Arabic and religious schools in Brunei are different from other educational institutions as they are led by MoRA, who collaborate with MoE to develop a suitable curriculum.
Arabic schools in Brunei offer two core curriculums: the national curriculum for general subjects and the Ma’had Buhuth al-Islamiah curriculum from Egypt for religious subjects and Arabic language. The curriculums are formulated based on the National Education System for 21st Century (SPN21) to pro- duce students equipped with skills in line with the 21st Century.
Brunei has seven established Arabic schools: four located in Brunei-Muara and one each in Belait, Tutong and Temburong.
Education in Arabic schools begins in Year Five and is offered until pre-university level for male students and Year 11 for female students.
Speaking on the achievements of Arabic schools, the Minister of Religious Affairs Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Haji Awang Othman out- lined the paths students have taken after completing their education, with a significant number attaining scholarships in various programmes, namely a spe- cial scheme course at Jerudong International School (JIS), undergraduate degree courses as well as postgraduate level courses. Additionally, he noted that Arabic schools have continuously procured out- standing examination results.
MoRA’s latest addition to its assembly of Arabic schools is the Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha Girls Arabic Religious Secondary School, known for its impressive design and 20 acre site. Its main feature is a circular building with a dome featuring a five-star skylight as its centrepiece. The institution is equipped with 72 classrooms, 12 science laboratories, five computer rooms, a library, an administrative office, teachers’ rooms and two lecture halls, all of which can accommodate 1,800 students and 150 members of staff.
In 2012, His Majesty implemented the Compulsory Religious Education Order 2012, whereby Muslim children between the ages of seven and 15 must attend religious school. The Order places emphasis on the importance of Islamic knowledge in young students as religious knowledge serves as a founda- tion for upholding the national philosophy of Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB) in the country. Currently, there are 159 religious schools in Brunei peppered throughout the country, where education is offered from pre-school to primary level.
Apart from religious schools established by t
he government, religious education is also provided at three private schools: JIS, Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah (YSHHB) School and International School Brunei (ISB).
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