On Saturday, 21st March 2009, the first Bruneian Postgraduate Symposium (BPS) was held at the Brunei Gallery, School of Oriental African Studies (SOAS), London. Ranoadidas elaborated on the aim of the symposium:
This academic event aimed at facilitating research discussions between different academic fields and how students feel their research will contribute to our nation’s development.
Also featured during the symposium were the three keynote speakers who were flown from Brunei to attend this event. They comprised of the top university officials in Brunei, namely Dr Haji Zulkarnain bin Haji Hanafi (Vice-Chancellor of University of Brunei Darussalam), Dr Hj Mohd Yusop bin Hj Awg Damit (Deputy Rector of the Sultan Sharif Ali Islamic University) and Dr Hj Supry bin Hj Awg Ladi (Head of Research at the Institue of Brunei Technology)
Ranoadidas also reported:
The keynote speakers delivered impressive speeches in highlighting the importance of research and their current efforts to improve the quality of research in their respective institutions. They were also engaged in a very interesting and stimulating dialogue with members of the audience where significant issues such as data accessibility in Brunei were raised.
There were 3 separate panels on that day – education, national identity and public policy. Below are the list of papers presented under each panel:
Achieving a 30% participation rate to higher education in Brunei Darussalam by 2018: Are there presence of barriers to participate as perceived by Year 11 students? – Julaihi bin Mohamad, MA Policy Studies in Education, University of London
Writing in Brunei primary schools: Literacy in English in relation to cultural capital – Malai Zeiti Bte Sheikh Abdul Hamid, PhD in Education, University of Bath
Inclusive education and educational diversity: a reflection on research in Brunei - Hajah Huraini Bte POKSJDP Haji Hurairah, PhD in Education, University of Oxford
National Identity Panel:
Islam and Democracy: Paradox? - Hazwan Md Jaya, Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy, SOAS
Feels like home - Dayangku Laila Widari bte Pengiran Bahrin, Diploma School (RIBA Part II), Architectural Association, London.
Understanding the values of art history from a Bruneian perspective - Nuruljannah Binti Hj Mohd Yussof, MA in Art History, University of Wales, Aberystwyth.
Public Policy Panel:
Studies in transport geography – Sabrina Hj Mohd Daud, Dept. of Geography & Environment, LSE.
Evaluation of obesity management in primary care in England using existing survey and GP data, and identifying lessons learnt for the health care system in Brunei Darussalam – Nik Ani Afiqah Hj Mohd Tuah, Dept. of Primary Care & Social Medicine, Diversion of EPHPC, Imperial College of London
The pragmatics and neurotics of moving towards e-public sector - Farihah Hj Mohd Said, MSc Analysis, Design & Management of Information Systems, LSE
Increasing compliance at the workplace with behavioural principles – Noor Hidayah Binti Hj Osman, MSc Behaviour Analysis, Swansea University.
Source: 2009 Bruneian Postgraduate Symposium
A student who offered to report on the event for Brunei Times (one of the local newspaper) recorded the views of some of the participants.
The symposium was an eye-opener for Siti Munawwarah Awang Tarif, who said getting a glimpse of other students’ research work was informative and thought-provoking.
“Seeing other people's work and perspectives in various disciplines opened up ideas for me,” said the Masters in International Health student, and hoped that the symposium would become a regular event.
Hazwan Azri, a PhD student in Chemical Engineering, agreed, but hoped future symposiums would also include research on science and technology.
The symposium provided an oppprtunity for the Bruneian postgraduates to exchange ideas, opinions and concerns amongst eachother. Some of the frequently raised topics of discussion were on difficulties of accessing resources and data on Brunei for academic research. Turquoise and Roses wrote on the overall turn out of the event, and conveyed a message from the organising committee:
Overall, the event turned out to be a great success. It received amazing support from the keynote speakers as well as members of the general audience. This collective act of academic exploration highlighted Brunei’s burgeoning intellectual capital and this will be a worthy asset in the course of our nation’s development.
The committee would once again like to thank those who came to support the event and the hope is that next year, the symposium will be bigger and cover a wider range of academic fields.