BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN –  Brunei’s higher education centres need close collaboration with industry in order to impart practical knowledge to young graduates, the monarch said on Wednesday. 

Speaking at the 30th convocation for Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD), His Majesty the Sultan said in a rapidly changing job market, education should focus on “21st century skills” that embrace digital technology.

“Our response to the [fourth industrial] revolution must certainly involve all stakeholders — the public and private sector as well as the community, which includes academics and graduates to work together to mobilise a knowledge-based nation,” he said 

HM the Sultan hands a diploma to a UBD student on Aug 29, 2018 during the varsity’s 30th convocation ceremony. Photo: Infofoto

His Majesty called on UBD and higher education centres to invest more energy into research and innovation, and congratulated the varsity on its first commercial patent of a smart coating product that protects surfaces from bacteria and mould. 

The technology — developed by UBD masters and PhD students, in collaboration with Pixela Corporation of Japan — was licensed to Smart Coating Technologies Sdn Bhd for manufacture and export overseas, with sales agents based in Brunei, Japan, Thailand and Myanmar.

The university-industry collaboration effectively commercialised UBD’s research into an internationally-recognised product.

Commenting on the success, the sultan said he hoped it would motivate more students to engage in research that has commercial potential. 

“I am confident that UBD will be called upon to conduct research in specific areas, such as cybersecurity, [a field] which still poses many unanswered questions.”

HRH the Crown Prince (3L) arrives at UBD on Aug 29, 2018 for the varsity’s 30th convocation ceremony. Photo: Infofoto

In his titah, the monarch also said that Brunei’s higher education system should put greater emphasis on life-long learning, developing programmes that provide citizens with opportunities to continually upgrade their skills.

“I am pleased to note that UBD now offers [life-long learning] programmes that are flexible in terms of time, location and learning approach.”

A total of 1,543 UBD students, ranging from undergrads to PhD candidates, received their diplomas on Wednesday, with His Majesty and HRH the Crown Prince presenting the certificates to the graduates in morning and afternoon sessions.

UBD graduates await their diplomas during the university’s 30th convocation. Photo: Infofoto