Benefits of collaboration in education highlighted

James Kon

The benefits of collaboration were highlighted during the recent 4th Joint Symposium of Osaka University with Higher Educational Institutions of Brunei Darussalam.

The online symposium was jointly officiated by Permanent Secretary (Higher Education) at the Ministry of Education (MoE) Dr Haji Azman bin Ahmad and Executive Vice President of Osaka University Professor Dr Kawahara Genta.

Dr Haji Azman in his welcoming remarks highlighted how the collaboration has benefitted local universities, in enabling students to experience and gain exposure conducting research at Osaka University through the student exchange programme.

“Bruneian lecturers and researchers were able to access the advance laboratory facilities at Osaka University, where their findings have reached another level of development. This is indeed an important and encouraging achievement,” he said.

“I foresee that this collaboration will have more prospects in the future, and I am happy to learn that the area of collaboration has expanded and the number of participation has increased both at the student level, as well as the lecturer and researcher levels.”

A total of 150 participants joined the symposium, which showcased research findings and the experiences of students who studied at Osaka University.

Permanent Secretary (Higher Education) at the Ministry of Education Dr Haji Azman bin Ahmad during the online symposium. PHOTO: JAMES KON

Three symposiums have been organised, with both parties taking turns to alternate the venue since the establishment of the collaboration.

The collaboration between Osaka University and the higher educational institutions in Brunei Darussalam began in 2017, with the objective of showcasing human resource capabilities in research and innovation, to introduce advance technology, and to explore the potential of the development of new products from the bio-resources and biodiversity of Brunei Darussalam.

Three clusters were identified: Biodiversity, Halal, Nano-technology and ICT, which are led by Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD), Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) and Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB).

The collaboration opens a huge opportunity for Brunei Darussalam to make progress towards producing Halal products including food ingredients, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical products.

Brunei Darussalam, through the universities, can also adapt advanced technology and innovation to enhance local activities towards economic diversification such as the approach towards smart agriculture, using artificial intelligence for monitoring and bio-prospecting,
and bio-energy.

Both parties have been very active in implementing the programmes, including the joint research which is open to lecturers, researchers and students.

The programme enhances the ability of Bruneian researchers by exposing them to advance instrumentations, which results in getting very promising results leading to commercialisation.

The joint research programme also leads to the establishment of a joint laboratory both involving hard science and social sciences.

Another ongoing programme is student exchange under the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO). A few students have been co-sponsored by both universities to do research at Osaka University, where the wide network and connection allow them great exposure and experience.

The study programme is another initiative which can become a platform towards double degrees and eventually joint degrees.

The newly introduced Osaka University International Certificate Programme (OUICP) will give the students the opportunity to study at Osaka University for up to three months, in the areas of their own interest within the three clusters. Their stay in Japan will be sponsored under an Osaka University scholarship.

Among those in attendance at the symposium were the representatives of the Vice-Chancellor of UBD, Rector of UNISSA and Vice-Chancellor of UTB.