Grads told to fit into job market
By Farah Ahmadnawi

His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah the Crown Prince told graduates at the Institute of Technology Brunei (ITB) 18th convocation to keep pace with the current situation of limited jobs in the country. The Crown Prince congratulated the graduates of Intake 22 and lauded the institute's continuous efforts in nurturing skilful and dynamic graduates.

"I would like to express congratulations to the 270 graduates who will be receiving their higher national diplomas in their respective fields. This success has also come about as a result of the concerned efforts and commitment of the lecturers in educating and guiding graduates," His Royal Highness said and advised the graduates to equip themselves with extra knowledge and skills to be able to compete with others in the job market

"The success of the graduates today will result in an increase in the availability of skilled workers in the employment market. Nonetheless, I wish to remind graduates that the diplomas they will receive represent the first step towards greater success in the future.

"It is therefore necessary for graduates to continue to equip themselves with more knowledge and enhance their skills so that their efforts will be consistent and relevant to the current developments as well as capable of fulfilling the skill sets of the employment market and thereby increase their career opportunities."

His Royal Highness added that graduates are urged to preserve their moral values and maintain a positive attitude to aim for improvement in line with their aspirations of their nation, community and country.

"The matter is in line with ITB's efforts to introduce MIB as a subject in the undergraduate programme to ensure that graduates will not only achieve academic excellence but also be capable of embracing the country's philosophy of the Malay Islamic Monarchy."

His Royal Highness also highlighted the institute's initiatives to introduce more newer and efficient programmes in hopes to upgrade the university status and academic quality in line with the recent elevated status of the institute in becoming a university.

"Being a new university, ITB must devote even more effort towards achieving excellence, and make itself capable of competing with other higher learning institutions in the region, be it in terms of producing quality graduates or in terms of expertise and skills that its academia can contribute to the community and national development.

"Towards this, steps that must be taken should include the creation of joint programmes with other centres of learning overseas through endeavours such as exchange of students and lecturers, twinning programmes and research projects.

"The elevation in status to a university will enable ITB to offer more new programmes including those at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. I was made to understand that ITB is actively making preparations to offer local undergraduate programmes in the fields of engineering, business information technology and Internet computing which will commence in August 2009."

His Royal Highness added, "I also understand that besides local undergraduate programmes starting from this year, ITB will also be introducing twinning undergraduate programmes with the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in the field of petroleum engineering and chemical engineering."

Thus, His Royal Highness expresses his hope that through these new programmes, it will be beneficial in bringing positive development to the nation's oil and gas industry.

"With the availability of these programmes, we hope more locals will obtain qualifications in the fields of petroleum and chemical engineering that will thereby make a positive contribution to the country's oil and gas industry sector.

"In this regard, I would advise that ITB continue to emphasise practical methodologies in their teaching and in their students' education as these methodologies have greatly assisted ITB in producing marketable graduates since its establishment."

His Royal Highness also expressed his gratitude to the Brunei Shell Petroleum Company and Shell International Exploration and production for contributing a sum of $1.5 million per year for the development of the two new programmes in the institute.

His Royal Highness encouraged other members of the private sector to participate and involve themselves in the development and enhancement of the education sector in Brunei.

Furthermore in His Royal Highness' sabda, the Crown Prince also stated that "in addition to actively making plans and implementing new academic programmes, efforts towards stimulating research activity as well as increasing the involvement of members of the academia, particularly local lecturers, must be given attention because one of the mechanisms in evaluating the success of a higher learning institution is its involvement and achievement in the field of research.

"Our country requires even more researchers who will be capable of making useful contributions towards the country's development through creative ideas and innovative new discoveries."

His Royal Highness finally reminds the students that "through determined efforts and solid support of relevant parties, I believe ITB will be able to achieve its vision of becoming the leading higher learning centre in the field of technology and trade in this country." - Borneo Bulletin (17th May 2009)