National Seminar Empowering the Reading Culture

A TWO-DAY conference to highlight the importance of acquiring knowledge through reading and in building an educated community began yesterday.

The National Conference on Empowering Reading Culture 2013 was officially opened by His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Deputy Sultan.

In his remarks, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Hj Hazair Hj Abdullah, quoted His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam's titah, where the monarch urged the citizens to be more educated and learn to think through reading. Books and other reading materials are the mediums used to acquire a reading culture.

"Reading is one of the fundamental blocks of learning and a reading culture too can enhance the quality of life within a community and nation."

The minister hoped that with this year's theme centred on "Empowering Reading Culture", would assist in developing citizens who are educated, talented, critical, creative, innovative, analytical, imaginative and knowledgeable, who enable themselves as well as the nation to compete and benefit from global progress.

The objective of the conference is to realise His Majesty's emphasis on the importance of knowledge in the development of a nation especially in realising Wawasan 2035 as well as the support of the implementation of the 21st Century National Education System (SPN21) towards a better quality, educated and skilled life with a resilient and dynamic economy.

A keynote address was delivered by Minister of Education Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia Hj Awang Abu Bakar Hj Apong, who spoke about "The Importance of Reading in Realising Wawasan 2035".

In his address, the minister outlined eight strategies which the Ministry of Education (MoE) has been tasked to achieve within a span of 10 years. The strategies include investing in early childhood education; using the best international practices in teaching and learning; providing a high standard of education at the secondary and higher education level, including vocational schools, to produce experts, professionals and technicians required in businesses and the industry; strengthening the competence of info-communication technology (ICT) for students, teachers and education administrators, including the integration of ICT into the school curriculum; developing programmes that promote lifelong learning and increase access to higher education; encouraging research, development and innovation in government funded institutions and the institutions that are funded by public-private sector partnerships; using teaching methods that are cost-effective through the use of technology; and improving management of all educational institutions.

A total of 17 speakers are scheduled to deliver their working papers during the two-day conference, five of whom are from Singapore, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia and Japan. Today, another seven working papers will be tabled.The opening was held at the Rizqun International Hotel, attended by foreign dignitaries, ministerial officials, Language and Literature Bureau officers and staff, literature experts as well as members of the public. The Brunei Times


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