By Aziz Idris
His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday highlighted the crucial role teachers play in moulding the nation's character and producing a society that is progressive in all aspects.
In a titah marking the 21st Teacher's Day Celebration at the International Convention Centre in Berakas, His Majesty noted that the theme of this year's celebration "Guru Membentuk Syakhsiah Bangsa" (Teacher Moulds the Nation's Character) emphasises on empowerment.
It is important for teachers to be passionate with their profession, His Majesty observed, noting that the progress of a nation lies in teachers' hands.
"It is undeniable that the ingredients and skills required to develop one's character lies in the hands of teachers. It is because of such qualities that teachers are essential. Without teachers, character would not be able to be moulded," observed His Majesty.
Whatever the situation, only teachers can bring about changes, added the monarch.
Meanwhile, His Majesty touched on the need to make teaching experience as one of the general criteria when it comes to considering teachers' request to further their studies.
By making opportunities available for people to further their studies, His Majesty believes that the teaching profession would be made more effective, surpassing the expectations of the community.
In this regard, His Majesty lauded the strategic plan to operate a "polytechnic" using a temporary campus that has been scheduled to be operational in 2012. "Such a move would open doors to more opportunities for students (teachers) who are interested in furthering their studies."
The monarch also touched on Brunei's educational standing based on the 'Education for All Development Index', which currently stands at Number 34 out of 127 countries.
On ways that the Sultanate's educational standing could be improved, His Majesty suggested that children who come from less fortunate families should be given extended assistance such as providing transportation, financial aid and provision of hostels.
The caring monarch expressed his hope that such efforts would help reduce the number of school dropouts - a concern that His Majesty highlighted in a titah marking his 65th birthday on July 15, 2011.
His Majesty also expressed his appreciation to all awardees of this year's Teacher's Day Celebration. "I hope that this would give all noble teachers a motivational boost," said the monarch.
- Borneo Bulletin
(25th September 2011)