Despite the COVID-19 outbreak impacting various sectors, education included, the Ministry of Education (MoE) will continue to implement efforts to uphold the quality of education in the country.
This full commitment was underscored by Minister of Education Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman as guest of honour at the 7th Politeknik Brunei (PB) Convocation Ceremony at the International Convention Centre yesterday.
“The world is still struggling with the outbreak, which has dealt challenges to various aspects of our lives. The Sultanate was not spared, with the pandemic impacting many sectors, among them, education.
“Alhamdulillah, under the wise leadership of 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, the Sultanate has moved into the Early Endemic Phase and we have integrated new norms into our daily lives,” he said.
By adopting a whole of nation approach, the MoE – through public and private higher learning institutions such as PB and working closely with relevant stakeholders – will “Insya Allah be able to produce high quality graduates who are resilient and dynamic, in line with Brunei Vision 2035”, he said.
Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah pointed out that PB has been actively implementing efforts to further improve the quality of teaching and learning to help students adapt to new norms.
Among the initiatives is the use of PB Learning Management System (LMS) and PB Virtual Learning Experience, enabling students to access learning and teaching online. This makes teaching and learning more interesting, unique and interactive.
To meet the need for deep hybrid learning in the new norm, the minister said, “The PB Hybrid-Flexible (HyFlex) Blended Teaching and Learning pilot project is a course delivery model that enables teaching and learning to be implemented online, which is face to face in a synchronised physical location.”
Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah welcomed the move, viewing it as an initiative to improve existing PB programmes. He also expressed hopes that other educational institutions will integrate technology to meet the requirements of the new norm.
Acknowledging that the PB teaching staff and students were frontline volunteers at clinical centres and the National COVID-19 Vaccination Programmes at national vaccination centres, the minister said, “The experience gained will be highly beneficial. It gives them the chance to practice pure values and affords them new experiences which may not be obtainable in the lecture room. Additionally, it allows for network building which will prove useful when a student completes his course.”
As the only polytechnic in Brunei Darussalam, the minister said, “PB plays a significant role in providing quality human resources to support the development and socio-economic progress of the country.
“PB needs to target initiatives under the Politeknik Brunei Development Plan 2021-2025 in line with the Ministry of Education Strategic Plan 2018-2022; Digital Economy Masterplan 2025 and the Economic Blueprint with the main foundation being to achieve the Brunei Vision 2035 goals,” the minister said.