Experts & skills the key
By Lyna Mohamad

The success of the implementation of the nation's National Development Plan greatly relies upon human resources that are highly knowledgeable and skillful, coupled with a strong sense of self-identity. His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah the Crown Prince, Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office and Pro-Chancellor of UBD, highlighted this in his Sabda at the launching ceremony for the 20th Anniversary of the Establishment of UBD yesterday.

HRH the Crown Prince said that the nation will always require the resources of experts and a skilled workforce in order to sustain the development of the nation. Strategic planning and integrated programs are thus crucial to generate the development of human resources and UBD's role is that of one of the implementing agencies, he added.

The 20th anniversary represents a milestone as the nation's premier institute of higher education and the experience and achievements attained since its establishment has allowed UBD to mature greatly.

HRH noted that the celebration was an ideal juncture for academicians and administrators as well as other parties to assess the university's capacity in-line with its "A First Class International University, A Distinctive National Identity" vision.

"It is intended that the scenario for the nation's development be highlighted with positive qualities amongst which includes firstly, human resource development that is balanced to meet the needs and requirements for economic development."

Furthermore, HRH in highlighting the positive qualities of the nation's development, said it includes the increase in number and quality of local entrepreneurs who make the most of emerging opportunities and also the consistently low level of unemployment.

Another positive quality highlighted is a workforce which explores initiatives and incentives that support the economic development process and lastly, a workforce that is alert for opportunities and does not subscribe only to the 'work for a salary' culture.

The Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office added, "Towards this end, the country needs citizens with knowledge, proficiency and skills in all disciplines so that the process of national development including the fields of administration, management, science and technology can be addressed effectively."

Expressing his pleasure on the 3,600 undergraduates compared to the inaugural intake of 176, the Crown Prince underscored the positive achievement of the local academic workforce that makes up over half of the overall UBD academic staff.

This achievement is a most meaningful contribution to the nation's development and in looking further ahead, the university should also always strive in enhancing its quality and performance by updating and reviewing the programmes it offers.

"The programmes should not only be in-line with current developments, relevant and marketable not only locally but is also appropriate for the regional and international job markets," advises HRH.

The field of Applied Research should also be enhanced to support the development of Small and Medium Enterprises thereby enhancing the competitiveness of local products, he said.

Local participation as pioneers in carrying out research in areas required by the nation will be an addition to developing post graduate programmes and also further strengthen UBD's credibility and image and at the same time contribute to the process of national development.

HRH pointed out that the field of research is known to represent a benchmark in assessing the success of a university's achievements and with the participation of both private sector and government agencies it can further expand and develop study programmes whilst also contributing in the form of specific funding or sponsorships to further support the productivity of programmes in an institute of higher education.

Both the government agencies and private sector are expected to make optimal use of UBD facilities and expertise, the field of research in particular, HRH noted.

"The UBD motto 'Toward Human Perfection' can hopefully be realised in producing perfect human beings, not only knowledgeable, but also with strong morality, personality and Aqidah".

This, HRH added, can only be achieved through the effective delivery of the compulsory "Malay Islam Monarchy" course, which God-willing will become a shield for our intellectuals against the influence of undesirable elements.

This is one of the unique traits of UBD in comparison to other higher education institutes worldwide where graduates can take into heart the MIB philosophy with its "being Bruneian", being responsible, having customs and traditions, being knowledgeable, having piety with a far-reaching vision in facing the challenges of globalisation characteristics, concludes HRH. - Borneo Bulletin (15th Jan 2006)