One of the eight strategies identified in pursuing Brunei Vision 2035 is an education strategy. The vision of Brunei’s Ministry of Education (MoE) is “Quality Education towards a Developed, Peaceful and Prosperous Nation”.
The ministry’s vision acknowledges the relationship between education and economic performance, participation in the global economy and development of a knowledgeable society through quality education. A quality education seeks to develop and equip children morally, intellectually, physically, socially and aesthetically with proper values and appropriate skills to become responsible and dynamic citizens, who are able to contribute positively to the nation.
The ministry is committed to providing an educational system that prepares youths for future adult roles as capable, creative, thinking citizens who can contribute to and benefit their families, community and society. It also recognises that globalisation, together with increased sensitivity to national, regional and cultural issues, affects individual and group identity, places fresh demands upon the education system and is challenging assumptions about the purpose and functions of education.
The MoE’s Strategic Plan 2012-2017 aims to prepare Bruneian youths for employment and achievement in a world that is increasingly competitive and knowledge-based.
There are eight policy directions listed under the Education Strategy:
1. Investing in early childhood education.
2. Adopting international best practices in teaching and learning.
3. Having first class secondary and tertiary education, including vocational schools, that produce experts, professionals and technicians required in commerce and industry.
4. Strengthening competency in information and communications technology (ICT) for students, teachers and educational administrators, including the integration of ICT in teaching and learning.
5. Devising programmes that promote life- long learning and widening access to higher education.
6. Promoting research, development and innova- tion both in government-funded institutions and through public-private and international partner- ships
7. Adopting cost-effective methods of educating our people through the use of technology.
8. Improving the management of all educational institutions.
The success of the Education Strategy hinges on a values-based orientation among every single individual working at operation level in all functions that exist at the various levels of the MoE. The core values underpinning this orientation include accountability, integrity, leadership, honesty, respect and teamwork.
The Strategic Plan highlights that the current education system – SPN21 – recognises the need to prepareBruneiancitizensascompetitiveindividuals to meet the social and economic challenges of the 21st century.
SPN21 aims to produce citizens who are committed and able to contribute to the future growth, prosperity and stability of Brunei Darussalam. The system was developed around the appreciation for idealism in terms of advancement of ideas and approaches while being simultaneously grounded by realism in order to stay contextual.
The development of the MoE Strategic Plan 2012-2017 affirms the ministry’s continuous and unwavering commitment towards quality education for the nation. The plan has been developed through a series of workshops and consultations by the ministry. The achievements of the previous five-year Strategic Plan were reassessed and re-evaluated to determine the extent to which the plan was aligned to Brunei Vision 2035.
This plan has set the course for the ministry to take in the next five years and to ensure its effective implementation, the commitment of everyone is vital. It identifies three strategic focus areas, 14 strategic objectives and 18 key performance indicators (KPI).
The three strategic focus areas include:
1. Teaching and learning excellence
2. Professionalism and accountability
3. Efficiency and innovativeness
The ministry’s strategic objectives and key perfor- mance indicators fall under four perspectives.
1. Financial perspective: optimised funds and costs.
2. Customer / stakeholder perspective: high achievement; well-rounded and values-driven individuals; and marketable and entrepreneurial individuals.
3. Internal process perspective: to develop an effective early childhood care and education framework in the school system; to encourage continuous improvement in all work processes; to strengthen teaching and learning processes; to meet compliance to regulatory requirements (internal control in the agency to improve transparency); to provide school infrastructure and ensure its optimal utilisation in line with changing the school quality standards; to improve the quality in developing the required curriculum and instructions tailored to the students’ and stakeholders’ needs; and to foster a culture of innovation.
4. Learning and growth perspective: To build the skill sets for capacity development; to develop performance mind-set culture (leadership, communication and teamwork); and to maximise value from the usage of technology (information capital).
On the implementation of the Strategic Plan 2012- 2017, a Balanced Scorecard has been embedded into the operating system, into every department, section, unit and educational institution under the MoE, as a tool for monitoring and reporting purposes. Every month, each department/section/ unit and educational institution under the MoE is expected to publish their scorecard reports, analyse the performance gaps and develop resolution plans.
The top leadership team will conduct quarterly strategic review meetings to report the KPIs and update the priorities initiative review. The team will then have an annual meeting to update individual Performance Management System, compensation system, corporate strategy map and BSC, departmental strategy map and KPIs, commit to performance targets and budgets, and develop and align the annual operating plan.
To ensure the success of its strategic plan, MoE identifies nine critical success factors:
1. Continuous and effective implementation and monitoring system.
2. Strong community support.
3. Effective communication.
4. Sufficient financial resources.
5. Adequate infrastructure.
6. Clear policy statement.
7. Effective research and planning.
8. Quality leadership.
9. Competent, quality and committed workforce.
The grand architecture of the seven-storey Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha Girls Arabic Religious Secondary School beckons as one drives along the Jerudong-Tungku highway. MIB elements were incorporated from the early days of its construction. All buildings face the prayer direction (Kiblat) and Islamic design elements such as the garden and fountain, Kubah (dome), arches and geometric patterns are used expansively.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA) stated that the school is a project under the 10th National Development Plan and cost nearly B$47 million to build. Located on an eight-hectare (20 acre) site, it is able to accommodate 1,800 female students and 150 teaching and administrative workforce.
The school started operations on January 3, 2017 with 1,350 students from Year 7 to 11, originally from Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Damit Girls Arabic Religious Secondary School. The curriculum is based on the National Education System for the 21st Century with strong emphasis on skills, religious knowledge and Arabic language.
The two core curriculums for the school include the national curriculum for general subjects and
Ma’had Buhuth al-Islamiah curriculum from Egypt for religious subjects and Arabic language.
The circular shape of the building depicts unity in the Malay Archipelago, promoting a family spirit in the school. Right in the centre lies a five-star skylight, which is the heart of the school. The open foyer can be used for gatherings, exhibitions and school activities.
The building is equipped with 72 classrooms, 12 science labs, five computer rooms, a library, an administration office, teacher’s rooms, and two lecture halls which can accommodate 300 and 150 students respectively. It is also equipped with ample parking space, a large canteen, a multi- purpose hall for 1,500 students, a surau (prayer room) and a dining hall which can accommodate up to 1,000 students, a hostel for 500 students, two warden houses and various sports facilities.
The provision of infrastructure, conducive facilities and a high quality education system are among the continuous efforts of the MoRA through the Islamic Studies Department, in order to realise the Brunei Vision 2035 to create educated, highly skillful and successful individuals.
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