The UBD-APEN JAIF Multiversity Seminar 2016 was held on the 14th of November, 2016 at the Institute of Leadership, Innovation and Advancement (ILIA), Universiti Brunei Darussalam. The Multiversity Seminar themed, “To Develop an Effective Curriculum For Engineering Education” is one of the initiatives agreed upon in the MoU inked on the 30th of March, 2016 between the Advanced Institute of Industrial Technology (AIIT), Japan and Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) which formalised collaborations under the APEN-JAIF (Asia Professional Education Network – Japan ASEAN Integration Fund) Projects.
The main scope of the multiversity project is to carry out comparative studies of professional education systems at the higher education institutions. Along with UBD, other participating countries and universities in the APEN-JAIF projects includes the Institute of Technology Cambodia (Cambodia), the Institute of Technology Bandung (Indonesia), the National University of Laos (Laos), Universiti Technology Malaysia (Malaysia), Yangon Technological University (Myanmar), De La Salle University (Philippines), Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) and Vietnam National University (Vietnam).
In his welcoming remarks, Professor Chandratilak De Silva Liyanage, the Dean of the Faculty of Integrated Technologies said, “Today, it has been over three years since UBD and APEN (Asia Professional Education Network) signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which solidified our collaboration. Significant achievements have been made since then. Some of the projects include Project-Based Learning (PBL) through teleconferencing between Japan, Brunei and New Zealand, student and staff mobility and Innovation project competitions. This year, UBD has spearheaded a new and exciting collaboration between ASEAN countries and Japan through APEN under the support of JAIF (Japan ASEAN Integration Fund)."
"The MoU for APEN-JAIF was signed in March 2016 and it enabled us to broaden our scope to enhance the networking between ASEAN countries under two projects titled: Credibility Index for Small and Medium Enterprises (CIS) and the comparative studies of professional education systems in the higher education institutions of ASEAN countries.”
The benefits of this project are multi-fold: a successfully-mapped education system will provide the respective universities and institutions with a benchmark tool for curriculum development and the data obtained could be published as research.
Also mentioned by Professor Chandratilak De Silva Liyanage, “At Universiti Brunei Darussalam, we have undergone a major transformation of our education system in 2008. The curriculum is broad-based and multi-disciplinary. The curriculum underscores Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Innovation and Environmental Awareness in all our students. We call it the Generation Next curriculum or GenNEXT. We prioritise the importance of enterprise and are continually reviewing the curriculum to suit the needs of stakeholders. In fact, this kind of broad-based educational model is the preferred type of professional education system proposed under the Multiversity project map.
In addition, we at the Faculty of Integrated Technologies in consultation with Stevens Institute of Technology in the USA have pioneered in Brunei Darussalam, a unique ‘Design Spine’ curriculum in the Systems Engineering programme which involves the teaching of Engineering Design modules. This enables our students to be better prepared and exposes them to real-life engineering design problems as well as hands-on experiential learning.
UBD always ensures its existence will be relevant through mutual collaborations and partnerships with other universities and institutions. We will fully take advantage of these opportunities to the best of our abilities by collaborating with ASEAN and Japan. This Multiversity project helps us to shape our Engineering curriculum to align with the needs of the country and the region.”
Present at the seminar was Dr Chin Wei Keh, the Director of the Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE), Dr Seiichi Kawata, the President of AIIT and other APEN members, representatives from the participating universities & institutions and FIT faculty members.
UBD's flagship GenNEXT curriculum places emphasis on entrepreneurship, leadership, and innovation in students' studies. The broad-based transdisciplinary programme, designed for students to excel according to their individual learning styles, offers students the opportunity to develop leadership and entrepeneurial skills through experiential learning. Through its emphasis on entrepreneurship, UBD offers unique Engineering programmes with focus on business knowledge to equip engineering students with necessary skills to meet demands for interdisciplinary competence at the 21st century workplace.
UBD also actively improves its curriculum by partnering with top universities to provide dual degree programmes, which sees its students spending their studies with both in UBD and in partner universities. Such programmes include the Master of Public Policy and Management, partnered with top public policy schools in the U.S; and dual degree programme in Biodiversity, partnered with Korea University. FIT also offers the Chemical and Process Engineering programme in partnership with Zhejiang University in China.
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