Schools must adapt to changing world

James Kon

Schools must respond and adapt quickly to the unpredictable and fast-changing education landscape, said Minister of Education Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman yesterday.

“The nature of work and job market is everchanging thus the demand for a highly skilled workforce is growing amid for new emerging and disruptive technologies. This scenario has strong implications for education curriculum, teaching and learning, and assessment. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the education sector to develop the children of today to succeed, as both members of society and as employees in the digital era,” he said.

The minister made these remarks at the opening ceremony and launch of The Guidebook for Brunei Darussalam School Leadership Standards and Competency Framework at the International Convention Centre (ICC).

He also stressed that children must possess numeracy and literacy skills as well as the ability to understand and adapt to the new and uncertain world ahead.

“We need different capacities within our education system – new ways of working together, new capabilities and new mindsets. We must continue to develop our human resources – school leaders and teachers – towards a common set of outcomes. They have to be prepared to develop a Bruneian generation that is truly ready for the jobs that are yet to be known and for a better future,” Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah said.

The minister said school leaders play a crucial role in supporting the teachers in improving the quality of teaching and learning.

“A teacher should be able to teach students not merely academically, but also skills and competencies such as problem solving, adaptability, resilience, innovation, creativity, critical thinking, and decision-making,” Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah said.

When technologies, skills and capabilities are changing so rapidly, he said, “the challenge is always whether we are able to teach and transfer those skills to our students as quickly as possible before they begin their jobs and careers. Therefore, school leaders and teachers must be creative, innovative and continue to equip themselves with the relevant knowledge and competencies of the 21st Century education”.

He said the Brunei Darussalam School Leadership Standards are essential to the development of effective leadership for current and aspiring school leaders.

These standards are supported by the Leadership Competency Framework that has given explicit leadership competencies that school leaders require to create and sustain effective leadership and learning environments, Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah said.

“Moving forward, I am pleased to note that this convention will look into the development of the Guidelines for the 21st Century Skills Implementation in Schools and the Blended Learning Framework. You all will be updated on the latest progress on the Learning Support Programme and others that we discussed and co-created in previous years. All of these initiatives represent the Ministry of Education’s strong commitment in strengthening the quality of teaching and learning in our schools by providing guidance and support for the school leaders in the delivery of 21st Century curriculum.”

On the ministry’s priority, the minister said, “our students’ achievement and well-being remain our top priority. And this can only be materialised with strong and sustainable leadership in school”.

The COVID-19 pandemic, he said, has affected everyone globally, and “this includes our schools, our teachers, our children and the community as a whole. As school leaders, you have the vital role of ensuring not only the safety and well-being of your schools, teachers and students but also ensuring your instructional leadership role remains a top priority while adapting to these challenges. With the new normal, school leaders have gone the extra mile as to maintain the quality of delivery of our education”.

Despite the challenges, the minister believed that “we can look back on the past year with hope and purpose. The significant accomplishment of our students in the Primary School Assessment, GCE ‘O’ and ‘A’ Levels examinations in 2020 entail great stories. These achievements are an affirmation that the great efforts of our school leaders and teachers in these many years have turned into the desired outcomes. School leaders and teachers have also been able to sustain the school ethos and environment needed during the pandemic. Most importantly, apart from academic performance, our students have shown their resilience and ability to cope with and adapt to the new norms in education.”