The Compulsory Religious Education Order 2012 that will come into effect on January 1, 2013 would not be realised if we could not provide religious teachers that are highly specialised to support the implementation of the order. Thus, the KUPU SB must see this development as a 'trust' to provide religious teachers who need it, said His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in a titah during the 2nd Convocation Ceremony for the Religious Teachers University College of Seri Begawan (KUPU SB) yesterday.
It was held at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Berakas.
His Majesty said religious teachers are not only responsible for solving their mere daily routines, but also to become more significant and able to instil awareness in their students in becoming pious individuals and perform good deeds as this is the main duty of KUPU SB.
"I understand that KUPU SB has offered academic programmes that other high education centres offer, such as a Bachelor's Degree, Masters Degree, Postgraduate Diploma and Higher Diploma.
I also understand that KUPU SB will also offer a Doctorate in Philosophy in Religious Teaching early next year," said His Majesty.
The monarch further stated that the introduction of the Doctorate in Philosophy in Religious Teaching will only be worth it if the outcome of it is up to standards. His Majesty reiterated that there should be improvements. Higher qualifications come with higher abilities, only then will the qualifications serve its worth.
His Majesty also stressed the importance of the field of scientific research and study to KUPU SB, as a Tertiary Education Centre will not be deemed successful if it is not able to explore this field.
"I am also delighted that KUPU SB, since its inception until now, is often seen organising conferences and seminars at national, regional and international levels, as well as having an understanding with centres of higher education abroad. This is also good, as long as the 'precautionary principle' is not ignored and be infiltrated by influences that are not in line with what we believe," said His Majesty.
His Majesty added, "This reminder is not only for KUPU SB, but also for all stakeholders in academic matters and knowledge. At this time there is a sort of tendency to call speakers from outside. This is principally good, but it would be inappropriate when we take the topics lightly and who the speaker is.
"We need to first look at what the relevance of the topic is to Brunei and the acceptance of it by the people of Brunei? If the topic and acceptance may be detrimental to the interests of Brunei or is in opposition to the importance of Brunei, is it then not better for us to not involve ourselves with it? Because there may be plenty of other issues or matters that could be suitable options," continued the monarch.
The beloved ruler explained that this move is made not to restrict the academic development, but is considered reasonable and healthy in order to avoid any underpinning issues that are redundant.
"For KUPU SB, education alone, especially religious education, has plenty of issues that can be studied. For example why is religious education considered important and even compulsory to learn? In what terms is it that important? And if it is important, why has Brunei ignored to make it an obligation for 50 years? And what are the consequences of not making it obligatory for 50 years?" His Majesty listed out.
His Majesty further stated that as a nation these issues need to be studied to find out our weaknesses, strengths, shortcomings and our potential, and then formulate a complete scholarly material with recommendations, methods and guidelines on how they might be improved. According to His Majesty, this is just one example of the many issues and urged the nation to strive to think and explore in the form of scientific research.
- Borneo Bulletin
(24 October 2012)