‘SPN21 aims not yet fully achieved’

National 2 minutes, 24 seconds


THE National Education System (SPN21) has progressed but is still short of meeting some of the original aspirations set by the Ministry of Education (MoE), said a senior education officer.

Dr Hjh Huraini POKSJ DP Hj Hurairah, deputy head of the SPN21 Unit, said the ministry had recently finished reviewing the system and is planning to share the findings with parties concerned.

“(From the review) we found that progress has been made, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done,” she said during her presentation at the Early Childhood Care and Education International Conference yesterday.

At the Teachers’ Day and 100 years of formal education celebration in October this year, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, in his titah urged MoE to also look for faults and shortcomings of SPN21, and not just focus on its strengths and achievements.

The SPN21 was introduced in 2009 to transform education in Brunei to meet the requirements of the 21st century.

“It is not easy to do, and it is not a straightforward process,” Dr Hjh Huraini said. She mentioned that the original aspirations for SPN21 have not been fully met.

Her presentation shed light on the policies of SPN21 and how it translates in a classroom setting.

She said that although the plans and aspirations for SPN21 are “very high and very good, the magic happens in the classroom”.

Meanwhile, the Acting Director of Schools, Hj Abd Rahim Derus, said he had observed teachers reverting to teacher-centered pedagogies in classes where students were about to sit for standardised examinations.

He explained that SPN21 encourages teachers to use more student-centered pedagogies to engage students in 21st century learning.

“We are moving towards a knowledge-based economy, we cannot stay the way we were before, we need to align ourselves with the global trend and prepare our future generations,” Hj Abd Rahim said in an interview.

“Today’s children are digital natives, but if we continue to teach them how we were taught previously, of course they will get bored,” he added.

Based on his observations, teachers are pressured to produce students that perform well in examinations, such as the Primary School Assessment (PSR), O Levels and A Levels.

“Good results are expected by parents and the public (during examinations),” the acting director said, adding that assessments are the only way to measure the performance of students.

However, the observations are based on his two-month tenure as acting director of schools.

“It is difficult for me to pinpoint (the exact cause for this at the moment), maybe once I’ve been here for a longer period of time I might identify the cause.”

He said the ministry has taken steps to adjust how students are assessed, such as the introduction of project-based assessments in the SPN21 curriculum.

The Brunei Times