Don't hesitate to seek employment overseas
By Za'im Zaini & Azrol Azmi
Photo: Info Dept

Unemployment amongst graduates continues to exist in this country despite the various efforts undertaken by the government and the private sector to overcome the problem, said HRH Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office in his sabda at the 16th Institute Technology Brunei Convocation yesterday at the International Conference Centre, Berakas.

"In responding to this challenge, graduates should also be prepared to seize readily available opportunities even though this may require leaving the country to seek employment. This is one of the valuable opportunities to obtain experience at an international level that will enable them to join in the development of the nation when they return," said the Crown Prince.

HRH told the graduates that they should possess skills and knowledge, initiative, practical training, good communication skills and proficiency in the English language, in addition to the training gained from higher learning institution.

"These are some of the traits that should be addressed in order to make graduates more marketable in taking up more challenging jobs at an international level.

"I would also like to urge stakeholders in the country to continue to pursue efforts to ensure that any education programmes or courses that are to be offered, should be more focused towards areas or occupations in sectors which require them, in order to prevent graduates from mismatching their skills or acquiring irrelevant skills, which is one of the root causes of graduate unemployment," said the Crown Prince.

The initiative undertaken by the Ministry of Education in developing the "Strategic Planning for the Ministry of Education 2007 to 2011" is an important effort in creating guidelines for all educational institutions to determine the directions taken by their respective educational development plans.

"I would also like to stress the importance of quality of teaching, which represents a vital factor in producing a workforce with not only academic excellence but also the capabilities and skills as well as the confidence to engage the realm of entrepreneurship.

"Educators should strive to enhance their knowledge and acquire the latest or up-to-date knowledge. As the extent of knowledge of educators increases, there will be a corresponding knock on effect to the future accomplishments of their students," said HRH.

"They are expected to be able to turn out quality students capable of developing the nation and as leaders through the inculcation of positive and pious values in their students as required by the country, nation and religion.

"Inculcating excellence in ethics and work culture, productivity and discipline are amongst the traits that should be instilled in graduates who are about to become part of the workforce.

"This represents a major challenge in creating a generation possessing firm self esteem and great patriotism that adhere to the teachings of our religion and clear moral values," said the Crown Prince.

"The teachers themselves are responsible for upholding the good name of the teaching profession so that it will always be respected for its responsibility in the development of future generations.

"I would like to remind all graduates to constantly aspire to becoming citizens with a high sense of commitment, rubbing shoulders to work together in developing the nation towards a model society with pure values that distance themselves from any negative elements which threaten the well being of our communities and nationhood," HRH told the graduates.

The Crown Prince also urged graduates to use the diplomas as a platform towards a further and more extensive acquisition of accurate and comprehensive knowledge. HRH told them not to be complacent with what they have achieved and instead, use their resolve and determination to strive for excellence in their skills.

Institute Technology Brunei has also proven that ITB remains relevant in the eyes of the community by producing skilled graduates capable of supporting the nation towards the continued raising of the quality of life as well as economic development, HRH added.

"I have been made to understand that based on the figures of student applications to ITB from the year 2000 to the current year, the interest among youths has increased threefold. This is a direct indication of the confidence of this country's youths in the quality of education available and the rising popularity of courses offered.

"To meet the needs of this development, His Majesty's Government through the Ministry of Education has embarked on efforts to raise ITB's capacity to cater for the increase in student intakes. Such efforts should be bolstered to increase the capacity of ITB in meeting the needs of future increases in student intake.

"The support and assistance provided by the government is specifically meant to enable graduates to further their studies to a higher level, thereby becoming assets that will nurture a nation of knowledge and skills that will contribute to and serve the country.

"It is therefore the responsibility of graduates to prove to the community they are products of quality and responsibility, possessing great competitiveness and resilience, whilst being knowledgeable, highly skilled and dedicated," the Crown Prince reminded the graduates.

The achievements of ITB graduates as a whole indicate that they have been successful in entering the nation's employment market in the public and private sectors whilst a number of them have succeeded in furthering their studies at a higher level, said the Crown Prince and added that these exemplary achievements will ensure that more youths will be attracted to the prospect of enrolling into the courses offered at this institute.

"Graduates should also be reminded that they should not squander the opportunities offered whether from the public or private sector. Such opportunities should be fully utilised in acquiring to the fullest extent, experience, knowledge and skills, as well as giving full attention and commitment to raising the potential of their respective careers," the Crown Prince said. - Borneo Bulletin (22nd May 2007)