Over the course of the recent years Brunei has seen major reforms to assist people and contribute to economic growth. For example, higher institution was set up along with an upgraded educational system that enabled Bruneians to have greater knowledge and skills compared to 40 years ago. In the past, Brunei’s population could only read and write in their native terminology, but the present population boast a high literacy rate of 94. 9 % (Kon, 2012).
This is parallel to numerous changes to Brunei’s education in the last forty years. This essay will discuss these changes in the country’s development of literacy and the educational system. According to the Economic Planning and Development Department (2008), the literacy rate has increased by 18% since 1978 and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) showed that, the literacy rate in Brunei in both adults and youths has increased to 91 per cent and 99 per cent respectively since 2004.
This illustrate the steady development of Brunei’s education system. The significant change was when the Brunei government started to impose The Bilingual Education Policy in 1975 (Stephan Chan, 2007) whereby it was made compulsory for students in schools to write and read both Malay and English educational materials to ensure high proficiency in the two languages. It was believed that this policy could enhance Bruneians communication skills which were required in the nation’s future prospects.
The Brunei government also acknowledged that effective education system goes hand in hand with literacy rate. (Brunei Times, 2012. ) In this regard, many Bruneians benefit the flexibility in choosing their education as various institutions and part time courses were introduced over the recent years, which enforced these institutions to inculcate communication skills to the pupils. Another significant change in the Brunei’s education development is the transition of the ‘7-3-2-2 pattern’ adopted in 1979 to the present day SPN21.
Fundamentally, the ‘7-3-2-2 pattern’ represented seven years of primary education including a year of pre-school, three years of lower secondary, two years of upper secondary or vocational education and two years of pre-tertiary education (Chan, 2009). In 2008, SPN 21 system was introduced whereby one was entitled for ‘an express status’ by advancing straight to year 10 without going through year 9 based on one’s examination performance. The emphasis of the system was to nurture wise, proactive students.
The basis of this reformation was part of an initiative for Brunei government to pursue the Wawasan Brunei 2035 towards educated, highly skilled and accomplished people, quality life, and dynamic and sustainable economy (Norhazlin, 2009). With this implementation, many Bruneian students are able to proceed to tertiary level at a younger age and adapt to the system which place emphasis on various skills and core values instead of just knowledge.
It is seen that the Bilingual policy has largely been the main catalyst to the high literacy rate in Brunei. The country realized the importance of being fluent in our country’s mother tongue while also realized the importance of English as the most commonly used foreign language in the world. The setting up of institutions in Brunei are also important as institutions are the grassroots in developing literacy skills. Whereas in terms of education system perspective, it is seen that SPN system has received mixed feedbacks.
While some lauded the SPN system, there are also some who expressed concern that the eradication of exams in favour of continuous project and homework will give teachers a difficult time to measure a student’s ability in coping and understanding a subject. For example, the skipping level of year 10 may cause stress and depression due to advance syllables that they could not handle which can cause their uneasiness to their future.
Conclusively, it seems that there is a positive progress of the evolution of education in Brunei Darussalam over the recent years. The country realized the need to equip its population with the 21st Century skills to unravel both social and economic challenges and thereby has made steady progress in policy introduction and system reforms as well as providing the population with proper education to empower them with good literacy skills as well as well-rounded individuals. 90 words. Bibliography: •Kon, J. (2012). Brunei’s literacy rate among world’s highest. Retrieved October 21st 2012 from http://www. brudirect. com/index. php/Local-News/bruneis-literacy-rate-among-worlds-highest. html •Brunei Literacy Rate Set For Big Increase. (2008, September 10). The Brunei Times, p. 22 •Chan, S. (2009). The Evolution Of Education in Brunei Darussalam. Retrieved October 18, 2012 from