1,543 Celebrated at 30th Convocation
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Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) held its 30th Convocation to celebrate the graduating students of 2018 at UBD's Chancellor Hall today. The ceremony was graced by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Negara Brunei Darussalam, Chancellor of Universiti Brunei Darussalam.

This year saw 1,543 graduates from the sixth batch of UBD's distinctive GenNext programme, with 37 PhD graduates, surpassing last year's record of 36. The total number of graduating students also comprises 355 Master holders, 1,136 Bachelor graduates as well as 7 Advanced Diploma and 8 Diploma recipients.

Graduates of the PhD and Bachelor programmes (Engineering, Arts, Business and Health Science) received their certificates during the morning session, while graduates of Bachelor of Science, Masters, Advanced Diploma and Diploma programmes received their certificates in the afternoon.

In a titah prior to the presentation of certificates, His Majesty highlighted that amidst a fast-changing global market, the fourth industrial revolution will see digital technology also changing the way we live and work. "Responding to this revolution will involve the public and government sectors as well as society, which includes academicians and graduates, who will work together to build the nation through a knowledge-based economy," His Majesty said. "Therefore, it is fitting for UBD and other institutions of higher education to place an emphasis on sophisticated 21st Century skills for education and research." His Majesty also called on industries to play an important role, by sharing practical knowledge of industrial trends and the job market.

His Majesty lauded UBD's efforts in further developing its lifelong learning programmes. With its flexibility in terms of pace, place and pathway, cutting-edge education and research will contribute to effective economic development. Vice Chancellor of UBD Datin Dr Hajah Anita Binurul Zahrina Pehin Orang kaya Laila Wijaya Dato Seri Setia Haji Awang Abdul Aziz, in her opening remarks, stated that the flexibility of these programmes have enabled students to improve their knowledge and skills without taking them away from their current occupations. Since the establishment of the Centre for Lifelong Learning (C3L) last year, a number of faculties in the university has also offered programmes based on the concept, offering more opportunities and choices to the community. "UBD intends to offer flexibility in all of its programmes in the future," she announced.

This year's Convocation Exhibition featured a diversity of UBD entrepreneurs, which range from classical business models to technology and patent start-ups.

Each exhibitor was connected by three factors: the first is the ability to generate sustainable income, the second is the ability to show growth and expansion strategies, and lastly, the graduate must provide employment opportunities to locals and graduates. The culmination of their studies, knowledge and experiences translates to an economic prospective that benefits not only their self but also the nation.

In the modern and minimalistically designed showcase, the spotlight was on the selected businesses and founders who studied in UBD. Each exhibitor had a narrative of struggle and passion that is able to rise above the challenges to their present success.

In the order of the exhibit, UBD presented the first company known as Smart Coating Technologies, a graduate-owned business that has effectively commercialised the university's research into an internationally recognised product. It is also the first company to be granted licensing by UBD to manufacture and export its research.

The second exhibit presented Solar Brunei, a local company that specialises in the installation of solar power to homes and industries. One of their most memorable achievements is their collaboration with 1StopBorneo Wildlife in Sabah, which provided electricity to less fortunate communities in Belaga, Sarawak.

The next four exhibits were known as the "UBD Entrepreneurs", each demonstrating their business models and acumen that has not only provided self-employment but also the commendable ability to hire local students and graduates.

The exhibits showcased under this category were: Al-Raed, a regionally known fashion company that was founded by a graduate of UBD's incubation programme; Ae.bn, a videography and photography company made successful by the passion and personal philosophy of UBD's graduate and founder; Malai Ezzan Enterprise, a snack and candy catering service that has expanded beyond Brunei borders and now also operates in Malaysia; and Educhamp, which is an academic tuition school that has one of the largest number of tuition centres in the country, employs over 70 staff and supports more than 300 students across the Brunei-Muara district.

The Convocation Festival known as Pesta Konvo, in conjunction with the Convocation Ceremony, is a month-long celebration of UBD graduates' success and includes various activities and events. Themed "I.L.M" which stands for Innovation, Leadership and Mastery, the launch of Pesta Konvo on 16th August 2018 showcased a variety of exhibitions to celebrate the success of its current and graduating students. This year, UBD aims to explore its collective knowledge and research to focus on its key strengths, which include the fields of Environmental and Biodiversity research, sustainable development and green energy.

UBD leapt up the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings this year by a substantial 26 places, now placing at 323 in the world. In the QS Top 50 Under 50 world rankings, UBD rose up three places to 34. For young universities, UBD is now ranked 16th in Asia and 6th in ASEAN. Among small universities based on QS World University Rankings, UBD is ranked 16th in the world, 5th in Asia and number 1 in ASEAN.

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