MoE targets 80% cut in jobless rate

National 2 minutes, 14 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE Ministry of Education has set four goals to be achieved by 2017, including reducing Brunei’s unemployment rate by 80 per cent.

Education Minister Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Awg Abu Bakar Hj Apong said around 20,000 school leavers are still looking for work, citing 2012 figures from the Department of Economic Planning and Development.

“The numbers may be insignificant to other countries, but for a small nation like Brunei, it represents five per cent of the total population, and if we allow it to continue without proper intervention, the number will increase and cause a bigger income gap between the rich and the poor,” he said.

The minister was speaking during an off-site meeting to discuss the ministry’s goals and seven “grand initiatives” to improve the 21st century National Education System (SPN21) yesterday.

He said increasing unemployment can also reduce the quality of life, cause negative impact on national economic growth and other implications.

The minister said Brunei also aims to achieve the top 50 rank in Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) by 2018.

He said achievements in core subjects such as Science, Mathematics and languages can be assessed through TIMMS and PISA. “For a developing country like Brunei, it is essential to take part in both assessment systems to ensure our education system is on par with other systems in the world or at least in line with the education system in developed countries,” he said.

Another goal was to climb the ranks in the Global Competitive Index, and to ensure Brunei’s education system meet employers’ satisfaction.

The minister said a high quality education system will ensure schools can produce high quality school leavers who are able to fulfil the needs of the government and private sectors.

He said economic growth in a country depended on people’s competitiveness and human resources development. In 2013-2014, Brunei was placed 26 out of 148 in the list for human resource development and competitiveness in the international level, the minister said.

“This is the reason we must achieve our seven grand initiatives so we could maximise and increase the quality of our human resources,” he added.

The seven grand initiatives are: literacy and numeracy; model schools; teachers; quality and professionalism; talent pipeline; leadership development; Brunei technical education and e-hijrah.

“Despite each of the grand initiatives run by certain departments, I encourage other departments to participate and form the supporting teams so that everybody will be involved in the programme,” he said.

The meeting yesterday was also set up to formulate the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) benchmark for the seven grand initiatives.

The Brunei Times