Despite the challenges dealt by the COVID-19 pandemic, Religious Teachers University College of Seri Begawan (KUPU SB) has remained committed to providing quality education to students and the community.
The Bulletin caught up with a handful of graduates at the recent 11th KUPU SB convocation to learn of their journey to success.
Zeti Yusmira binti Jaludin, a graduate who received her PhD in Religious Teaching (Education) shared her experience, noting that the unwavering support and motivation from her family “was a major backbone for my strength”.
At the same time, she said that blessings and the understanding afforded by her husband and parents allowed for the completion of her doctorate.
“When you attain blessings from loved ones, it further encourages you, fuelling that enthusiasm to acquire greater knowledge.
“Alhamdulillah, apart from that, the success is also attributed to the solid support from our lecturers, supervisors as well as academic course participation that enabled me to obtain a more tangible experience in conducting research,” she said.
Meanwhile, Norfazayatullah Mafshah, a recipient of a Postgraduate Diploma in Religious Teaching, said she intends to share her newly-acquired knowledge “for the good of the nation and community”, should she be presented the opportunity to serve in education.
She views this as a one of the social responsibilities entrusted upon her to help achieve the Brunei Vision 2035 aspirations, which include ensuring a well-educated and highly-skilled populace.
“One of the ways to cultivate that trust is by being eager to learn, as learning is a life-long process. Islam highly upholds and glorifies knowledge, strongly encouraging people to be knowledgeable.”
Detailing her KUPU SB experience, Norfazayatullah said various educational methods are applied to develop students’ potential, including the use of information technology (IT) and the latest teaching techniques. Students also undergo teaching attachment at schools, government departments and the private sector to acquire exposure.
In terms of challenges, she said, “The pandemic brought numerous obstacles, forcing everyone to carry out online learning and teaching sessions. Despite all that, knowledge, skills and training as well as experience are among key aspects crucial for teachers to acquire in educating the nation.”
Also sharing his thoughts was Pengiran Fakhrul Syakirin bin Pengiran Haji Zainuddin, a graduate in Special Certificate in Teaching, who said, “Alhamdulillah, at that time I was juggling between being a student, a father of two, and a teacher at the RBAF Religious Directorate at the Ministry of Defence. Good time management was paramount to ensure I was able to complete the tasks given by the lecturers.
“Being the only one pursuing the course, it was indeed a challenge as I had to seek others to obtain information, on top of having to join different years of students and courses.
Pengiran Fakhrul Syakirin added, “The opportunity to work with others and having the support of my wife and family, lecturers and friends contributed to the success I have achieved. Allah the Almighty’s blessings in easing my every step made me stronger and determined to achieve my goals.”
Meanwhile, international student from Pattani, Thailand Surainee Niloh is a graduate with a Master’s in Religious Research Studies in Ahli Sunnah Wal Jama’ah. She shared that before pursuing master’s degree, she had already completed her Bachelor’s at KUPU SB.
The fact that Brunei Darussalam practises the teachings of Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah is one of the reasons she opted postgraduate studies in the Sultanate.
“Undeniably, every step we take comes with challenges and obstacles. For us students, it is part of our path to dig for greater knowledge. At the same time, it pushed us to be more determined, persistent and consistent in performing our tasks. COVID-19 is one among many challenges that we, as students, have to face, but it does not hinder us in completing our research as well as in driving us to be better motivated,” she added.
Dayangku Nur Baatul Hafizah binti Pengiran Haji Yusof, a graduate in Religious Education with a minor in Al-Quran and As-Sunnah Studies, expressed gratitude at completing her four-year study at KUPU SB, adding that “everyone has faced challenges in their own ways”.
“There are many challenges in the pursuit of knowledge, especially during the pandemic. Staying focussed can prove difficult when it comes to online learning.
“With the skills acquired, such as the teaching techniques taught by our lecturer, Insya Allah, in return I strive to be a skilled, knowledgeable educator who will bring effective teachings,” she said.
As a higher learning institution for religious education in Brunei Darussalam, KUPU SB is responsible for producing pious, virtuous, competitive, knowledgeable, open-minded, highly skilled and committed educators and leaders.