Human resource development crucial for nation's survival
Danial Norjidi

The development of local human resources and talent management is the key to nation's survival given that the country doesn't have a large population.

His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Deputy Sultan said this while delivering a sabda at the 21st Convocation of the Institut Teknologi Brunei (ITB).

"Thus, institutions of higher learning must always take into account the current needs of the labour market in developing curricula and programmes," continued the Deputy Sultan. "This includes coordinating the eligibility criteria which changes according to the nation's economic profile, compliance with market standards and best practices, as well as current technological developments."

HRH added that this means the curriculum and programmes should be enacted towards ensuring that they remain relevant to current needs.

It should be balanced with a teaching and learning approach that is compatible and consistent with current requirements, HRH said explaining that this is because the end-products of the programmes are also set to produce the same thinkers who will share the responsibility and role to promote and achieve the national vision.

At the same time, institutions of higher learning should also continue to play a role in exploring the fields of study that have the potential to contribute to efforts to diversify the economy and open up new quality employment opportunities, as well as attract productive investments.

With regards to this, HRH expressed his pleasure at a number of initiatives that ITB is undertaking towards expanding its share in developing human resources in the country.

These include increasing the proportion of educated and highly skilled people through the development of access to specific, appropriate programmes for those who have suitable basic qualifications, through the provision of part-time courses.

These courses are dedicated to providing opportunities for those in the working environment to increase the level of their respective academic qualifications and skills.

HRH added that this initiative is hoped to not only be a driver of career development, but also help retain talented workers in enhancing the competitiveness of their respective organisations.

The Deputy Sultan acknowledged that ITB has also been taking appropriate steps towards improving the quality of both the graduates and the programmes offered from time to time, including the values ??of ethics and ideals of a nation that is progressive.

Continuing on this point, HRH said that ITB shall continue to strengthen ongoing partnerships with employers and local industry, including small-scale approach in the local cottage industry.

"With this collaboration, both parties are hoped to mutually benefit, not only through a cooperative relationship framework, but also through long-term professional development," said HRH.

"From another angle, the direct involvement of industry sector in the formulation of current and relevant curriculum will then be able to increase the level of reliability in the market for graduates."

HRH also noted the steps taken by ITB in continuing to raise its profile among global universities through the establishment of a framework of cooperation with foreign universities that share the same aspirations, particularly to enhance the capacity of academic staff, student exchange and research in the areas of interest.

The Deputy Sultan added that web collaboration is also a forum to ensure that ITB has a role in regional and international educational arena.

"As a measure to raise the profile of its performance, I think ITB should always be aware of the current trend among institutions of higher learning at regional and international levels," said HRH.

"These include, among others, the ability of ITB to attract more quality students through the application of distinctive values ??and advantages of the academic programmes it offers to increase the reliability of their market value," the Deputy Sultan added.

It is necessary for ITB to further enhance the focus on efficiency in the conduct of research and innovation through the generation of financial resources in a sustainable way, highlighted HRH, stressing the importance for financing of research work to not only rely on 'one-off' financing.

HRH then underlined that the upgrading of ITB's ability in accelerating the process of developing and approving new programmes based on emerging knowledge and technologies is another important element to enhance the performance and profile of ITB.

"On this occasion, I would like to say congratulations on the achievement of successful outcomes from hard work and continuous support from all parties in this university, befitting the expectations for a high-impact learning experience.

"Finally, with its status as a university of technology, God willing, ITB will record its own history with first degree graduates from next year which will also serve as a benchmark for years to come," HRH added.

Some 384 graduates received their Higher National Diploma (HND) certificates yesterday, presented by HRH himself, who, in his sabda, also congratulated the successful students for their achievement, attributing their success to hard work and determination to develop themselves, as well as the high commitment of ITB's academic staff towards educating and guiding them to become highly valuable human resources.

"I very much hope that the knowledge, skills and positive attitudes that are embedded throughout into students to gain knowledge can be utilised properly," said the Deputy Sultan, stressing that this is important as a base because the graduates will enter a new world that is very challenging - the working environment, be it public, private or private enterprise.

HRH affirmed that the working environment is not only a place to make a living, but, more importantly, is the arena for graduates to strengthen the nation to be more productive as an engine of socio-economic development which is rooted in the knowledge.

"We realise that the country always requires graduates who are able to use knowledge in a proactive, creative and innovative way, and are also adaptable to the development and dynamics of the current economic challenges," HRH said.

Towards this end, the Deputy Sultan urged the graduates to continue with their efforts for gain knowledge and skills, even after leaving formal education, through the process of lifelong learning as a core feature of a progressive nation. - Borneo Bulletin (25 May 2012)