BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) will introduce a new three-year undergraduate degree in applied artificial intelligence set to begin in the 2022/23 academic year, the sultan announced Monday.

The programme is a collaboration between UBD and Coursera, one of the world’s largest providers of online courses, which also issues professional certifications from companies such as Google and IBM.

Speaking at the university’s 34th convocation ceremony, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah said that with rapid digital advancement higher eduction needs to remain relevant and “future-proof”.

“I hope that this [new programme] will make graduates more industry-ready, giving them a better chance of securing a job locally or abroad, and make them more independent and able to create job opportunities.”

The sultan added that it was time to review UBD’s GenNext curriculum: “In line with UBD’s vision of ‘National Relevance, Global Impact’, it is appropriate for the GenNext curriculum to be reviewed. I welcome innovation in programmes that practice blended learning methods, where graduates will not only obtain a degree, but also get a professional certification.”

Touching on employment, the monarch acknowledged efforts by UBD’s Lifelong Learning Centre to provide platforms for Bruneians to gain micro-credentials, such as the micro-bachelor’s and micro-master’s programmes.

This will allow Bruneians to upgrade their knowledge and enhance their career progression, he said.

His Majesty also applauded the university’s Modern Languages programme for achieving a new milestone by entering the QS World University Rankings by Subject at 330.

He added that overall the university seen a significant increase in research citations in the Times Higher Education World University Ranking. 

“In this regard, I very much welcome industry to partner with higher education institutions for research that contributes to national development.” 

The sultan also spoke on the need for students to develop social and emotional intelligence.

He stressed the importance of academic excellence, as well as instilling values such as perseverance, persistence, faith, loyalty and courage, which should be cultivated from early education. 

This year, a total of 1,028 UBD students were awarded degrees in Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD programmes, with diplomas presented by His Majesty and HRH the Crown Prince.