Royal call to revamp religious education
By M K Anwar

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam called for a revamp of the religious education system so that everyone gains religious knowledge and become more wiser in this ever-changing world.

His Majesty said this in his titah in conjunction with the new Hijrah 1427 celebration, which was broadcast on national television and radio yesterday evening.

"We are currently in the middle of many regional and global issues that continue to affect us, which undoubtedly require us to be more wise and prudent.

"We must not shy away from facing such issues," said His Majesty.

"We must participate in the regional and global efforts to combat the different issues such as environmental issues, crime prevention and the prevention of diseases," His Majesty said.

The monarch added that our involvement in dealing with these issues is not only to fulfil the responsibilities as a member of the international community but also be motivated by the teachings of our religion.

"The Islamic religion has always taught us to respect fellow humans and not to practise hostility and segregation," His Majesty added.

Touching on the country's religious schools and education, His Majesty said that the government introduced the system half a century ago and people in the country have gained religious knowledge, especially through religious duties and reading al-Quran.

The ruler highlighted that a few years after it was introduced, religious education for adults was also implemented and since then religious schools have had an effect on our daily lives.

"Brunei is known for following a healthy religious practice," said His Majesty and added that it has never resulted in any disturbances in the country thanks partly to our correct understanding of it.

"I believe that this approach is perfect and must be appreciated and upheld."

The role of religious schools and education must also evolve in line with the development of our civilisation and our lives, said the ruler and added: "Without continuous evolvement, the civilisation and lives cannot appreciate its advantages."

His Majesty said he would like to see a bigger role for religious education to be implemented effectively.

His Majesty said the revamp and update of everything related to religious schools and education must be made, including the revision of its syllabus and curriculum.

"Our objective is to see people have a complete religious education and not leave anyone out," said the monarch.

Every Bruneian Muslim child must be taught to fulfil his/her obligatory duties. Because of this, we should look into an appropriate syllabus and curriculum, said His Majesty.

The summary of all objectives is that religious education can produce people who are religious, obedient and can be a guide to the 'ummah' with the right understanding.

"We must realise that our children are facing a different future not similar to what we faced before. The challenges faced by them require them to be knowledgeable and skilled. Not only that, they also need to be faithful which can enable them to be pious," said His Majesty adding that he believed the recently approved $250 million Human Resource Development fund would result in producing knowledgeable, skilful and faithful Bruneians.

Concluding the titah, His Majesty wished a happy new 1427 Hijrah and hoped it would bring more blessings and prosperity to the people and the nation. - Bornoe Bulletin (31st Jan 2006)