| James Kon |
UNIVERSITI Brunei Darussalam (UBD) is not only an institution where one comes to get academic qualifications, it’s also the gateway to lifelong learning, innovative education and enterprising research, all of which empower its students to be future-ready leaders.
Acting Vice-Chancellor of UBD Hajah Rubiah binti Haji Yacub highlighted this in her Vice Chancellor’s address to welcome 499 students for the second intake of the 2018/2019 academic year during the annual Freshers’ Week orientation programme, which began at the university’s Chancellor Hall yesterday morning.
The new intake consisted of 18 doctorate, 187 masters, 257 undergraduate (including 146 students who are proceeding to do their undergraduate degrees from the August 2018 UniBridge programme) and nine diploma students.
“In UBD, we are committed to supporting and equipping you with the necessary skills to succeed in life,” Hajah Rubiah said, congratulating the students for their successful admission into the university.
“Over the years, we have developed and refined our GenNext programmes so that you can acquire excellent skills in communication, leadership, critical thinking and reasoning. We have built a diverse team of academics and professionals who are dedicated to deliver to you a platform where you can think innovatively, with creativity, and with a national and global perspective.”
She explained that UBD prides itself on its ‘GenNext Discovery Year’, which offers students who satisfy certain prerequisites the chance to spend a year out of the campus to gain hands-on experience, either through internships, studying abroad, initiating an innovation and incubation project, or being involved in a community outreach programme.
“Discovery Year is designed specifically to enhance your knowledge and competency in specific disciplinary areas. In addition to this, you will be able to receive exposure to knowledge beyond your major discipline,” Hajah Rubiah said.
“The GenNEXT programmes give you the flexibility to design your own curriculum. Only about 55 per cent of the programme is fixed, which means you can tailor the combination of your depth and breadth modules to get exactly what you need and want as you complete your bachelor’s degree.”
Offering advice for the new intake, the acting vice-chancellor said that it is important for the students “to plan your future but live for today”, noting that much of the success in their life journeys “depends on the effort and the choices you will make today and in the next four years”.
“Throughout your university years, find a balance of modules that you are interested in and which will impact you positively,” she said. “Don’t take modules just because you have friends in those classes, or because it is popular among your seniors.
“The workplace landscape is continually evolving, so choose your module combinations thoughtfully.”
Hajah Rubiah called for the new students to align their choices with what they value the most and their passions.
“If you are not certain about which path to take, UBD Centre of Networking, Employment and Career Training (CoNECT) can dispense well-informed advice. Be responsible, understand the rules and regulations, yet be courageous. Design your curriculum to suit your needs,” she said.
Freshers’ Week is UBD’s bi-annual event where new students are briefed on important matters relating to academic and non-academic life at UBD and what the university has to offer.
The second day of Freshers’ Week will see the Office of Safety, Health and Environment (OSHE) giving a talk on safety and security on campus, followed by a ‘Social Health Awareness’ talk by the Brunei Darussalam Aids Council.
During lunch break, CoNECT will be holding career preparation and advice sessions for the students.
The students will also be introduced to the functions of the Student Affairs Section and the UBD Students’ Association, where the focus will be more on non-academic aspects and the skills development of the students, as well as extra-curricular activities offered at UBD.
On the third and final day of the orientation, a Bicara Ulum Ad-din session will be conducted, where Ustazah Hanisah binti Haji Othman will deliver a talk entitled ‘The Power of Doa’, followed by a briefing by the Preventive Drug Education Division from the Narcotics Control Bureau.
The new students will also be briefed on the library and given a tour of the whole campus.
During lunchtime, Muslim students will recite Surah Yaasiin and Doa Selamat after the Zohor prayer at the UBD Mosque.
The three-day orientation will be closed with a briefing on the Brunei Government Scholarship for scholarship applicants, followed by a sharing session on Discovery Year at the Chancellor Hall and a briefing for graduate students in the Senate Room.