BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN — The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) has formed an 11-member youth advisory group that will assess the government’s performance in achieving the goals stated in the newly-launched National Youth Policy and Strategy 2020-2035.

The establishment of the advisory body is one of 16 initiatives outlined under the policy’s four core strategies, which were unveiled on Tuesday.

MCYS minister YB Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Aminuddin Ihsan POKSMDSP Hj Abidin said the youth advisory group plays a critical role in performing checks and balances on the implementation of strategies.

Legislative Council member YB Khairunnisa Ash’ari has been appointed to lead the group, the minister said during the launch of the youth policy.

The four core strategies outlined in the youth blueprint are: nationwide cooperation; culture of unity, education, accessibility and suitable employment; as well as youth empowerment.

The latest policy book aims to ensure the relevance of the National Youth Policy created in 2002, while taking into account the impact of globalisation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, YB Dato Hj Aminuddin said.

The minister said the new policy includes multi-agency action plans, deliverables, key performance indicators and input from youth associations.

MCYS launched The National Youth Policy and Strategy 2020-2035 on Dec 1. Photo: Rasidah Hj Abu Bakar/The Scoop

The national youth policy was produced after the ministry collaborated with the Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies (CSPS) to conduct the National Youth Survey 2018.

The policy also takes into account the Youth Development Index 2018, where Brunei achieved a “good” score of 65.1 percent, below the “very good” rating that reflects a high standard of living.

One of the initiatives listed in the policy was the need to plan for future jobs as well as identify the skills needed to reduce unemployment and underemployment.

Results from the national youth survey showed that a third of the respondents would rather work in the public sector with a lower salary than earn higher wages in the private sector.

It is not known how many people participated in the survey, but the government had previously targeted 4,000 respondents.

The document also stated the need to expand students’ pathways to higher education and improve the admission rates of Bruneians in tertiary education institutions.

Only 22 percent of youth were accepted to higher education institutions in 2016.

The ‘Volunteer Guidelines Book’ was also launched on Dec 1. Photo: Rasidah Hj Abu Bakar/The Scoop

Gov’t to launch volunteer app next year

The minister also announced that a ‘volunteer app’ will be launched early next year.

Dubbed “Mengalinga“, the app will streamline all volunteer programmes into one system, making it easier for volunteers to sign up for different programmes.

It will allow NGOs to upload their programmes and increase their visibility, the project manager Dr Muhammad Nuriskandar Mohd Hasnan told The Scoop.

The system will enable MCYS to collect data on volunteers in Brunei such as their demographics and areas of interest.

“At the moment, we still have not captured the real data of volunteers and programmes,” he said.

MCYS is developing the app in collaboration with Universiti Teknologi Brunei and Baiduri Bank.

Dr Muhd Nuriskandar said there are also plans to add more features to the app, which will be done in phases to provide volunteers with more resources and information on NGOs. 

An alert notification on natural disaster relief may be integrated in the app, allowing organisations to seek volunteers in times of need.

The ‘Volunteer Guidelines Book’ was also launched on Tuesday as a reference for organisations and individuals in organising activities that require volunteers.

The book was the brainchild of Legislative Council member YB Iswandy Ahmad.