Focus on further strengthening Brunei, Indonesia education ties

Lyna Mohamad

Avenues to develop multifaceted bilateral cooperation between Brunei and Indonesian universities such as joint research cooperation in agriculture, environment, energy and infrastructure were among the matters explored at the recent sharing sessions between the Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia and lecturers from local higher education institutions.

Some of the ongoing/completed research projects to date include the smart farming project between Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB), Telkom University and Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) and Bridge Infrastructure monitoring project between Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD), UTB, Telkom University, Bandung Institute of Technology and Warwick University.

The delegation of six Indonesian professors made up of lecturers from UBD and UTB led by Deputy Dean (Research) Faculty of Engineering of UTB Professor Dr Yulfian Aminanda was received by Indonesian Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam Dr Sujatmiko for the session at the embassy last week.

Accompanying the Ambassador were staff members from the economic, consular, defence, labour, political, and social and culture divisions at the embassy. “We are eager to listen to insights on how to further enhance bilateral cooperation between Indonesia and Brunei particularly from the perspective of academics who have gained wide experience by working both in Indonesia and Brunei and who understand the potentials and challenges involved in developing this cooperation,” Dr Sujatmiko said in his welcoming remarks.

During the sharing session, Dina Shona Laila from UTB underlined the need for more scholarships to entice Bruneian students to study in Indonesia and vice versa.

Embassy staff and lecturers in a group photo. PHOTO: LYNA MOHAMAD

This, she pointed out, is through the promotion of Indonesian universities scholarships and the inclusion of Bruneian universities in the list of destination countries in the Indonesian Education Endowment Fund scholarship.

Also discussed at the meeting was the empowerment of the Indonesian community in Brunei through vocational education provided by possible collaboration with Universitas Terbuka, an Indonesian distance-learning institution. The possibility of an industrial certification programme for workers who intend to upgrade their qualification was also among the matters highlighted.

Indonesia and Brunei have intense education cooperation marked by frequent visits for representatives from Indonesian universities and higher education institutions to Bruneian universities as well as the large number of Bruneian students taking their Discovery Year in Indonesia. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it put many ongoing cooperations on hiatus and put possible cooperation schemes on hold.

The sharing session heralded the convening of further meetings between the ambassador and the lecturers to discuss in greater detail the subjects touched upon in this preliminary meeting.