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Brunei
Monday, November 28, 2022
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Brunei
Monday, November 28, 2022
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    Ensuring the best future for children

    Danial Norjidi

    Guaranteeing the best future for children is a shared responsibility, and all levels of society have an important role to play in safeguarding the rights and well-being of children in this country, said Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Nazmi bin Haji Mohamad.

    In a message delivered in conjunction with World Children’s Day 2022 which was celebrated on November 20, the minister said, “The celebration of World Children’s Day is one of the country’s efforts towards its commitment under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and to increase the spirit of unity and awareness amongst the community on the rights of children under the age of 18, regardless of status and religion, be protected from all types of violence, to develop healthily and receive education in order to reach their fullest potential.

    “Hence, any individual found to have committed crimes against children will receive the appropriate punishment in accordance to the law in Brunei Darussalam, regardless of who they are.

    “Through these rights, it is hoped that it will provide a bright future for children and will also lead to progress in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

    The minister noted that according to the Report of the Preliminary Count of Total Population 2021, children and young people under the age of 18 comprise 25 per cent of Brunei Darussalam’s total population.

    He highlighted that in order to ensure that children are able to live safely and enjoy quality of life, it is important for the child protection ecosystem to be more holistic and sustainable even when the world faces new challenges or developments.

    “Therefore, all levels of society have an important role to play in safeguarding the rights and well-being of children in this country. We need to realise, guaranteeing the best future for children is a shared responsibility and not to be borne only by parents; so protecting children starts from the family, followed by the community, government and non-government institutions and whole of nation, in line with international commitments.”

    “Towards this, national efforts have been organised through a whole-of-nation and holistic action plan, through the Plan of Action on the Wellbeing of Children 2020-2024, under the National Council of Social Issues. Apart from the initiatives in this Plan of Action, we also appreciate the support and assistance from various non-governmental agencies that work hand-in-hand to implement welfare programmes for children.”

    The minister noted that COVID-19 has not lessened the impact on these efforts, but did also result in some wisdom, including the unity from the community and volunteers which he said was encouraging and strongly felt.

    In addition, the range of online services offered raised awareness of the role of technology in providing convenience to the community, he shared.

    “For example, in June 2022, the Bantuan Keperluan Persekolahan Tahunan (BKPT) previously known as the Skim Miftaahun Najaah (SMN) has been integrated into the National Welfare System (SKN), in order to align the welfare delivery system in Brunei Darussalam. This will align and facilitate management of applicants who need assistance, to be more organised.”

    He further mentioned that during the Early Endemic Phase, the Siuknya Ke Sekolah programme was carried out in several government primary schools across the country to raise enthusiasm and motivation of children who had just started face-to-face learning sessions. At the secondary schools and college level, a buddy system was also established, through the Pembimbing Rakan Sebaya (PRS) to help teachers and school counsellors to conduct mentoring and counselling programmes and services.

    “Another ongoing programme carried out by the Department of Schools is the SINAR programme, an early prevention programme to deter influences by negative behaviours and matters that can affect academic performance and children’s future, and was conducted in 18 secondary schools in March 2022 and several secondary schools and colleges in June 2022.

    “Alhamdulillah, the At-TabarruBil Khairaat programme has also been held for the eighth time by the Islamic Studies Department, to provide assistance to selected technical and vocational Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE) students. This programme also aims to expose students to community service and to realise the spirit of concern and determination to care for the well-being of the community. This also reflects that Brunei Darussalam always provides opportunities to the community, regardless of age, status and background to contribute positively to the future of the community, especially children.”

    Referring to the National Framework on Child Protection (NFCP) which was launched in 2020, the minister said, “Alhamdulillah the implementation plan is being actively carried out with the continuation of training sessions with stakeholders as well as capacity building; publication; translation as well as the establishment of the online Portal: Register of Children and Young Persons in Need of Protection (RCYPNP) which was launched on May 16, 2022 for the first phase.

    “The RCYPNP portal is to assist agencies involved in child protection in the identification of children and young people in need of protection and to facilitate and aid inter-agency communication and information sharing.

    Alhamdulillah, the new home shelter at the Welfare Home Complex, Community Development Department (JAPEM) has been completed to ensure the well-being of all children in this country will continue to be maintained regardless of their background. Insya Allah, this new shelter will ensure a more comfortable and conducive environment for residents to develop, especially children who need protection.”

    In his message, he also shared that the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports through JAPEM has planned several events to further enliven World Children’s Day Celebrations, in collaboration with various partners, such as the Department of Schools, the Department of Private Education, the Department of Special Education, the Islamic Studies Department, the Institut Tahfiz Al-Quran Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah (ITQSHHB), the Brunei Youth Council (BYC), the Council for the Welfare of Persons with Different Abilities (MKOKU), the Project Women Brunei, MyActionForSDGS, Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI) and Brunei Computer Emergency Response Team (BruCERT).

    “Insya Allah, what is intended is to raise awareness and cultivate the life skills that children need for the future and introduce the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as provide a platform for children to share their opinions and ideas.

    “Children are the most valuable assets towards achieving progress and a sustainable and high-quality future for a country, and are expected to create a society that can contribute to development and will inherit the country’s leadership,” highlighted the minister.

    “The government will continue to formulate strategies, policies and programmes for the well-being and development of children, while parents, families, neighbours, communities and strategic partners are called upon to continue to work together to ensure that our children will be protected and guided, to remain resilient in the face of future challenges.

    The minister concluded, “Let us all work together to achieve a better future for every child in this country.”

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