Synergising education system reduces educational gap: Princess Masna

Azlan Othman

The constantly changing world induced by increasingly rapid globalisation has brought many distant communities closer together, accompanied by opportunities for international cooperation. Synergising our education system will help reduce the educational gap within our home communities as well as the ASEAN region as a whole, Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna, Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Her Royal Highness made these comments in her sabda at the opening of the 35th ASEAN Council of Teachers (ACT) +1 Convention at Parkview Hotel in Jerudong yesterday.

Her Royal Highness added that what was more important was the personal bond between teachers and students which will build a cohesive professional community.

Since its inauguration in 1979, the convention has provided an important forum for ACT +1 by providing a collaborative space to get to know each other better, renewing old acquaintances, exchanging ideas and sharing best practices, learning tools and skills. This year’s convention ‘Reducing Regional Gap: Mobility of ASEAN Teachers’ supports the ASEAN integration objectives to narrow developmental disparities among ASEAN communities.

Her Royal Highness also emphasised Brunei Darussalam’s commitment to the ASEAN integration objectives, where cohesive educational development is fundamental to the successful achievement of these objectives.

Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna, Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs officiates the launch of the 35th ASEAN Council of Teachers +1 Convention. PHOTOS: RAHWANI ZAHARI
A section of teachers at the event.

Her Royal Highness said Brunei Darussalam, for example, contributes towards improving regional English proficiency through the Brunei-US English Language Enrichment Programme.

“We have sent and continue to send our young teachers to conduct apprenticeship programmes among various ASEAN communities,” Her Royal Highness said.

“Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) is conducting English Language programmes at the UBD-FPT Global Centre in Da Nang Vietnam. In addition, during the 31st ASEAN Summit in Manila in 2017, 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 offered 50 scholarships to ASEAN citizens to study in Brunei universities, as part of our effort to help enhance professional communication skills.

“We all know the importance of empowering our teachers. They play a critical role in shaping the minds of our people, our past generations, and will continue to do so for our future generation. Good teachers are the real resources of good education and our societies’ principal influences,” Her Royal Highness said.

“For these reasons, producing well-educated and highly skilled citizens, and most important of all, producing good people, has been a core component in the country’s national development for over 80 years.”

Her Royal Highness added, “I am therefore humbled by the dedication of all teachers, both in Brunei and in ASEAN, for continuously enhancing and improving our education system – simply to ensure a brighter future for all.”

The convention which began on Friday continues until today.

This year’s convention brings together over 600 participants from teachers’ organisations under the ACT+1 member countries namely Teachers Association of the Republic of Indonesia (PGRI), National Union of the Teaching Profession Malaysia (NUTP), Philippine Public School Teachers Association (PPSTA), Singapore Teachers’ Union (STU), Teachers’ Council of Thailand (KHURUSAPHA), National Education Union of Vietnam (NEUV) and Korean Federation of Teachers’ Association (KFTA), as well as the host country, Brunei Malay Teachers Association (PGGMB).

This year’s theme ‘Reducing Regional Educational Gap: Mobility of ASEAN Teachers’ is focussed on efforts to reduce the educational gap through educational activities, opportunities, cross-cultural competence and cooperation.

The convention is to address these challenges by stimulating discussion, sharing of experiences and best practices among the organisations. The main features of the programme will see presentations of a keynote paper and country reports at the plenary and parallel sessions.

A convention’s report and resolution will be adopted at the end of the two-day convention. This year’s convention marks the 80th anniversary of the establishment of PGGMB and the 40th anniversary of the formation of ACT. It is also being held in conjunction with the 29th National Teacher’s Day celebration.