The Golden Jubilee of Teacher Training in Brunei

Together with about a thousand guests at the Chancellor's Hall at UBD, we watched His Majesty signed the plaque to commemorate 50 years of teacher training in Brunei. The noble institution which started as Brunei Teacher Training Centre and today, as the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Institute of Education has trained so many of our teachers and with them the future of Brunei Darussalam. I have said enough about the nobility of the profession when I posted an entry about Teachers in Brunei Society not that long ago. Of course His Majesty has said the same thing more eloquently yesterday. But one of the issue that he pointed out is the need to return the honour back to the teaching profession:

"...We must glorify it forever because teaching is not easy and not all can shoulder (the responsibilities that come with it). It is a difficult task and needs the right qualities and qualifications."

Another point raised in His Majesty's titah was the need to restructure the teachers' scheme of service. That I agree entirely and a topic for another day.

Today I would just like to bring up some of the comments that were written earlier when I wrote that entry and I dedicate today's entry to all the teachers out there. Thank you so much.

-13- noted: "I too believe that teachers are, I quote, sculptors of the young minds. And yes, teachers do stay for a long time in one's memory when very much appreciated. I know some who look down on this career path and it upsets me to hear that. Thank you for posting this up, for voicing out what needs to be heard."

Fishes agreed on teaching being a noble profession: "Teaching is indeed an honourable profession. Most teachers have one appealing quality that is their passion of teaching : palpable and a valuable asset which money can't buy."

Obi-chan noted on the dedication of teachers: "Some of my close friends have by now been well immersed in the teaching profession. One of them is absolutely appalled at his Form 1 students still being incapable of forming a proper simple sentence in English, and has been persevering on his own initiative to make his classes more interesting, using an assortment of toys."

Di agreed: "...teaching really is a noble profession. there aren't many jobs where you can truly make a difference in others lives. it's just a shame that not many young people realise this."

Di also pointed out that: "...a lot of graduates who are bonded under the MOE scholarship are offered jobs and teachers, but unfortunately, they simply see the teaching profession as a stepping stone to "something better". and even sadder are ubd graduates, who spend 4 years getting a degree in education, complaining when they are asked to teach and desperately searching for "a better job"..."

Perhaps this may all change with a better scheme of service?

The young but wise Akatsuki have changed her mind about the teaching profession: "I remember at one point in my life, I've grown arrogant that I looked down on teaching profession. I saw people who could become nuclear scientists or math genius chose teaching as a career. I was shocked, thinking of how their talents would be wasted. But now I know that being a teacher is one way of passing knowledge and wisdom. Teachers reach out for the youth, they can be the most influential people in the students' adolescent lives. Think of a teacher who not only teaches his/her subject to the students, but also make them feel understood, make them feel heard and make them feel that they have a place in this world. Teachers who give hope, who inspires and befriends."

A teacher calling himself/herself "Mads" agreed: "'s my CALLING..."

A very experienced "Jen" also voiced his/her opinion: "...very inspiring comments from Mr. BR on the teaching profession, from a teacher who is passionate about her chosen vocation and loves, not so much teaching per se but more so (dare i say it} the moulding?/ grooming?/ challenging? of young minds to go beyond and take the path less trodden. Success is seeing your students become young accomplished individuals living meaningful lives and contributing back to society. 30 years in education and I am merely a senior education officer, yet my belief that the teaching profession is the cornerstone of a nation's progress and success, is more firmly entrenched than ever. The existing set-up in the teaching profession is not infallible and hopefully under our able leaders we will strive to go beyond the mundane and nurture the unique individual in each and every child in our beloved country. CONGRATULATIONS! to all teachers. YOU have chosen to be a teacher because YOU can see the child in each individual student. Viva la Brunei!"

Though an anonymous did not agree with everything I posted but I don't blame him or her, there are aspects of the education career that may be lacking (think of a better scheme of service for instance) and he/she said: "Yeah,yeah. I've heard it again and again. Teaching is a noble thing. Bla, bla, bla! But org Brunei cakap tidak serupa bikin. Do we get a lot of respect? No! It's just plain talk! Only few appreciate us. Why don't you work as a teacher and see the real situation." And feeling regreful later apologises: "Sorry if my comment seemed harsh but your view about teaching in brunei is one-sided." No apology needed my friend, I agree, not everything is as rosy as people say.

Thank you to all my teachers at the long list of institutions that I have attended in the past - Sekolah Melayu Bukit Bendera Tutong, Sekolah Melayu Datu Mahawangsa Lambak, Brunei Prep School Lambak, Brunei Prep School Bangar, Berakas English School, Teluk Kurau Secondary School Singapore, Queenstown Secondary Technical School Singapore, Anglo-Chinese Junior College Singapore, St Andrews Junior College Singapore, Keele University England, Harvard University USA, Heriot Watt University Scotland and Universiti Brunei Darussalam and not forgetting my religous schools - Sekolah Ugama Lambak, Sekolah Ugama Madrasah BSB (including the overflow classes at Masjid Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien) and Sekolah Ugama BPS Bandar. Thank you, thank you and may the Al-Mighty bless you all.


Anonymous said…
I know it's not Teachers' Day yet, but I thought I will wish all my teachers and my ex-Teachers, all the best in your undertakings! and thank you.
hello jen: my father was a civil servant and posted to various around Brunei and we ended up in all 4 districts and i was born in 1 and went to schools in the other 3! i attended the secondary school in brunei for about 3 months before going to singapore. then in singapore, i actually attended only 2 main schools but they have this program that allows you to enter earlier without waiting for your proper GCE results, two of those schools were only for a two to three month period while waiting for my proper results. the universities are my first degree, two masters and an executive development program. the religious schools - in those days only certain schools had morning sessions, so had to go elsewhere. so i really had a myriad of schools. i forgot to include the further education schools for languages in the evenings! that will add more schools to my list. i am probably extremely unique in being in so many different schools throughout my student life.
Anonymous said…
As a bonded scholar who didn't major in education I'm still unhappy with the constant funneling of UK graduates into education for no reason other than "national needs".

This is the main reason why MinDEF made up its own scholarships- because they are sick of MOE stealing all the potential in Brunei.

Don't start with the Kennedy quote of what I can do for my country- I know what I want to to do for my country, and can I help it if it isn't teaching? I know people with great degrees in Mechanical Engineering, Accounting, Psychology (like me), even Pharmacy and Communication Technology- all teaching subjects like English ,Mathematics, Commerce.....

I'm totally disappointed with the 'pro-teaching' attitude in MOE- education is about goals that reach out beyond teaching and learning and into application. The current system only forces us to lower our skill level and put our lives on hold because in teaching there is no way up until you're nearer to 40 than 20.

Beware of scholarships- oyu may need them, but they condemn you to a lifetime of regret and uselessness.

Nothing against teachers themselves, mind you. Just those who have been funnelled, sorted, filtered, spat out and (beep) ed on when all we wanted was a career.

Fellow bonded people, let me as you this- do you feel like your degree was worth it now? I sure as heck don't, and I'm still wiping the brown stains off my face.
Anonymous said…
Teachers' Scheme of Service is nothing new. The paper was prepared by the first person who received recognition from HM during the celebration. Can u imagine how long that was? SUTs have changed,I still wonder whether the present one has completed it. At the end, any career you choose is not a matter of love, but financal remuneration.
There is no incentive to work hard and get various qualification when the inferiorly qualified get driven to office. The Scheme of Service will change the quality of teachers in schools.
Anonymous said…
I agree with the above. This 'Scheme of service' issue needs to be address promptly. Not only for techers but other professions as well. I am quite suprised that my own scheme of service as a medical officer (even with honours at first degree level and full professional qualifications... and then some more) lags behind the BAS scheme.

Where I qualified from professionals are better recognised and acknowledged and usually renumerated better than administrators, even reaching Minister of State levels with similar qualifications.

At this rate, one might do better to quit medicine altogether and go into 'administration' due to the better career prospects.

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