The reality of life after graduation – from the oversaturated job market to creating self-opportunity for survival – means that local tertiary institutions need to play a bigger role and prepare students by providing a holistic and conducive learning environment.
With this in mind, Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) through its faculty and schools incorporated dynamic curriculums and programmes which not only focus on meeting the challenges of the changing environment but also provide students with skills and knowledge beyond academia.
This provides opportunities that tackle the needs and demands of the Industrial Revolution 4.0 and indirectly prepares UTB students to be marketable and independent.
Incorporating dynamic and internationally recognised curriculum
Dean of School of Computing and Informatics (SCI) Dr Mohammad Saiful bin Haji Omar said to prepare students and cope with the rapid advancement of technology and knowledge, the school is incorporating dynamic curriculum by conducting a computing degree with flexible majors.
“This approach will help increase graduate employability, where the student is equipped with general computing knowledge and skills to enter any ICT-related job market, ” he said.
He added with the accreditation of SCI programmes from the British Computing Society (BCS), United Kingdom (UK), it provides an international benchmark for the students and the opportunity to apply for professional membership of BCS (MBCS) and a progression pathway to professional registration by fulfilling (either partially or fully) the academic requirements for CITP, CEng, CSci or IEng statuses which opens up wider professional opportunities for the graduates locally and internationally.
Dean of Faculty of Engineering Dr Hajah Ena Kartina binti Haji Abdul Rahman said, “The programmes we offer at the faculty are designed to meet the accreditation standards of the Engineering Council, UK (ECUK). Although the faculty has attained accreditation from the Joint Board of Moderators for its degree programmes offered by the Civil Engineering programme area, we also plan to obtain accreditation for all our other engineering programmes. ECUK is a signatory to the Washington Accord, which enables recognition of qualifications accredited by its signatories worldwide. This will allow our graduates to be recognised internationally, hence opening up doors to work in relevant engineering fields not only in the country but overseas as well.
“With the accredited programmes, we want our graduates to be able to walk confidently into many other career pathways and opportunities beyond engineering fields,” she added.
By incorporating entrepreneurial and independent learner skills in the curriculum, Dean of School of Design Dr Ahmad Syamaizar bin Haji Ahmad Sabli believes that it will help students to think creatively and solve problems effectively which will eventually help them survive and adapt to situations, especially after graduation.
Providing students with real world-on-the job situations
UTB has taken measures to ensure their students are well equipped for the reality of work life.
Students are also given the opportunity for work attachment and internship through UTB ExperiencePLUS to further enhance their industrial readiness.
“It is compulsory for our students to undergo UTB ExperiencePLUS during their four-year undergraduate programme at UTB. This programme will allow the students to enrich their academic experience and life skills; encourage them to strive for professional work ethics through real-life work experience. It is also a good opportunity for them to experience working in a local and international universities or industries,” said Dr Hajah Ena Kartina.
Dr Hajah Ena Kartina also added that the university also employs and invites credible experienced and industry-background professionals to teach at the university to provide first-hand knowledge to its students.
“The faculty has been encouraging our academic members to work very closely with industries, through research and other projects. We have also been inviting engineers and practitioners to share their experience and knowledge in the field to our engineering students through series of lectures and discussions,” she added.
Promoting Synergy between UTB and Stakeholders
Sharing industry know-how certainly has an impact in producing work-ready graduates. UTB is no stranger to this practice as it also works very closely with relevant industries to prepare its students for the workforce.
“The school is modernising its learning processes by bringing close industrial practice through co-creation content between industry experts and academic,” said Dr Mohammad Saiful. “This initiative will help to bridge the qualification gap and ensure SCI graduates are industry ready. It will be implemented through blended learning approaches with relevant local and international industry partners,” he added.
He also explained that the blended platform can also be used to supplement the existing curriculum and lifelong learning for the public and employees for reskilling and upskilling to support the National Digital Economy Masterplan, specifically on the Manpower and Talent Development needs.
Dean of the two-year-old School of Design Dr Ahmad Syamaizar said the School of Design is planning to work hand in hand with the Board of Architects, Professional Engineers and Quantity Surveyors (BAPEQS) and other regulatory bodies for professional qualifications.
“With these professional qualifications, the graduates will be highly sought after by the industries,” he added.
Developing 3600+ Graduates
Dr Hajah Ena Kartina explained that at the institution, the overall nature of engineering programmes equips the graduates with skills and abilities in science, mathematics, ICT, programming, problem-solving, handling technical uncertainties, communication, team-working, analysis and design, working within the economic, legal, social, ethical and environmental contexts as well as developing self-learning and lifelong learning abilities.
“Engineering is fundamentally about problem-solving and multi-tasking. Due to this reason we are able to prepare our students to not only work in the engineering fields, but also in others, for example, banking and finance; management and consulting,” said Dr Hajah Ena Kartina. For Product Design, the dean is confident that the modules and skills taught under the programme will be able to help graduates open new types of industry as they are able to design products or services adapting to the population needs.
In line with the government’s Vision 2035 to achieve educated, highly skilled and accomplished people through provision of education opportunities, UTB strives to equip its graduates with quality education, industrial experience and other added values to prepare and provide them with a competitive edge in today’s saturated job market in the Sultanate and overseas.