With the vision of ‘Quality Education, Dynamic Nation’, the Ministry of Education (MoE) aims to equip the citizens with knowledge and 21st Century skills to contribute to the nation’s growth. The MoE plans towards a first class education system under the long term outcomes of the ministry’s Strategic Plan 2018-2022, delivering holistic education to achieve fullest potential for all.
The SAG covers student scores throughout 2021. It is an alternative assessment that has been prepared by the Cambridge Assessment International Education (Cambridge International) and has been applied to countries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic since 2020.
The country’s National Education System for the 21st Century (SPN21) takes into account the abilities of individual students, offering multiple pathways. Highly capable students are able to complete their secondary education in a shorter period. Through this system, students have the option to choose programmes that best suit their abilities, interests, growth and development.
Following the second wave of the pandemic last year, School Assessed Grades (SAG) assessments were implement to replace written examinations for the Brunei Cambridge General Certificate of Education (BC GCE) ‘O’, ‘AS’, ‘A’ Level and International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) October/November 2021 session.
The SAG covers student scores throughout 2021. It is an alternative assessment that has been prepared by the Cambridge Assessment International Education (Cambridge International) and has been applied to countries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic since 2020. The assessment is comparable to written examination via faceto- face.
Based on assessment and consultation with the international examination body, Cambridge International, this alternative assessment enables students to obtain qualifications or grades.
Through this method, the school includes a portfolio for each student containing three types of substantial work or major assignments for each subject. This substantial work is an evaluation of students’ assignments for the 2021 academic year.
These include completed examination question papers according to the subject syllabus with a duration of one hour or more, specific work completed according to the subject syllabus, combination of questions taken from previous examination papers, qualifying test question papers, extended work projects given by the school, and assignments given such as essays, assignments, problems and practicals.
The selection of assessment assignments for students’ substantial work is subject to the decision of the schools.
School candidates who registered for the ‘AS’ Level examination in the October/November 2021 session were arranged to sit for the examination in the May/June 2022 session. For private candidates sitting for the BC GCE ‘O’, ‘AS’, ‘A’ Level and IGCSE examinations in the October/November 2021 session, their registration was also changed to the May/June 2022 session. However, private candidates were allowed to withdraw from the October/November 2021 examination without having to re-register for the May/June 2022 session examination.
Following the COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020, schools and vocational institutions across the nation adapted online learning. Home-pack learning packages were provided for students who did not have access to the Internet, computers or mobile phones. Some schools provided the option of a drive-through pick up method for the parents.
In collaboration with the Special Education Unit, MoE also developed home learning packages with guidelines for students with special needs. Several technologies were prepared by the Special Education Unit to help with the students’ learning.
In September 2021, MoE in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications (MTIC) and the Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI) once again organised a Device Donation Campaign to support online learning. The campaign was first conducted from April 11 to May 14, 2020, where a total of 1,696 computers and tablets were donated to underprivileged students.
Apart from such collaboration between government ministries and statutory body, more initiatives were organised in cooperation with private corporations such as the Donate Data Campaign, a donation initiative conducted by MoE and Progresif Sdn Bhd.
Through such donation campaigns and corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes, students in need have been receiving aid in terms of sim cards and tablets from public agencies, private corporations as well from the public.
Meanwhile, through an existing memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the MoE and Microsoft, students and teachers are provided with free Microsoft 365 (M365) accounts.
Using the M365 accounts, students and teachers are also provided free online Microsoft Office 365 applications, such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Teams, allowing them to work together and communicate seamlessly.
The MoE has a policy of providing a minimum of 12 years of education. This comprises seven years in primary education (inclusive of one year in preschool).
Formal schooling in the country begins at preschool level at the age of five, followed by six years of primary education. After the primary school assessment at the end of Year 6, students will proceed to secondary (tertiary) level.
Secondary education is divided into lower secondary level and upper secondary level. The lower secondary level covers two years of common curriculum – Year 7 and Year 8. Students then sit for the student progress examination and proceed to the upper secondary level.
The upper secondary level is split into three programmes. The first is the General Secondary Education Programme, split into two categories: Express (two years) or Normal (three years). Second is the Applied Secondary Education Programme, lasting three years. In both programmes, students sit for the BC GCE ‘O’ Level and IGCSE.
Third is the Special Applied Programme, which follows a different pathway. Students enrol into Pearson Business and Technology Education Council Programme gearing students towards 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 MoE provides scholarships for talented and qualified students to pursue higher education through its Government Scholarship Scheme to study abroad, whether to pursue their first degree, master’s, professional or PhD.
Aside from the Government Scholarship Scheme, students are able to study abroad through the Education Loan Assistance Scheme (SBPP). If a recipient successfully graduates with a First Class (Honours), the loan is treated as a scholarship and the recipient is not required to repay it.
Other scholarships include the prestigious Sultan’s Scholar scholarship scheme offered by Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah for the highest achievers in the country. Bruneians also have the opportunity to obtain a scholarship under the Ministry of Defence to study at the world’s top and renowned universities. The scholarship is aimed to develop outstanding leaders who will contribute to the nation’s defence and security.
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