Top honour for former Education Minister
Azaraimy HH

DUE to his numerous significant contributions to Bruneiís education development, the former Minister of Education, Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Lela Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abd Rahman bin Dato Setia Haji Mohamed Taib, who helped pioneered the Brunei SPN21 education system was one of the recipients of the Teacherís Day awards. The former minister was honoured with the Sultan Haji Omar ĎAli Saifuddien Education Award during the Teacherís Day celebration at the International Convention Centre (ICC) yesterday.

Recipients of Sultan Haji Omar ĎAli Saiffudien Award received an Honourary Certificate, $20,000 cash, souvenir and free medical facilities such as first-class ward treatment at all government hospitals in the country.

In an interview, Pehin Dato Seri Setia Awang Hj Abd Rahman expressed his gratitude to those who had taught him, either still living or otherwise, and wished a happy teacherís day to all teachers in Brunei Darussalam.

Speaking on the current changes that are taking place in the Brunei education landscape, Pehin Dato Seri Setia Awang Hj Abd Rahman believed that Brunei is heading towards success in terms of education.

He emphasised that Brunei has all the ingredients to succeed in education under the leadership of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalamís direction towards education development.

Brunei also has the financial resources to support all the relevant programmes.

He also pointed out that the level of education achievement in the general population is admirable and he expressed optimism that success is just around the corner for Brunei.

Pehin Dato Seri Setia Awang Hj Abd Rahman believed that despite the many challenges ahead, there will also be opportunities to be explored, highlighting the opportunities being created by the advancement of digital platforms and communication technology that can be taken onboard to benefit the teaching and learning environment in Brunei.

ďApart from that, we have to leave it to Allah the Almighty to give us the success we aspire,Ē he said.

Born on December 5, 1942, the former Minister of Education was once a stately figure who had contributed in steering the countryís educational development towards a higher standard. He held a number of ministerial posts including Minister of Development (1984-1986), Minister of Education (1986-1988), Minister of Industry and Primary Resources (1989-2005), and again Minister of Education (2005-2010). In 1970, he was the chairman of a newly established education commission, where in 1972, the commission produced an education commission report, detailing suggestions on the directions of the nationís education system at that time.

Pehin Dato Seri Setia Awang Hj Abd Rahman was also the chairman of the National Education Council, chairman of Universiti Brunei Darussalam Council, and chairman of the Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali Council. On August 15, 2009, the national figurehead was also elected as Chairman of the Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB) Supreme Council.

His contribution towards the development of the nationís education cannot be doubted, whilst holding the minister of educationís post, he had contributed to a lot of forward-thinking changes in the nationís educational landscape.

Pehin Dato Seri Setia Awang Hj Abd Rahman was involved in the development and implementation of the 2007-2011 Ministry of Education Strategic Plan, a document that laid out the direction of the Ministry of Education and Ďstakeholdersí to ensure all departments under the Education Ministry were always on the right path to achieve its vision and mission.

Under his leadership, the nationís 21st Century Education System (SPN21) was introduced. This became Pehin Dato Seri Setia Awang Hj Abd Rahman most significant and obvious contribution. The SPN21 has dramatically contributed to the development of the nationís education system, which became a significant milestone in the history of the nationís education system.

Other than that, the former minister also led to the establishment of the second university in the country Ė the Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) on January 1, 2007.

Pehin Dato Seri Setia Awang Hj Abd Rahman also played a leading role in the changes of the direction in the tertiary education, which also resulted in the establishment of the Permanent Secretary (Tertiary Education) and Tertiary Education Division at the Ministry of Education in 2008.

Also under his leadership, the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Institute of Education (SHBIE) was upgraded into a graduate school in early 2009, where the Institute offers a Master of Teaching (MTeach) programme for prospective teachers, other than offering PhD.

Other than that, Pehin Dato Seri Setia Awang Hj Abd Rahman was responsible in bringing the Pengiran Anak Puteri Rashidah Saadatul Bolkiah Nursing College to the Medical Institute, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, which was later known as Pengiran Anak Puteri Rashidah Saíadatul Bolkiah Institute of Health Sciences on May 19, 2010.

Pehin Dato Seri Setia Awang Hj Abd Rahman also involved in the effort in updating the Teachers Service Scheme (SPG), in order to provide attractive and competitive service scheme for teachers and to encourage top graduates to enter the teaching profession.

Pehin Dato Seri Setia Awang Hj Abd Rahman received various awards and recognition from inside and outside the country, among which includes Honorary Doctorate in the field of Law from University of Hull, United Kingdom on 1991 and Honorary of Literature from Universiti Brunei Darussalam. Other than that, he was appointed as Honorary Fellow by University of Wales Cardiff (UWIC), United Kingdom since 2010 and Member President Advancement Advisory Council (PACC) by National University of Singapore (NUS) since 2011. - Borneo Bulletin (26 September 2013)