In-house magazine highlights UTB milestones

National 3 minutes, 36 seconds

BRUNEI-MUARA

UNIVERSITI Teknologi Brunei (UTB) yesterday released a special issue of its in-house magazine to mark the university’s 30th anniversary.

Published in hardcover, the latest copy of UTBpulse charts the university’s milestones in reaching its third decade of establishment and features interviews with education officials as well as members of the UTB community.

Dr Hj Junaidi Hj Abdul Rahman, permanent secretary of higher education, in his message urged UTB to constantly upgrade its infrastructure and stay abreast of the industry’s technology.

“This is crucial for an engineering and technology university, where innovation should become the heart of its mission and development,” he said, adding it is also central to producing employable graduates in order to build employers’ confidence.

The permanent secretary pointed out the reputation of a university’s teaching or research academics also contribute to employers’ confidence.

As employers trust a university with good teachers who create an intelligent atmosphere of learning, he said UTB should make sure of the new Academic Personnel Service Scheme in recruiting the best academics to be part of its team.

He also noted that “entrepreneurialism” is a buzzword in higher education with universities worldwide shaping their graduates to become independent and risk-takers.

“The great thing about this is that we do not need to reinvent the wheel. We learn from the best and adopt ideas that fit well with our context and environment,” he said, calling on local higher education institutions to collaborate to generate new business ideas.

In a bid to add value to students’ learning, he pushed higher education institutions to create a curriculum together to include basic and advance modules on entrepreneurship.

Adjunct Professor Loo Yau Soon, who was recently appointed as CEO of Darussalam Enterprise (DARe), described to UTBpulse the importance of industrial placements to enable students “to understand what is happening in the real industrial and corporate world”.

He said the more industrial experience students have during their schooling, the more equipped they are for their future workplace.

“This allows them to make sense of what they are studying in school and allows them to direct their attention into fields and topics that are more critical and applicable... This is a great time for UTB to continue strengthening its collaboration with industries,” he said.

Citing Silicon Valley as an example, he highlighted that universities play a key role in the development of strong industries through “deep and multi-faceted” collaboration.

Soon Loo elaborated it involves joint research and development, students interning at companies, and industry leaders coming to the university to teach programmes that have strong links to the industries with possible advanced collaborations such as companies participating in incubators.

Meanwhile, Professor Dr Eric Dimia told the in-house magazine there are a lot of factors that need to be taken into consideration for UTB to be of the same calibre as major international universities.

“I think Brunei has a long way to go for its institutions to catch up with international institutions. There needs to be significant investment with an emphasis of significance in facilities and personnel,” he said.

According to the Faculty of Engineering dean and professor of mechanical engineering, the main challenge currently faced by UTB is its source of funding.

“With current economic challenges, funding is at a great strain, so we have to find ways to minimise impact of funding cuts, for good quality education,” he said, adding that motivation to have an institution or university should go hand-in-hand with investment.

Dr Dimia also underscored the need for an education drive or fair to inform locals about UTB and to further promote its university status.

“The misconception nowadays is still (that UTB only offers HNDs) which is not the case. We are the premier technology and engineering university in Brunei.

“We need to use technology, the aspirations of this generation, and tap into that significantly,” he said.

Siti Asmahlati Bolkini Hj A Ahmad, deputy director of International and Public Relations Office at UTB, disclosed the idea to create a special issue was put forward by the university’s vice-chancellor.

She said the editorial board, comprising various members of UTB, contributed countless hours and hard work into producing the UTBpulse magazine.

Copies of the latest issue were distributed to guests at a ceremony to launch the UTB name change on campus yesterday.

The Brunei Times