University college for Religious teachers
By Azlan Othman

Heralding the new Hijrah year 1428, last night His Majesty announced the upgrading of Seri Begawan Religious Teachers College to that of a University College.

In a 'titah' marking the New-Year 1428 Hijrah last night, His Majesty observed that the religious teaching institution is very crucial to the nation. It should not be neglected, but nurtured and widened.

"In this country, one of the teaching institutions that need to be upgraded and developed is the Seri Begawan Religious Teachers College, judging by its age, which reaches more than 30 years.

"The objective of its establishment is to produce local religious teachers workforce, for us not to be dependent on the foreign workforce. Praise be to Allah, such aspiration has been achieved," the Sultan said.

Once we succeed in one stage, we should move to the next level, to polish up on much needed quality.

"How would we reach such a level?" His Majesty said "Definitely we could upgrade to the level of the College by giving it a new name and aspiration. I believe that the name and aspiration must be entirely consistent to 'teaching'. It is not appropriate to mix with other elements, as such a combination would probably dilute the original mission of teaching.

"Hence, in conjunction with the new-year Hijrah 1428, I wish to announce the Seri Begawan Religious Teachers College to be upgraded to become Teachers University College. It will be called Seri Begawan Religious Teachers University College.

"The university college will in time to come produce diploma and degree holders. By God's Will, the university college will run its first course in August 2007."

His Majesty observed that such an establishment would do Brunei proud as it can be considered as the only educational centre that ever existed in this region or beyond. "I am convinced that not only would it fulfill Brunei's needs but it's also ready to open doors to applicants outside Brunei."

Touching on the new-year Hijrah 1428, the monarch said, praise be to Allah, we enter the new Islamic year or Hijrah comfortably and blissfully. "And in order to receive everlasting blessing, let us intensify our thanks to Allah. Performing good deeds, known as pious activity is one way of showing our thankfulness to the Almighty."

"With such pious activity and performing all its rights, we could build a blissful family and making people and the nation happy," the monarch added.

We need to emphasise on the importance of education and learn to build and develop piety in people in order for them to succeed. However, success should not be judged by our capability to dominate knowledge. The absolute success is when the knowledge does not clash with good values.

"Who is capable of making knowledge not clash with good values?" His Majesty asked. The answer is, a teacher, who is the source of knowledge and builder of values. Without a teacher, knowledge and values will wither.

Hence in realising this fact, the teaching institution is crucial and should not be neglected. Instead, it should be nurtured and widened. And in Brunei, one of the institutions that need to be upgraded is the Religious Teachers College.

In concluding his titah, His Majesty hoped that the new Hijrah year would bring everlasting blessings to the people and the nation. (20th January 2007)