HM: Reading culture needs a lift

National 1 minute, 58 seconds


HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam has urged intellectuals and teachers to go out of their way in imparting useful knowledge in every part of the country.

The monarch made the call yesterday in a titah at the opening of the Knowledge Convention 2011, in which he expressed concern about Bruneians' culture of reading and gaining knowledge.

Enliven community halls, surau or mosques and workplaces with motivational talks and lectures, His Majesty said, noting that Brunei's reading population may not be spending enough time on gaining knowledge.

His Majesty said that according to a study, there are developing countries where the reading population only read as much as one line a year and at most half a page in a year, while people in developed countries read only one page in a year.

"As for us (Bruneians), although there are no studies, we may just be in the 'one line a year' category or not more than one line a year," His Majesty said.

"If this is so, it is the country's responsibility to ensure that the people are truly knowledgeable, in other words, receiving and achieving knowledge through education and reading," the monarch added.

Projects and programmes to address this must be prepared and a strong reading culture must be prioritised in the country's development programmes, the monarch said.

Promoting learning in a formal manner would be the responsibility of the Ministry of Education, while informal promotion of learning can be implemented by various agencies and through adult classes where both intellectuals and teachers can help, His Majesty said.

"We should not let the people be without knowledge, for reasons such as their mosques are not able (to provide the opportunity) or the halls do not have facilities," said His Majesty.

Life-long learning is not uncommon in Islam, the monarch said, adding that there is no need to go to the East or West to get the best methodologies, concepts or philosophies because Islam has it all, His Majesty added.

His Majesty launched the three-day Knowledge Convention 2011, which was organised by the Prime Minister's Office and Ministry of Education.

Held at the International Convention Centre, the convention, themed "Education Shapes the Nation's Character", was held to mark His Majesty's 65th birthday celebrations.

The Brunei Times