Friday, March 10, 2017

Brunei Minister of Education: Ministry of Education Budget 2017/2018 $666.5 Million


B$666.5M allocated to MoE
on: March 10, 2017

| Danial Norjidi |


THE Ministry of Education (MoE) will have a budget of B$666.57 million for the 2017-2018 financial year.

This was announced yesterday by YB Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Suyoi bin Haji Osman, the Minister of Education while delivering a speech during the fourth day of the 13th Legislative Council (LegCo) session.

The minister expressed his gratitude to the government for the trust and support in providing MoE with a budget of B$666.57 million for the 2017-2018 financial year.

He shared that, from the ministry’s budget, B$498.79 million has been allocated for staff wages, while B$167.78 million is for recurring expenses, and B$19.82 million for development expenditure.

In the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the MoE had received an allocation of $726.65 million.

“The MoE will ensure that all its plans are actionable and realistic, as well as cost-effective, so that all issues can be handled in an effective way through a delivery approach to achieve the desired outcomes,” said the minister.

He affirmed that the MoE will strive to ensure that this budget is used well while being prudent in spending, in line with needs and priorities.

The ministry, as the lead agency in developing and shaping human resources, will continue to support the goal of realising Brunei Vision 2035, especially in producing citizens who are educated and highly skilled, he said.

The minister touched on the National Education System for the 21st Century (SPN21), which he said is designed with the intention to equip the people of this country with the knowledge, skills and attitude as well as values that are appropriate for facing the requirements of this century.

SPN21, he continued, is now in its eight year of implementation and has undergone multiple changes and positive achievements which include, among others, the opening up of opportunities for multiple pathways in education, strengthened technical and vocational education, the establishment of the Brunei Darussalam Teachers’ Academy (BDTA) to improve the professionalism of teachers and instructors, implementation of Brunei Teachers’ Standards (BTS), implementation of the Literacy and Numeracy Standard, improving school ecosystems and infrastructure that supports 21st Century teaching and learning as well as the improvement of evaluation systems and so on.

He shared that to realise SPN21, the MoE has from time to time drawn up strategic plans that contain a number of initiatives in five key areas that have key performance indicators and targets.

These areas are: the quality of teachers; quality of schools and educational institutions; student achievement and success; participation in education; and the quality of post-secondary education.

In addition to the aforementioned key areas, the MoE also plans improvements in the following: professional development at every level; quality leadership at every level; quality teaching and learning; and emphasis on health, safety, security and environment at every level.

“Towards producing a teaching workforce that is able to deliver holistic education to produce successful students who will be able to meet the country’s need for dynamic and sustainable development, MoE is actively implementing continuous professional development through the BDTA.

“This initiative aims to improve the knowledge and skills of teachers to enrich the students with the knowledge and skills of the 21st Century.

“A Teachers Professional Development Framework is also being implemented as a professional teacher development programme in a more systematic way to create and enhance the effectiveness of Professional Learning Communities development efforts among teachers and school leaders.”

He then touched on the Literacy and Numeracy Coaching Programme, which he said is an initiative to make systemic improvements in the quality of teaching and learning of literacy and numeracy in schools.

This initiative engages the services of professional development experts as well as experts on teaching literacy and numeracy as the main agent of change.

Its main objective is to produce quality teaching of English Language and Mathematics by effectively using the best pedagogical practices to produce students who have high literacy and numeracy skills.

The minister also noted that MoE together with the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA) has established School Standards to ensure a higher learning environment that supports teaching and learning excellence by ensuring systematic and balanced development.

“Through these School Standards, various methods will be developed by schools to improve school effectiveness by carrying out strategies that can improve the quality of teaching and learning, and improve the quality of human resources at their respective schools.

“We should be grateful for the facilities that continue to be provided for students, including educational services, bus transportation services, school meal plans, boarding facilities, scholarships both in the country and abroad, including the Miftahun Najah Assistance Scheme for students from less fortunate families and so on.”

He highlighted that with their provision, the MoE will continue to strive to improve the quality and productivity of educational services through various initiatives and at the same time optimise existing resources.

“These austerity measures are a good opportunity for the MoE to review expenses to avoid wastage and services that are not productive or do not generate value for money.”

The ministry also recognises the importance of reflecting on and evaluating the efforts that have been carried out over the years.

He shared, “Through this self-reflection process, it has been realised that not all the initiatives conducted have been fruitful or fulfilled their intended targets, and there also ones that are less resilient because of not being monitored well.

“Thus, MoE needs to make a number of changes, specifically by ensuring: enhancing the internal system to be more efficient; high quality leadership at all levels; a process of change that is more thorough and organised to be more efficient and of quality; and most importantly is the ability of the MoE in ensuring that the teaching and learning carried out at are of truly high quality.”

The minister said that, in this regard, MoE is continuously reviewing SPN21 for improvements and progress enhancement, in line with developments at a national level as well as globally.

One initiative that is being undertaken is that of Dialogic Teaching and Learning, which he explained the means of using the power of speaking or dialogue between teachers and students, and developing their learning and understanding.

“Learning through dialogue not only leads to content knowledge but also better thinking skills,” he said.

“This is in line with the aspirations of SPN21 which aims to foster and generate a set of abilities and skills such as communication skills, thinking skills, problem solving, self-management and competitive skills, which will lead to the development of high order thinking skills.”

He shared that the MoE will also continue to cooperate closely with other ministries and government agencies as well as the private sector in undertaking initiatives related to education and the formation of human resources.

As an example, he shared that, in knowing the needs and demands of work and the shape of skills that are required for each profession, MoE has collaborated with the Manpower Policy and Planning Unit (MPPU), Prime Minister’s Office and various stakeholders such as the FDI Action and Support Centre (FAST) and industry members including micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

“Through this demand-driven approach, the MoE will be able to ensure the kinds of courses and levels of courses conducted are always relevant, balanced and have curriculum content that is in line with meeting the marketability needs of students and graduates of educational institutions.”

He highlighted that, at the same time, the MoE also gives full support to any efforts by other ministries and agencies towards strengthening human resource capacity, such as the ‘I-RDY’ apprenticeship Programme.

The minister said that the MoE has responded well to this programme, which is considered to add value to graduates of higher education institutions, strengthening their capacity, applying their knowledge and enhance their skills.

“MoE will ensure that the study programmes offered at public institutions of higher learning and the ‘I-RDY’ programme will have synergy in producing high calibre, knowledgeable and highly skilled citizens,” he added.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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