Minister of Education at CCCT Convocation ceremony
Bandar Seri Begawan - The future of education will not be totally classroom-oriented following an announcement made by the Minister of Education yesterday on the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as a tool to develop the country's human resource.
In a speech during the Convocation ceremony for 210 students of Cosmopolitan College of Commerce and Technology (CCCT), Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong said the Brunei Darussalam National Council of Accreditation (MKPK) has outlined criteria for Online Distance Learning (ODL) courses following the titah of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in September this year.
The three criteria for ODL include blended mode of study, referring to both face-to-face and online; that conditions of entry, duration, course content are similar with courses taken full-time and Masters and PhD courses are not professional fields that require hands-on or practical experiences such as medicine, engineering and architecture.
"The offer of ODL will pose as another option for further education," he said stating that not only will students from private institutions benefit from these "multiple pathway" changes but also those who are currently in-service, whether they are working with the government or the private sector as a means to improve we the country's capacity building.
"This form of education will provide a second chance and motivation to those who were not given the opportunity during their school days," the minister said.
With global challenges in the 21st century, the minister emphasised that the people of Brunei should equip themselves with relevant and current knowledge including the ability to produce new knowledge, possess skills as well as ICT know-how.
"In a world economy such as currently being experienced, what is valued as knowledge is 'new knowledge', and the term commonly used being 'knowledge-based economy' or 'k-economy'," he explained, referring to human resource that are highly skilled, ICT literate and efficient in the development of innovation.
"Higher learning institutions should be a step ahead in providing education that is able to furnish graduates with global knowledge and skills. These institutions should have long-term strategic plans that will strengthen their stance as an institution of quality," stressed the minister, especially considering that such institutions play an important role in realising the country's Vision 2035.
With the increase in student enrolment into private higher education from 365 students in 2008 to 1,481 in 2011 including the 984 Technical and Vocational Education scholarships, the minister called upon such institutions to provide education, training and development for the new generation who will one day become leaders.
"Private Higher Education institutions do not just produce graduates but also play a role in imparting education and bring about positive changes in their students," he said.
Though education with the private sector has recently become an option for students who wish to continue their studies, especially with scholarships offered by the government, those who run private academies have been reminded that "it is important to ensure that their programmes or courses are thoroughly reviewed to ensure that they are of high quality and are needed for the nation, not just based on their popularity".
In congratulating the graduating students, the minister reminded them that their persistence, commitment and discipline throughout their student life should transcend into their careers, where they should maintain and enhance these traits.--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin