The strong emphasis by the Royal Government of Brunei Darussalam on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) has inspired the Colombo Plan Staff College for Technician Education (CPSC) to further explore cooperation with Brunei, having been a member of the Colombo Plan since 2008. On September 13, 2011, CPSC Director General Dr. Mohammad Naim Yaakub met with the Brunei Minister of Education, His Excellency Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia Hj Abu Bakar Hj Apong at his office in the Ministry of Education, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. The meeting provided opportunity to discuss the many areas of cooperation that CPSC and the MOE Brunei could explore to fast-track opportunities for achieving the goals of the SPN 21 (Sistem Pendidikan Negara Abad KE-21 or the National Education System for the 21st Century). SPN 21 has laid the emphasis on vocational and technical education and training as a means to achieve the mission and goals of the Ministry since the system was introduced in a transitional phase in 2008.
Brunei, a small but promising Southeast Asian country that has consistently showed efforts to equip the Brunei workforce with 21st century skills and meet the challenges of the century, would be a good addition to CPSC’s network of participating member countries which collectively work to improve TVET in Asia-Pacific region. Dr. Naim expressed CPSC’s desire to engage the cooperation of the Government in view of the potential contributions it could share with and learn from other neighbor countries. Under the new education system of Brunei, the Government is in the process of providing multiple pathways to give alternatives for students not inclined to pursue academic pathways or branch out to other career goals. The country also stands to benefit from cooperating with CPSC, an inter-governmental organization of 17 member countries for TVET improvement, by expanding its network and participation in TVET programs outside of the South East Asia. At present, Brunei is hosting the Regional Center for Vocational and Technical Education and Training (VTET) under the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO-VOCTECH) in the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan.
The CPSC Director General briefed the Honorable Minister, who was joined by Dr. Junaidi Hj Abd Rahman, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, about the benefits of being part of CPSC’s network. He informed the Education Minister of Brunei about the programs, projects and activities of CPSC in the context of a new TVET paradigm. He also shared information on the many benefits of the existing south-south cooperation currently implemented by CPSC in the field of TVET and persuaded the Government of Brunei to join CPSC’s network in continuation of the College’s drive to open new doors for cooperation with the Ministry.
The Minister shared the ongoing initiatives of the Government of Brunei in line with implementation of SPN 21. He expressed the Government’s willingness to study the proposed cooperation between CPSC and the Government of Brunei to partake of the benefits normally enjoyed by CPSC members and help Brunei further develop TVET in the country. He expressed his support on the recent renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding between VOCTECH and CPSC which, he acknowledged, would create opportunities for close liaison since VOCTECH operation is largely supported by the Government.
Also in the meeting were Mr. Alias Haji Abu Bakar, Director, SEAMEO- VOCTECH; Engr. Jahangir Alam, Specialist, CPSC; and Mr. Saiful Anuar Abdul Rahim, Specialist, SEAMEO-VOCTECH.
The meeting ended on a positive note with the Ministry optimistic about studying further the proposal and giving its feedback. The CPSC DG also met with Ministry officials from the International Cooperation Unit, the Brunei Darussalam Technical and Vocational Education Council Secretariat (BDTVEC), the Brunei Darussalam National Accreditation Council (BDNAC), the Department of Technical Education and the Maktab Teknik Sultan Saiful Rijal (MTSSR) from September 12-13, 2011.
With MOE Int’l Unit, BDTNAC and BDTVEC teams