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 Chancellor of Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB), yesterday consented to officiate the 9th UTB Convocation Ceremony at the Plenary Hall of the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Berakas.
His Royal Highness Prince (Dr) Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, the Pro-Chancellor of UTB was also present.
His Majesty and His Royal Highness were greeted upon arrival by Minister of Education and Chairman of the UTB Council Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman; UTB Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr Hajah Zohrah binti Haji Sulaiman; and UTB Registrar and Secretary Lim Chui Hua.
The event began with a recitation of Surah Al-Fatihah led by State Mufti Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia Dr Ustaz Haji Awang Abdul Aziz bin Juned.
This was followed by the procession of the Chancellor into the Plenary Hall led by the mace-bearer holding aloft the Mushaf Al-Quran.
Prior to the speech by the vice-chancellor, a recitation of Verses 190-195 of Surah Al-Imran was recited by graduate from the Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering Awangku Yura Alif bin Pengiran Yusofe.
Interpretations from the verses were read by graduate from the Masters of Science (Hons) in Management and Technology Muhammad Khaliq Syafiq bin Md Don.
The vice-chancellor said UTB has shortened all the degree programmes except for engineering and have begun offering four new programmes – agrotechnology (minor in business); communication; fashion design and technology; and mathematical finance.
Responses for all these programmes have been encouraging and UTB will continue to regularly assess the suitability of its programmes to ensure they are relevant and contribute to human resource development in the Sultanate.
Professor Dr Hajah Zohrah also highlighted accreditations from professional and international bodies, generating interests among students and employers.
The degree programme in computing and information system (coursework) has been partially accredited Chartered Engineer Professional (CITP) and Chartered Engineer (CEng) from the British Computer Society, an accredited institute and international professional body for practitioners of information technology and computer science.
The vice-chancellor expressed gratitude for His Majesty’s consent to upgrade the electric and electronic laboratory on campus. It is now equipped with digital equipment to improve the teaching and learning environment.
Professor Dr Hajah Zohrah said UTB has ensured the recruitment of quality staff and instilling professional ethics among its members by implementing and updating several policy and guidelines.
These include UTB Scholar’s Award for those with potentials to be inserted as academicians; sabbatical leave for local academic staff to ensure effectiveness to bring about research productivity; UTB fund alignment process; and the external work and consultancy policy guidelines to be more systematic.
The university also provides opportunities for staff to upgrade their professional skills locally and abroad. However, she said, the second and third COVID-19 waves have brought challenges, affecting research, student exchange programmes and activities with the community.
UTB sees this as an opportunity to speed up digital transformation in its administration; review teaching and learning deliveries, studies and involvement of stakeholders to make UTB as a pandemic-proof university; and prepare for uncertainties in the future, she said.
Following the titah, the monarch presented certificates to six Doctor of Philosophy graduates, 78 Master’s Degree graduates and 339 Bachelor’s Degree graduates.
Among the graduates was the son of Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Amal Jefriah, Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Anak Muhammad Abdul Qayyum bin Pengiran Sura Negara Pengiran Anak Haji Muhammad Bey Muntassir. Her Royal Highness was accompanied by her children.
A Doa Selamat, read by the State Mufti, marked the conclusion of the ceremony.