UBD VC highlights importance of upskilling, reskilling

Izah Azahari

In today’s digital era, where knowledge and technical information are doubled every two years, people need to continuously upskill and reskill, said Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) Vice-Chancellor Datin Dr Hajah Anita Binurul Zahrina binti Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Wijaya Dato Seri Setia Haji Awang Abdul Aziz yesterday.

“Graduates need to be more relevant and adaptable, and have all the soft skills needed to stand out and become invaluable assets to the country,” she said in the vice-chancellor’s address, prior to the Students’ Oath-Taking Ceremony at the UBD Chancellor Hall.

The vice-chancellor reminded the students that employers are not only looking for candidates with excellent communication and leadership skills, critical thinking and reasoning, and quantitative analysis, but also those who can demonstrate skills and abilities in innovation and entrepreneurship, which she believes can be developed through UBD’s degree programmes.

“The elements of leadership and innovation, entrepreneurship, environmental awareness and digital perspective are vital in our GenNEXT programme” .

“It also involves a balanced combination of breadth and depth modules, giving students more flexibility in choosing the content of their programme, shaping and making it more relevant for their chosen careers,” she said.

The vice-chancellor highlighted another great feature of the GenNEXT curriculum, which is the Discovery Year where students get to experience real-world learning via spending a year outside the university doing either Study Abroad Programme, internship, initiate an innovation project or be involved in community outreach projects which will all bring in different invaluable experience and knowledge.

“Being a student of UBD means that they have to cultivate attributes, especially in creativity to help grow both academically and personally, while also embracing the Malay Islamic, Monarchy (MIB) philosophy, as well as making sacrifices such as studying, balancing both academic and non-academic activities, late night work on assignments and preparing for examinations, which are all part and parcel towards excellence,” she said.

UBD Vice-Chancellor Datin Dr Hajah Anita Binurul Zahrina binti Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Wijaya Dato Seri Setia Haji Awang Abdul Aziz
Students during the oath-taking ceremony. PHOTOS: IZAH AZAHARI

UBD welcomed 1,057 students for the first intake of the 2021/2022 academic year during Freshers’ Week, which began on July 26 at the UBD Chancellor Hall.

Organised by the Students’ Affairs Section (SAS) with support from the Student Representative Council (MPP) and volunteers, this year’s Freshers’ Week aims to introduce newly enrolled students to relevant matters of their studies and formally welcome them to university life.

The new intake comprises 664 undergraduate students and 279 graduate students, with 234 students pursuing a Master’s degree and 45 in the PhD programme. The intake also includes 114 UniBridge students.

UBD officers conducted a number of briefings on July 26, on matters such as CANVAS, the online learning-management system used by UBD, the GenNEXT system, module registration and examination, and the Brunei Government Scholarship.

On the same day, the three-day UBD Students’ Council (PMUBD) showcase was launched at the Chancellor Hall basement, showcasing all the clubs, student bodies and executives that the university has to offer.

The first day of Freshers’Week concluded with a talk on mental health by a counsellor from
the SAS.

Yesterday’s event was an official welcome of the newly-enrolled students where students took their oath in the presence of UBD senior management principal officers and invited guests.

After the students were formally welcomed into the university, they were divided into their registered faculties to introduce them to faculty members, particularly the deans, deputy deans, programme leaders, assistant registrars as well as Discovery Year coordinators.

Subsequently, the faculty members briefed the students on the faculty’s subjects and modules, as well as other related academic matters. Additionally, members of student councils or student bodies of all faculties also conducted ice-breaking activities and a tour of the facilities.

In the afternoon, students participated in the HIV Awareness Programme for Peers and Youth (HAPPY) organised by the Brunei Darussalam AIDS Council. A talk on sexual harassment was also delivered by Acting Head of the Women and Children Abuse Investigation Unit at the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) DSP Norkhatijah binti Haji Zainal.

A campus tour will be held today, to introduce the undergraduates to the university buildings and grounds, including a tour of the university library where the new students will be briefed and shown a variety of services on offer. They will also visit the UBD Sports Complex and participate in a sports activity.

On the final day of Freshers’ Week, a number of briefings will be held to familiarise the new students with the services offered by the university and other relevant matters such as health and safety by the Office of Health, Safety and Environment (OSHE), along with an introduction to the Entrepreneurship Village (EV), SAS, Office of Student Services (OSS), Centre of Networking, Employment and Career Training (CoNECT), the Office of Alumni Relations and Advancements (OARA), and PMUBD.

Freshers’ Week will end tomorrow with a Bicara Ulum, Doa Selamat and mass Asar prayers at the UBD Mosque.