BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) rector said the Islamic university’s new permanent campus in Temburong will help meet the uptick in student enrollment as well as accommodate new faculties and programmes.

For the 2018-2019 academic year, student enrollment increased by 10 percent, Dr Hj Norarfan Hj Zainal told The Scoop on the sidelines of the university’s convocation on Monday. But on average, they see admissions increase between 10 and 20 percent each year. 

The figure also reflects a rising number of international students, especially through inter-university student exchange programmes.

UNISSA rector Dr Hj Norarfan Hj Zainal gives a speech during the university’s 8th convocation ceremony on Sept 17, 2018. Photo: Infofoto

“The rise in student enrollment shows that UNISSA is increasingly becoming the choice for domestic and foreign students as a destination for both short and long-term Islamic studies programmes,” he said. 

“Currently, we have 1,400 students in the temporary campus in Gadong. Our projection shows that by the year 2025, UNISSA will have around 3,000 students. The new campus will be able to accommodate this.”

The planned new campus in Temburong — which will replace its temporary location in Gadong — was announced by His Majesty the Sultan on Monday.

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Construction is slated to begin in two years, on a 310-hectare plot in Mukim Labu, following the completion of the Temburong bridge in November 2019. The project has been allocated a budget of $100 million under the 11th National Development Plan. 

The new campus will also allow the university to offer new programmes to meet domestic job market demand, as well as national development goals, Dr Hj Norarfan said, citing the introduction of the Bachelor of Halal Science programme as an example. 

The rector added that UNISSA has joined the Association of Commonwealth Universities, a decision which was driven by the desire to elevate the academic reputation of the university in the international arena and develop a network of partnerships with varsities overseas.