Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) opened its doors in 1985 and stands as the nation’s premier national university today. The university is guided by its four core values – people, expertise, relevance and leadership. These are used as yardsticks in the development and management of its eight academic faculties, nine research institutes and six academic service centres including Islamic Studies, Business, Arts, Science, Health Sciences, Asian Studies, Policy Studies, Education, Biodiversity and Integrated Technologies.
In 2009, UBD implemented its GenNEXT initiative which aims to provide undergraduates greater flexibility in tailoring studies which include the Discovery Year programme. The programme provides opportunity for the undergraduates to leave classroom in their third year and choose to study abroad, undergo an internship with relevant agencies, contribute to community outreach programme or explore entrepreneurship.
UBD is now within the top 20 in five categories of the QS Asian University Rankings which showed an improvement compared to its last ranking in the top 25. UBD is also the first in Asia that offers outbound students mobility for the second year in a row and is third for inbound exchange, 11th for international faculty, 13th for faculty student ratio, and 17th for international students. UBD scored full marks in three categories – outbound exchange students, inbound exchange students and international faculty.
This is the third year UBD has been ranked in the QS University Rankings. It broke into the rankings in 2014 at the 171-180th band. In 2015, it became the 118th university in Asia.
Research productivity has often been included in measuring QS University Ranking and since 2011, research activity in UBD has increased exponentially. The university has seen a rise in published papers every year which have more than tripled over the last five years. Research carried out by UBD continued to be driven by national relevance, with an emphasis on innovative and entrepreneurial initiatives and frameworks. These were made possible through UBD’s active networks and engagement with industry players to ensure its research and teachings are relevant to the needs of the market.
Over the past three years, UBD has filed over 40 patents through its Innovation and Enterprise Office, eight of which have been granted both in Brunei and internationally. UBD aims to leverage its comparative niche advantages and major research projects in biodiversity, herbal medicine, Halal products, Islamic governance and energy, all of which are of particular interest nationally and expected to have a global impact.
The success of UBD students is not confined to the academic areas only. In fact, UBD seeks to produce holistic and well-rounded, next generation leaders who are guided by three principles: innovation and entrepreneurship, industry-relevant skills and a passion for lifelong learning. This is in line with its motto, “Ke Arah Kesempurnaan Insan” or “Towards Human Excellence”.
Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB), formerly known as the Institut Teknologi Brunei (ITB), is a higher learning institution opened in 1986 that first offered Higher National Diploma programmes in Engineering, Business and Computing in its effort to generate para-professionals for the local industry.
In 2008, UTB was upgraded to a university and since then has offered undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. It has undergone a major transformation in terms of academic portfolio, establishment of strategic partnerships with industries and universities, initiatives on the process of programmes accreditation by professional bodies and intensification of research activities.
UTB strives to take pride in maintaining its successful hands-on approach in both teaching and learning, and also to keep its curriculum relevant to the needs of the industry.
In terms of research, UTB aims to become a university that can contribute to the enrichment of knowledge and the solving of contemporary issues through its research endeavours. The research is focused on three research topics: Oil and Gas, Green Technology and Water. The main objective of the establishment of the UTB Centre for Transport Research (CfTR) is to conduct research activities including policy studies, transport modelling and intelligent transport systems which focus on Transport Safety, Highway & Geotechnics, and Traffic. The recently established Centre for Innovative Engineering focuses on becoming a dynamic centre for multidisciplinary and innovative research.
Around 2,273 students are currently studying in UTB under the tutelege of 140 faculty members.
Academic programmes are being offered by the Faculty of Engineering, School of Computing and
Informatics and UTB School of Business. The Faculty of Engineering comprises four programme areas — Civil Engineering, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Petroleum and Chemical Engineering.
The School of Computing and Informatics offers Creative Computing, Computer Information Systems and Computer Network Security. Meanwhile, the UTB School of Business is currently offering Economics, Accounting and Management. The Centre for Communication, Teaching and Learning supports the faculty and schools in terms of students’ language proficiencies and soft skills development.
Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) was established in 2007 as an Islamic university by the consent of 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. It aims to produce Muslim scholars and intellectuals that can contribute to the development of the Ummah and the state in line with the country’s vision of making Brunei a Zikir Nation.
UNISSA offers well-designed tertiary programmes at the undergraduate level as part of a comprehensive educational system to produce Ulama (Muslim scholars) and other human resources who are high-spirited, well-balanced, professional, knowledgeable, respectful and pious.
In addition to the core programmes, there are courses in UNISSA that enable the students to thrive in any environment and portray the virtues of a devout Muslim. Among the courses include Al-Quran, Malay Islamic Monarchy, Islamic Virtues, Arabic Language, Co-Curriculum, ICT and Entrepreneurship and Industrial Training.
In its effort to enhance students’ proficiency and fluency in both Arabic and English languages, UNISSA offers three-month intensive courses for students in the Arabic medium before allowing them to join the regular programmes.
UNISSA works closely with international universities, especially those offering Islamic studies as it strives to meet international standards and current needs. UNISSA aims to attain international recognition through strategic, bilateral relations with universities that have gained international recognition.
In the near future, UNISSA will have its own permanent campus in the Temburong District. With its establishment, it is hoped that UNISSA will be able to further build on its contribution to the glory of Islam, the Ummah and the nation. Currently, UNISSA’s temporary campus is located in Gadong.
LCB has been established for more than a decade today providing accredited academic options for students in Brunei. A popular programme is the Academic Pathway, which is accredited by the Brunei’s Ministry of Education. This programme offers students a University Foundation Course (UFC) and a BA Common Year 1, over the duration of two years. Once completed, students may continue their studies for another two years in the United Kingdom to achieve a degree. The BA Common Year 1 programme is recognised by many leading UK universities, including the University of South Wales, Aberystwyth University, Keele University, the well-known University College, Birmingham and other prominent UK universities.
This course is also available for international students and mature students working in the private sector in Brunei. To qualify for the course, these students will need to complete one of the professional courses offered by LCB, under the KCB Diplomas in Business Management.
LCB is constantly searching for ways to further meet the needs of its students. With the launch of the Pearson BTEC (UK) Diploma, HNC and HND computing programmes, it endeavours to establish the college as a leading provider of IT and computing related courses in the country. For students looking to enter the growing hospitality industry, LCB offers the Pearson BTEC in Hospitality Management.
Recognising the challenges and the expense of studying abroad, LCB started providing degree courses locally in 2015. These three-year degrees are awarded by the University of Chester, UK. The degree courses offered include the BSc (Hons) Computer Science, BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance, BA (Hons) Business Management and BA (Hons) Marketing. These courses are available on both full and part-time study.
LCB also offers several tourism courses including the Bridging Tourist Guide and Basic Tourist Guide courses. These courses are open to all travel and tourism agencies in Brunei, as well as the public.
For students looking at working abroad, specifically in French speaking countries, LCB in partnership with Alliance Francaise, offers a 14-week familiarisation French language and working environment programme.
IGS College (IGS) was established in 2002 and was the first local tertiary level institution accredited by the Government of His Majesty through the BDNAC.
IGS aims to serve the growing needs of vocational education and training with focuses on business and information technology.
As part of IGS’ effort to provide young Bruneians with the opportunity to achieve further academic qualifications, it has created pathways for the ‘O’ level achievers through certificate, diploma, higher national diploma and undergraduate (1st Degree) programmes in Information and Business Studies.
In April 2011, IGS was also the first to be accredited to offer three-year full-fledged Degree programmes through its collaboration with Limkokwing University of Creative Technology (LUCT) in Malaysia. The college also runs the diploma courses of Brunei Darussalam Technical and Vocational Education Council (BDTVEC).
In realising the growing educational needs of the working adults, IGS offers part-time programmes to further their educational qualifications and professional development.
Since its establishment, IGS has produced more than 160 graduates across different programmes, who are working with various public and private sector organisations.
IGS facilitates and supports skilled human resources for His Majesty’s Government and the private sector by equipping students with critical skills and knowledge.
Cosmopolitan College of Business and Technology (CCBT) is a privately run institution of higher learning located at Jaya Setia Square in Berakas. It has been operating since 2004.
CCBT aims to provide education and create quality graduates for Brunei’s booming economy.
Its approach to education is what separates the college from the rest, particularly its emphasis of moulding the mind, body and soul of its students by aiding their development, not only as capable professionals, but also improving their ability to become future leaders of commerce, industry and society with high ethical and moral standards.
In CCBT, the students are exposed to mental, spiritual, cultural and physical activity from their first to their last day in the college. This is to help them become better critical thinkers, problem solvers, independent and lifelong learners for the benefit of Brunei’s economy.
CCBT also focuses on strategically managed training, staff development and educational experiences to create efficient staff members.
With a combination of the best teaching method- ologies, experienced staff and proper facilities, the college seeks to produce graduates of the highest calibre who can fit into the world’s cutthroat busi- ness and information technology environment.
Findlay (B) Sdn Bhd – accredited by the Brunei Darussalam National Accreditation Council under the Ministry of Education – is Brunei’s newest education services agency. The company provides a host of education-related services to students, such as advice and information on colleges, universities and the suitability of courses, assisting with university applications both directly and via UCAS, making housing applications, giving pre-departure briefings, making language test arrangements and more.
The company’s founder and Managing Director, Suni- ta Martin, has a wealth of experience in the tertiary education student consultation field, having worked for several years as an International Student Advis- er at universities across the UK. Findlay’s establish- ment was a natural extension of Sunita’s passion in connecting with international students and wanting to provide advice and guidance to students earlier towards their higher education transition process.
Sunita stated, “Over the years I have seen a number of international students who have struggled with their studies for one reason or another. With my experience, I can responsibly help students minimise that risk by making the best possible match and choosing a university and course that will meet their preferences and play to their strengths.”
Sunita’s human resources career experiences in Brunei, Hong Kong and the Middle East, prior to her transition into the International Student Advice industry is one of the key reasons why Findlay also places importance on student job placements.“You always read about graduates finding it difficult to obtain jobs without work experience. It’s a catch-22 situation because without jobs, how can they build- up their experience? Findlay will assist students in finding job placements or opportunities that will improve their edge over other candidates when they eventually apply for their ideal job,” she explained.
Findlay will organise higher education study fairs in the country from time to time, offering potential students the option of pursuing their tertiary education from institutions located in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada or Singapore.
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