Commemorative exhibition showcases phases of formal education in Brunei
Zee Yusri

FORMAL education in Brunei Darussalam began when the first Malay school was established in 1914 and since then, the education sector has expanded rapidly, with a number of Chinese schools, English schools, and Arabic schools today.

Within a century, the formal education system in the country has achieved excellence and dynamism – always improving with the times in today’s globalised world. It has continued to grow through focused initiatives in technical, vocational and religious education.

This development is in line with the needs and requirements of the country to produce a new generation of leaders, who are knowledgeable with dynamic personality, through implementation of the Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB) concept.

A commemorative exhibition was set up to celebrate the 100 Years of Formal Education in Brunei Darussalam and was toured by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam during the Teacher’s Day Ceremony held yesterday at the International Convention Centre (ICC).

The exhibition highlights the significant education developments from 1914 until 2014. It is presented in the form of a journey line which is divided into four phases.

The phase one exhibition (1914-1950) showcases education as a tool to prepare the nations – with preliminary steps to ensure that all citizens have basic education and eradicate illiteracy. Education before 1914 was conducted at private residences, halls, suraus and mosques. The early development of formal education also started with the establishment of the Malay, Arabic, Chinese and English schools.

During the World War II era, education was more focused on teaching, learning Japanese language.

In the second phase (1951-1967) exhibition, the focus is on the effort in driving education for national development and enhancing the nation through the tales of reputation of Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien. His leadership has led to an era of education through socio-economic and political development.

Also in this phase, basic education provision of development of the first National Development Plan (1953-1958) was implemented.

It also showcases the Education Policy 1954 which shaped the educational landscape of the nation by awarding of scholarships, free food scheme as well as free health and dental services at schools.

There is also an exhibition on the education expansion showcasing additional education trends and establishment of more Malay and English schools, religious schools, Arabic schools, private schools, Chinese schools, classes for adults and British Malayan Petroleum Company (BMPC) School of Crafts. This phase also focuses on the quality of teachers as the basis in shaping the community. It concurs the establishment of the Brunei Teacher Training Centre and Brunei’s Malay Teachers’ Training College.

The phase three exhibition (1968-1983) displays His Majesty’s determination in enhancing education and developing the country to meet international standard of education as well as His Majesty’s commitment in modifying efforts in developing the education system of Brunei.

Furthermore, this phase showcases the teaching institutions as pillars of educational development; technical and vocational education as a catalyst for the economic progress of the country; and education as a catalyst for national advancement.

The exhibition on display in the fourth phase is the initiative in promoting the nation in the international arena through education with the theme, ‘Education Empowers the 21st Century Generation Nation’. It touches on education leadership, policy and sustainable education act, strengthening of the curriculum and assessment, modernisation of education infrastructure, institutions of religious education, recognition of quality education, higher education institutions, SPN21, innovative technology and creative transformation of technical and vocational education, as well as the standards of professionalism, and the direction of the National Vision 2035.

Prior to the touring of the 100 Years of Formal Education Exhibition, His Majesty consented to launch and toured the Balai Kenangan Exhibition which showcased the education journey of the royal family members. - Borneo Bulletin (10 October 2014)