The Ministry of Education aims to achieve students’ fullest potential by providing high quality and holistic education to all. This is in line with Brunei’s Vision 2035, in which the ministry has developed a vision of ‘Quality Education, Dynamic Nation’ to meet future challenges in an ever-changing world.
In the SPN21 education system, the ministry dictates a minimum of 12 years of compulsory education for every child. This includes seven years in primary education inclusive of one year in pre-school and five years in secondary education. Formal schooling begins at pre-school level at the age of five. From the age of six, students follow six years of primary education. Then they proceed to secondary level and will have a common curriculum. At the end of Year 6, they will sit for the primary school assessment.
Secondary (tertiary) education is divided into lower secondary level and upper secondary level. Lower secondary level covers two years of common curriculum, Year 7 and Year 8. At the end of Year 8, students sit for the student progress examination. Based on the student progress assessment, students will be channeled into one of the following programmes for the upper secondary level: General Secondary Education Programme, which is Express (two years) or Normal (three years), the Applied Secondary Education Programme (three years), and the Special Applied Programme (three years).
In the general secondary education programme and applied secondary education programme, students sit for the Brunei Cambridge General Certicate of Education ‘O’ level and International General Certicate of Secondary Examination. In the special applied programme, students will enroll into PEARSON Business and Technology Education Council Programme which gears to Vocational and Technical Education.
Students with special needs and learning difficulties have a curriculum adapted to their abilities based on the individualised education plan and remedial education plan.
The purpose of SPN21 education system is to fit the education system to students. The system allows highly capable students to complete their secondary education in a shorter period. SPN21 offers multiple pathways. Students can choose programmes that best suit their abilities, interests, growth and development, catering to their needs.
The Ministry of Education supports students in need through IKHLAS, supplementing provisions and learning aid.
The ministry also provides scholarships for talented students to pursue higher education abroad. Many Bruneians continue their studies in the UK, USA, or Australia.
Alternatively, students may apply for the government education loan scheme to study abroad. If a recipient graduates with a First Class (Honours), the loan is turned into a scholarship and the recipient is not required to repay the loan.
The government has awarded thousands of scholarships to locals and non-locals to study at Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) through the following scholarships: Brunei Darussalam Government Scholarship, UBD Graduate Scholarship and UBD Bursary.
The Chancellor’s Scholar is a prestigious scholarship awarded annually by UBD to the country’s most gifted and talented youths with a passion in pursuing a career in academia in UBD. Recipients receive exemplary education at rst class universities worldwide for a Doctorate degree.
Brunei places heavy emphasis on education. 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 previously said in a Titah that educated and skilled citizens were Brunei’s future leaders who would drive the economy and lead to the nation’s prosperity.
Public and private academic institutions in Brunei strive to accomplish outstanding achievements. Jerudong International School (JIS) and Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) are two of the academic institutions that have brought pride to Brunei.
JIS won an international award for its Geography learning methods and was recently awarded the first school to be awarded the golden Golden British Schools Overseas Award. JIS was one of the 24 schools to receive the prestigious Secondary Geography Quality Mark 2018 award by the Geographical Association in the UK. Their students achieved outstanding International Baccalaureate Diploma results, scoring an average of 37 out of 45, compared to the average Diploma score worldwide which is 30. JIS also achieved a Gold Award in the prestigious UK Junior Mathematical Olympiad, in which a JIS student scored 105 out of 135.
Brunei’s national university, UBD, secured a prime spot in the QS ranking for universities founded less than 50 years. UBD came 34th in the 2019 QS Top 50 Under 50 world rankings.
Kumon was founded in 1954 in Japan, born out of a father’s love for his son. The Kumon Method is all about maximising a student’s potential with the “just-right” level of study. The Kumon Method, which was originally developed by a father for his son, is now available in more than 50 countries and regions around the world, with more than four million students enrolled in over 7,500 Kumon Centres.
The Kumon Method transcends national borders and cultural barriers. Kumon is accepted all around the world because of their belief in the limitless potential of all human beings, and their pursuit of that potential through the implementation of individualised education. The Kumon Method does much more than simply help students develop solid academic ability. It provides students with the joyful experience of encountering new materials and making progress on their own.
Kumon set up its rst centre in Brunei in 2015. In the span of four years, Kumon has expanded its operations. The fourth learning centre is set to open soon in Sengkurong, with three existing centres in Bandar Seri Begawan. In August 2018, 173 students of Kumon Diligent were celebrated for their individual achievements.
“We have seen the Kumon Method transform children into more condent, motivated and independent learners. A number of our students are also on track to finish the Kumon programme and become Brunei’s first Kumon Completers,” said Chief Instructor at Kumon Diligent Caley Lim.
When it comes to education, Kumon believes there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” programme. Every child thinks and learns differently. As At Kumon, self-learning and developing soft skills are just as important as grades. Students are provided with materials best suited to their abilities, so no one gets left behind or feels unmotivated because they don’t feel challenged.
Kumon does not spoon-feed answers. Instead, they guide students to find the answers themselves. Students develop independent and critical thinking skills instead of passively receiving directions from their instructors.
Kumon offers a wide variety of programmes, and they are suitable for all ages as worksheets are carefully designed for students to advance in small steps, and at their own pace. Main programmes cover core subjects such as mathematics, English, and even pencil skills for young children to start drawing and writing at an early age.
Kumon marked its 60th anniversary in 2018 as the world’s leading afterschool enrichment programme for students from pre-school right up to Year 12 or sixth form level.
In Arabic, ‘tarbiyyah’ means to develop and grow. PAZ Tarbiyyah was established in 2018 as the pioneering Islamic-based educational enrichment centre for children in Brunei, endorsed by the Majlis Ugama Islam Brunei (MUIB), Ministry of Education and Ministry of Religious Affairs.
The centre, which is a unique early education space in Brunei, is equipped with a slide, a mini-rock climbing wall, a central dome for prayers and an ablution area. The ablution area is also used as a demonstrative display of the natural water cycle from evaporation to collection. The space is designed to encourage open interaction, where children share connecting tables, surrounded by hydroponic systems and a fish tank.
Since its establishment, PAZ Tarbiyyah has registered 35 children, including a few with special needs. Their education programme is centred on the Quran, Hadith and Sunnah to develop spirituality with the innovative curriculum designed by MUIB-certied instructors.
“Our vision is to inspire children to learn about Islam in a fun and interactive way through an appreciation of Islamic teaching,” said PAZ Tarbiyyah founder Dr Hajah Mona Yati. “Our teaching method is not the same as that of conventional religious schools, because as an enrichment centre, we bring on board what they have already learned in school and build up their knowledge from there.”
Their modules include the 1001 Islam Inventions Series, in which children explore the Golden Age of Islam and early scientific inventions by Muslim scholars. The Green Deen Kidspreneurship teaches children the Sunnah way of business and characteristics of successful Muslim entrepreneurs. For children with special needs, the centre offers one-to-one sessions, teaching Arabic alphabet, verses and selected surah.
Her Royal Highness Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Zariah is the benefactor of the centre.
On January 16, 2019, Laksamana College of Business (LCB) launched LCB Incuvation Centre, a workspace for start-ups and aspiring entrepreneurs. The launch of LCB Incuvation Centre is a collaboration between LCB and MINI Brunei (QAF Auto Sdn Bhd), ofciated by British High Commissioner to Brunei Richard Lindsay.
“Britain is a nation of entrepreneurs. Their products, services, technology, innovation and ideas have given the world some of its most iconic brands,” said British High Commissioner Richard Lindsay. “Take for example Sir Richard Branson, the CEO of the Virgin Group; Sir Paul Smith, Britain’s foremost designer; and Sir James Dyson, a phenomenal engineer and inventor of innovative creations – Dyson Ball vacuum cleaners.”
Lindsay highlighted that every country “needs entrepreneurs, people who think for themselves, creative people bursting with energy and ideas.” People “who don’t ask, ‘What can you do for me’, but go out to create [things] for themselves”.
“These people create wealth. They create opportunities. They deliver growth. So this is LCB Incuvation Centre for aspiring entrepreneurs exactly what is needed to deliver Brunei Vision 2035,” said Lindsay.
Lindsay outlined three ingredients that entrepreneurs need to succeed in any environment: a good business environment, access to finance and a society that encourages creativity and learns from business experiences.
“It is very fitting that this Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship is a partnership between LCB, which represents some of the best in British education in Brunei, and QAF MINI, which represents some of the most significant and iconic British car designs in history,” said Lindsay.
According to LCB’s Chief Operating Officer Sivarajah Subramaniam, ‘incuvation’ is a combination of incubation and innovation. The LCB Incuvation Centre will provide mentors, workstations, intellectual property (IP) consultation, legal advisory services and business training programmes to entrepreneurs and start-ups in ICT, eco-tourism, business and social Impact.
“The incubation centre is an important contribution to the sustainable growth of the country. Its business model and services are tailored to local needs and realities,” said Subramaniam.
Subramaniam added that LCB shared the same vision with QAF MINI in providing support to aspiring entrepreneurs, in line with 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’s vision of creating more entrepreneurs and increasing employment in Brunei.
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