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The Ministry of Education, Brunei Darussalam, is a member of both regional and international educational organisations, such as the Commonwealth of Learning (CoL), the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation (SEAMEO) the ASEAN Sub-Committee on Education (ASCOE), and the APEC Education Network (APEC EDNET).
The dynamic development in education, especially in the developed member countries of these organisations offer opportunities for Brunei Darussalam to emulate and adopt many good practices, thus avoiding the necessity of reinventing the wheel. Befitting the true spirit of regional and international cooperation, Brunei Darussalam undertakes its role and responsibility by making contributions in various forms as well as taking active parts in the activities organised by these organisations.
One of Brunei Darussalam’s significant contributions to citizens of the Commonwealth, to the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) and to the South East Asian Ministers of Education Organisation (SEAMEO), and to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been to provide opportunities for them to study at local higher educational institutions notably the University of Brunei Darussalam, the Brunei Institute of Technology, Pengiran Anak Puteri Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah College of Nursing, and the Sultan Saiful Rijal Technical College.
Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC)The Ministry of Education is involved in the activities of the APEC Human Resources Development Working Group (HRDWG), especially those of the HRD Working Group’s Education Network.
Brunei Darussalam has hosted two APEC HRDWG meetings, the last being held in May, 2000, in Bandar Seri Begawan.
The Deputy Minister of Education, on behalf of the Minister, attended the APEC Human Resources Ministerial Meeting in the Republic of Korea in 1997.
The Minister of Education attended the 2nd APEC Conference of Ministers of Education, held in Singapore in January 2000. During the Conference Brunei Darussalam and Thailand co-presented one of the four sub-theme papers.
Brunei Darussalam has also participated in several APEC Education Network Projects, and these would include : Teacher-Training and Professional Development in the APEC Region, Improving Understanding of Culture, Symposium on Technological and Vocational Education Curriculum and Instruction, Improving and Expanding Education Statistics, The School Based Indicators of Effectiveness, Development of an Information Bank of Instruments to Measure the Quality of Educational Processes in the APEC Region, APEC Study Centre, APEC Youth Networking 2000, APEC Youth Skills Camp, and APEC Youth Science Camp.
Brunei Darussalam’s involvement with ASCOE began in September 1992. Between 1992 and 1998 our involvement in ASCOE was confined to attending the sub-committee’s annual meetings.
The 7th meeting of this Sub-committee was held in Brunei Darussalam in September 1999. Brunei Darussalam’s participation in ASCOE’S projects began in 1999.
In particular, Brunei Darussalam took part in the Comparative Study on Employability Skills among secondary school students in ASEAN countries (1999) and the ASEAN Students Exchange Programme at the secondary level (2000-2002)
The Ministry of Education is involved in two ASEAN Committees namely the ASEAN Committee On Education (ASCOE) and the ASEAN Committee on Culture and Information (COCI).
With effect from 2006, the ASEAN Ministers of Education will convene their annual meetings back-to-back with the annual SEAMEO Councl Conference. The ASED will look into educational matters that do not duplicate the SEAMEO areas of concerns.
Brunei Darussalam has been a member of AUN since June 1995. A senior official from the University of Brunei Darussalam sits on the Board of trustees of the AUN.
The involvement of the University of Brunei Darussalam in AUN’s activities is also noteworthy.
Although the Ministry of Education is not directly responsible for the ASEAN-COCI for Brunei Darussalam, an official from the Ministry is regularly invited to the Committee’s national and regional meetings.
The Ministry of Education has also participated in programmes organized by COCI.
Brunei Darussalam became a member of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO) on 1st September 1985.
ISESCO is one of the specialised organisations under the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) which serves as a mechanism for the promotion and strengthening of cooperation among member states in the fields of education, science and culture within the framework of Islamic values and ideals, and for the preservation of the features of Islamic civilisation and its distinct characteristics.
Since its inception in 1982, the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation has been witnessing steady progress in its achievements. At the forefront of these achievements have been four important strategies, namely:
Strategy for the Promotion of Education in Islamic Countries (adopted by ISESCO’s Third General Conference, Amman , 1988).
Cultural Strategy for the Islamic World (adopted by the 6th Islamic Summit Conference, Dakar , 1991).
Strategy for the Development of Science and Technology in Islamic Countries (adopted by the 8th Islamic Summit Conference, Tehran , 1997).
Strategy for Islamic Cultural Action in the West (adopted by the 9th Islamic Summit Conference, Doha , 2000).
The Minister of Education and senior officials of the Ministry of Education attend the ISESCO General Conference, which is held every three years. Brunei Darussalam also has a representative on the Executive Council of ISESCO, which meets once a year.Brunei Darussalam’s officials have participated in conferences, seminars and training programmes conducted by ISESCO. Brunei Darussalam has hosted several programmes including:
Regional Workshop for officials of Islamic Education in Asian countries on ways to improve Islamic Education Curricula and Define Terminology, held at Universiti Brunei Darussalam from 26 to 30 September 2001.
National Workshop for Teachers to Introduce Them to Education Technology Utilization, held at SEAMEO VOCTECH, Bandar Seri Begawan , from 1 to 4 July 2002.
Brunei Darussalam became the 6th member of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation (SEAMEO) on 16 February, 1984. Two years later, Brunei Darussalam hosted the 21st SEAMEC Conference, held in Bandar Seri Begawan.
Brunei Darussalam also hosted the two SEAMEO Council Conferences of 1992 and 1998. Brunei Darussalam’s membership in SEAMEO has indeed been a productive one. It has actively participated in many SEAMEO training programmes and activities organised by its Regional Centres especially in areas concerning educational innovation and technology, science and mathematics, language teaching and linguistics, agriculture, tropical biology, archaeology and fine arts, and vocational and technical education.
The government contributes US$120,000 annually to the SEAMEO Educational Development Fund and US$11,635.98 to the annual operational budget of the SEAMEO Secretariat.The SEAMEO Schools Internet Project involves the participation of secondary school students. Three Brunei secondary schools are actively involved in the project. They have won two prizes thus far.
Brunei Darussalam hosts the SEAMEO Regional Centre for Vocational and Technical Education (SEAMEO-VOCTECH). It contributes over B$1 million to the annual operational budget of the Centre.
Established in August 1990, SEAMEO-VOCTECH is committed to the development of human resources in vocational and technical education and training (VTET). Its 2nd Five Year Plan was committed to making the Centre the "The Leading Centre of Excellence in Vocational and Technical and Training" in the region.
The daily operations of the Centre are motivated by its mission statement, which is: "To strengthen the VTET systems in SEAMEO member countries by enhancing capabilities through collaborative efforts incorporating research and development, programme initiatives, networks, partnerships and information services, thereby contributing to the development of a world class workforce".
In carrying out its mission, the Centre assumes three major roles:
Brunei Darussalam has a longstanding association with the Commonwealth. In particular, its links with the United Kingdom in the field of education date back to the 1950s.
Most of the current technocrats and high level government officials attended institutions of higher learning in the United Kingdom.
As a member of the Commonwealth, Brunei Darussalam has also benefited from programmes organised by the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation (CFTC).
The Minister of Education attends the Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (CCEM).A particular highlight of Brunei Darussalam’s collaboration with the Commonwealth of Learning was evidenced when it co-hosted the Pan - Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning held in Bandar Seri Begawan in 1999.
Brunei Darussalam assumed its membership of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) on 17 June, 1986.
Although Brunei Darussalam is not yet a member of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Brunei Darussalam has however been involved in a number of UNESCO Programmes.
Occasionally, the Ministry of Education and the University of Brunei Darussalam send officials to attend conferences organised by UNESCO, such as the regional conferences on higher education: "National Strategies and Regional Co-operation for the 21st Century" held in Tokyo (July 1997) and the Fifth International Conference On Adult Education, held in Hamburg, Germany (August 1997).
The Ministry of Education has always responded to requests from UNESCO especially in the provision of data for the UNESCO Statistical Yearbook. The Ministry has also regularly responded to UNESCO’s questionnaires such UNESCO’s Questionnaires on Statistics of Book Production in 1996; Questionnaires on Statistics of Education at the Third Level 1995-1996, and Questionnaires of Scientific Research and Experimental Development.Brunei Darussalam involvement in other UNESCO Education Programme are as follows:
Also with effect from 2006, ASCOE will be elevated into the ASEAN Senior Official Meeting on Education.
The Permanent Secretaries or equivalent of each Member Country’s Ministry of Education will become members of SOMED. SOMED Meetings will also be held back-to-back with the SEAMEO High Officials Meeting (SEAMEO HOM).
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