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Become lifelong learners to survive Industry 4.0, says minister (2019)


Minister of Education Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman in a group photo with 5th High Officials Meeting of SEA-TVET delegates. PHOTO: JAMES KON

BY James Kon

The most important role for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is to prepare the workforce to learn and inculcate new knowledge with the rapid changes taking place today, Minister of Education Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman said.

“The key to survive in Industry 4.0 is the ability to become lifelong learners or otherwise risk becoming an illiterate workforce,” the minister said as the guest of honour at the 5th High Officials Meeting of SEA-TVET at the Centrepoint Hotel in Gadong on Monday.

In its continuous efforts to enhance the quality of TVET teachers, Brunei Darussalam embarked on establishing the Brunei TVET teacher standards (BTTS) which is aligned with SEAMEO’s Regional TVET teacher standard.

The Brunei TVET teacher standard provides a guideline on the essential competencies and skills for teachers that comprehensively prepare students for their transition to employment in the 21st Century.

The minister also stressed on the importance to further enhance skills and competencies of TVET teachers and trainers.

The minister said, “Brunei Darussalam has carefully sequenced strategies and initiatives to improve accesses to lifelong learning to enable the workforce, especially mid-career people, to upgrade these skills through our inclusive education policy. This aims to provide equal and equitable access to quality learning for all.”

He said TVET should be ready to embrace technological transformation as it will affect the way TVET prepares the future workforce where the importance of cognitive abilities and system skills over physical abilities is becoming more prevalent.

“Training programmes will have to keep pace with industrial trends and developments to stay relevant in the future. This can be achieved by enhancing the quality and relevance of TVET through well planned strategic initiatives such as curriculum upgrades, teachers’ training and promoting lifelong learning,” Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah said.

He added, “Brunei Darussalam has transformed its TVET system by repositioning Politeknik Brunei (PB) and also consolidating TVET schools to come under the Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE). This move is seen as crucial as the new governance structure allows both PB and IBTE to be responsive and to stay relevant to the social and economic demands of the 21st Century.”

He said one important aspect for an effective TVET is the curriculum.

Throughout the years, much focus has been placed on the curriculum to ensure the development of students’ practical skills and that institutional programmes meet the industrial standards and also produce job-ready graduates. However, TVET 4.0 poses new challenges as it requires curriculum to be more responsive and adaptive, he said.

“This traditional fixed curriculum and linear learning may no longer be relevant to our 21st Century students. To achieve this, it is vital that we ensure continuous curriculum upgrading remains at the forefront of the strategic plans of both PB and IBTE as we strive for quality TVET,” the minister said.

He believed that the meeting is a good platform to discuss the current collaborative works and the strategies to further enhance regional cooperation as well as to determine the directions and to improve responsiveness of TVET in Southeast Asian countries towards industry 4.0.

-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin


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