Bandar Seri Begawan - As part of efforts to increase the number of skilled workers in the country to meet the rapidly developing economy, the new higher educational institution, Brunei Polytechnic, received its first intake of 443 students yesterday for the 2012/2013 session.
The establishment of Brunei Polytechnic was consented by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in a titah during a Teacher's Day celebration on Oct 18, 2008, in line with the need to accelerate the country's human resources development, as emphasised by the National Development Plan (NDP) and Wawasan Brunei 2035.
Yesterday's orientation ceremony was officiated by the guest of honour, Dr Hj Junaidi bin Hj Abd Rahman, Permanent Secretary (Higher Education) at the Ministry of Education.
A weeklong orientation is currently held for the first cohort of successful candidates registered under several different programmes.
These comprise the Advanced Diploma in Business Accounting (56), Advanced Diploma in Business Finance (60), Advanced Diploma in Business Management (60), Advanced Diploma in Business Marketing (26), Advanced Diploma in Business Entrepreneurship (26), Advanced Diploma in Interior Design (60), Advanced Diploma in Computer Network (60), Advanced Diploma in Information Systems and Technology (56) as well as Advanced Diploma in Web Computing (38).
Muhd Syahmi bin Hj Sulaiman, one of the students taking Interior Design, said, "I am very proud and honoured to be accepted into Brunei Polytechnic.
"I hope that I can upgrade my skills at Brunei Polytechnic, which uses a 'Hybrid Teaching Model', whereby it uniquely combines the best of traditional approaches to teaching and learning as well as problem-based learning, placing a special emphasis on the use of e-learning and new technologies."
Nurkhaironisah binti Hj Kamal Pasah, who has a National Diploma from Focus Computer School, also shared the same sentiments. "With Brunei Polytechnic, more people will be able to acquire skills that can help the progress of the country's development."
For now, the new Brunei Polytechnic is located at Block 2E at Jalan Ong Sum Ping. It was also established in line with the implementation of key educational policies, the Ministry of Education Strategy Map 2007-2011 and the new 3-tier qualification framework of TVE.
In his presentation during the orientation ceremony, Dr Hj Ashri bin Hj Ahmad, the Head of Brunei Polytechnic Secretariat, said, "The newly established Brunei Polytechnic's vision is to become a world-class institution that advances and imparts technological knowledge and skills using innovative approaches to teaching and learning.
"Its main mission is to equip students for gainful employment, so that they could contribute to the development of a workforce with 21st Century skills
"The academic structure of Brunei Polytechnic basically comprises three schools, namely Business and Finance, Information and Communications Technology, as well as Science and Engineering.
"All academic programmes offered will lead to the award of an Advanced-Diploma accredited by the Brunei Darussalam Technical and Vocational Education Council (BDTVEC). The curriculum has also been designed at a level that is equivalent to the current Higher National Diploma (HND)."
However, unlike the HND, courses in Advanced Diploma offered by Brunei Polytechnic could be completed within a two-year period with a three-month industrial attachment.
"Brunei Polytechnic will follow a semester-based model, in which there will be two semesters, comprising 16 teaching and learning weeks together with a one-week orientation period at the beginning of the year.
"There will also be two one-week semester breaks, two revision weeks, four examination weeks, two weeks reserved for exam re-sits and nine weeks of holiday."
As previously mentioned, the Brunei Polytechnic also employs the innovative Hybrid Teaching Model. This means that the teacher will be more of a facilitator to learning than a didactic conveyor of knowledge. Students will therefore be trained to become problem-solvers.
In essence, these core pedagogical principles will create a distinctive and innovative academic ethos that will attract prospective students to study at the polytechnic and also attract business and industries to take part in the developments of the curriculum and teaching as well as learning materials.
In order to be eligible to enter the Brunei Polytechnic, students must possess at least a minimum of one English-medium GCE 'A' Level on a relevant subject or, alternatively, the candidate must possess a National Diploma in the relevant field of study.
In an interview, Dr Hj Ashri bin Hj Ahmad added, "In the future, Brunei Polytechnic will be open to overseas students that are either students who have received scholarships from Brunei or private fee-paying students."
He also revealed that the Brunei Polytechnic is currently still waiting for its own building to be constructed under the NDP.--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin