target of 120 people.

Minister of Education Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman speaks during the 29th Teacher’s Day Celebration 2019 at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Berakas, yesterday. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR

“The coaches have taken over the task of the International Coaches in guiding English Language and Mathematics in primary and secondary schools across the country,” he said.

“There are 30 more English Language and Mathematics teachers undergoing training to be coaches and approximately another 130 are planned to be trained within the next five years to meet the goal of providing a literacy coach and numeracy coach in every government school.

“All of these are to ensure the continuity and sustainability of the LNCP programme aimed to achieve the highest teaching quality in English Language and Mathematics in the country,” he added.

Highlighting on the skills needed in 21st Century as well as preparing our generation to meet the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the minister underlined that MoE is in the process of developing ‘Digital Literacy Standards and Cultural Literacy Standard’ in SPN-21 curriculum.

He also said that strengthening education of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) is also given priority to enhance the competitiveness in science and technology and the capacity of teachers in implementation of technology-based teaching.

At the higher education level, the minister said that efforts are carried out to ensure the delivery of high quality education, in polytechnics and universities aligned with the needs of the industry and the job market for skilled, competitive, resilient, innovative and entrepreneurial.

Emphasising on the country’s human resources, the minister said that providing a lifelong learning platform is a top priority in ensuring that the human resources are always relevant and capable of tracking the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“In this regard, institutions of higher education in Brunei are actively pursuing lifelong learning efforts by establishing centres offering not only academic courses but courses on life skills and knowledge on Al-Quran and Fiqh as offered at Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA),” said the minister.

The MoE is constantly seeking the support and continuous advice of stakeholders in improving the quality of education in the country. “Their involvement and cooperation, especially of parents and non-government organisations, will be enhanced for addressing socio-economic issues for the well-being of students,” said the minister.