Royal call to uphold teaching profession
By Sonia K.

Calling the teaching institution an important element in the development process of the country, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday said that he wanted to see an institute of education in Brunei that is truly a teaching centre with its own niche to become well known regionally and internationally.

His Majesty said this in his titah when he officiated the Brunei Darussalam Teaching Education Golden Jubilee organised by the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Institute of Education at the Chancellor's Hall, Universiti Brunei Darussalam.

His Majesty said with the manpower and skills available at the institute, it is possible to achieve the vision. We only need to strengthen the authority, expand relations and network with other well-known institutions and at the same time sharpen the knowledge and skills.

A few decades ago, the teaching profession was well respected by the community. It was therefore not surprising that besides becoming teachers, some held high government posts. Teachers were also seen as someone who could be approached, including for attaining useful advice, said His Majesty.

"Now, the teaching profession is no longer the main choice for our students. It has become a profession that is less preferred. But the nation and community will continue to place this profession on top of others.

"We must glorify it forever because teaching is not easy and not all can shoulder (the responsibilities that come with it). It is a difficult task and needs the right qualities and qualifications. I hope the Institute of Education will fulfil its ambitions to produce good teachers. Towards this, it needs to find excellent students.

"Besides, the teaching services scheme must need to decide whether teachers with calibre should remain at schools or be transferred to other departments and promoted.

"This should not be made as a choice as the teaching services scheme appropriately provides a way for teachers to obtain a higher salary, in line with the level of their contribution," said His Majesty.

"The teaching institution is an important element in the development process of the country. Its enormous service has made us a community of literates, technologically sound and informative.

"In the context of developing human resource capabilities, it will be incomplete without the role of teachers in educating the nation. With the basis of their teachings, the country has fulfilled the needs of professional and skilled labour.

"In this respect, with the achievement of 50 years of teaching education in the country, it is appropriate for the teaching institute to have continued training sessions and preparations to attain quality teachers," His Majesty said.

"Teachers and would-be teachers must be provided with all round skills be it in teaching or general knowledge.

"The teachers produced by the institution must be knowledgeable and have characteristics associated with the teaching profession. They must be authoritative, dedicated, caring and committed to their tasks and responsibilities. If we have skilled and quality teachers, then we can hope to produce quality students.

"The success of these efforts will be seen when the teaching institute produces its own graduates who would not only be in demand to work at institutes in the public sector but also in private sector, locally or abroad," added His Majesty.

To produce quality teachers, all aspects of the teaching education, starting from input, training process, education and most importantly the teaching institute including its human resource must make quality and excellence its main target, His Majesty added.

"Also its products must fulfil the needs of the stakeholders in all aspects including skills, ethics and attitude which reflect on the teaching profession. If not, then the teaching institution would fail to fulfil the aspiration of the country and its people," the monarch said.

Present at the celebration were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, HRH Prince 'Abdul 'Azim and HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik.

His Majesty consented to present souvenirs to 14 former principals, directors and deans, assistant principals, assistant director, and assistant dean who held the posts between 1976 and 2000. His Majesty also consented to sign the Teaching Education Golden Jubilee plaque.

Later, His Majesty launched a Teaching Education Golden Jubilee book and viewed an exhibition. - Borneo Bulletin (11th August 2006)