A number of donors – including the Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) alumni, the 673 Cycling Club, corporate and individual donors – have contributed to funds that will help UBD students currently facing challenges to online education.
The funds will be used to provide subsidies for data top-ups and SIM cards for mobile Internet connection, particularly for students without fixed broadband at home. UBD is also lending its students computers for use to further support their online education.
Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Corporate and Administration) of UBD Hajah Rubiah binti Haji Yacub lauded the support from the UBD alumni. She noted, “Their generous contribution, along with their ongoing support, goes a long way and is paramount in ensuring the continuity of education during these trying times. We in UBD, would like to thank all our alumni, the 673 Cycling Club, corporate and individual donors for this kind and sincere gesture and concern for education of our youth.”
Within three days of Brunei’s first imported COVID-19 case on March 9, all lectures and tutorials at UBD went fully online, in an effort to prioritise the health and safety of the UBD community. The university decided that all assessments that require students to be physically present at campus will be replaced with alternative assessments to evaluate learning outcomes of the programmes. They include various coursework and online examinations.
UBD has also taken into account discussions with professional organisations and accreditation bodies such as ABET (Engineering), AACSB (Accounting) and partner medical schools (Medicine) for related professional programmes. Taking into account changes to assessments, the semester has been extended by a week, which means the start of exams will be moved from April 27 to May 4.
“Alhamdulillah, UBD had already begun online learning for several years and we were prepared to go fully online if COVID-19 was detected in Brunei, hence the transition to having lectures and tutorials fully online was relatively smooth,” said Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Academic Affairs) of UBD Pengiran Dr Mohammad Iskandar bin Pengiran Haji Petra, adding, “However, not all our students have Internet access in their homes, and we have to find ways to ensure no student is left behind.”