Governments and policy makers recognise the importance of Technical and Vocational Education (TVE) in the social and economic development of people and nations. A dynamic system, TVE faces many challenges, including the growing expectations of the young in an increasingly competitive global environment. But, despite the many efforts, the quality, standards and outcomes often remain elusive. The public image remains negative. National education systems continue to be driven by an over emphasis on academic education at the expense of building a quality TVE which can better serve the needs of individuals and the economy.
Brunei Darussalam, a small but “well-to-do” economy, is not immune to the dynamics and forces driving change in society and the world. In responding to the national vision of a modern, harmonious and progressive society, the 21st Century New Education System (SPN21) initiative was introduced in 2008 to build a more educated and skilled workforce. A strategic policy shift in education to support Brunei Vision 2035, SPN21 ensures that all students will have at least 10 or 11 years of schooling before progressing to the Sixth Form, Polytechnic or TVE under the Department of Technical Education (DTE).
Thus, the ultimate proposal in this white paper is the need to restructure and establish a new system of technical and vocational education which is better aligned with the social and economic needs of the country. It calls for a fundamental shift in policy and the transformation of the present system under DTE. Replacing the DTE, will be a new autonomous post-secondary educational institution called “Brunei Technical Education” (BTE). This paper provides the rationale, proposed changes and timeframe for transforming technical and vocational education in Brunei Darussalam.