National Education System

The Ministry of Education Strategic Plan 2007-2011, outlined its mission to provide holistic education to achieve fullest potential for all. The Ministry of Education (MoE) is committed to providing an educational system that progress our young generation for the future role as capable, creative and thinking citizen. This is in view that students will spend their adult lives in a multitasking, multifaceted, technology-driven, diverse and vibrant world, and they must be equipped to do so. Thus, Brunei Darussalam’s education system aims to nurture every child and to help all students to discover their talents, realize their full potential, and develop passion for life-long learning.

In January 2009, the MoE has embarked on the National Education System for the 21st Century or Sistem Pendidikan Negara Abad Ke-21, in short SPN21. The SPN21 brought three major changes in the education system namely, the education structure; the curriculum and assessment; and technical education.

The SPN21 allows highly capable students to complete their secondary education in a shorter period of time (four years) instead of five years. The SPN21 provides multiple pathways for students to choose programmes that suit their capabilities, interests, inclinations, growth and development; thereby catering to their needs. It also reflects the ministry’s desire to ensure that our students complete at least five years of secondary education before embarking on postsecondary education or employment. This is enshrined in the National Education Policy (1993) of providing every student with at least 12 years of education. Nevertheless it is mandatory for all school aged children between the ages of six and below 15 years to attend 9 years of formal education (Mandatory Education Order 2007).


Pre-school Education
Children enter the education system at the age of 5 and stay at the pre-school level for one year. This reception/foundation stage emphasizes the socio-emotional development and personality and prepares the learners for primary education.

Primary Education
The duration of primary education is six years. Students go through a three-year lower primary level (Year 1 to Year 3), and another three-year at the upper primary level (Year 4 to Year 6).

At the end of Year 6, students take the Primary School Assessment or Penilaian Sekolah Rendah(PSR), which assess their suitability for secondary education and place them in the appropriate secondary school course that will match their learning pace, ability and inclination. Students who attain five ‘A’s in their PSR will be channeled to the science schools.

There are two plans that is being adopted for students having special educational needs that is the Individualised Education Plan (IEP) and Remedial Education Plan (REP). These plans would be able to modify or/and adapt the curriculum based on their ability and needs.

IEP is designed for students who have been identified with a high support of educational needs. Modification in the curriculum and changes in the teaching and learning strategies are highly needed to cater according to the nature of their individual special needs.

REP is mainly for students with learning difficulties especially in basic skills such as reading, writing and mathematics.

Secondary Education
At the secondary level, students have the choice of four programmes designed to match their learning abilities and interests. Students undergo four or five years of secondary education. All students will follow a common curriculum for the first two years of their secondary education which are Year 7 and Year 8.

General Secondary Education Programme
This programme is meant for students who are more inclined towards academic subjects. Most students will be in the 5 year programme, sitting for their Brunei Cambridge General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level (BC GCE ‘O’ Level) at the end of year 11. Selected students who are excellent in their Year 8 performance will be in the 4 year programme and will sit for their BCGCE ‘O’ Level at the end of year 10.

• Applied Secondary Education Programme
This programme is designed for students who are more inclined towards vocational education which is more hands-on and project-based approach in learning. At the end of this programme students will have broad introduction to the vocational sector whereby students can develop personal skills to prepare them for the working life in vocational sector. These skills and attributes coupled with basic and key skills met to the qualification will form the basis of successful studies in Higher Education. Within the Applied Secondary Education Programme, the Special Applied Programme (SAP) is offered at Year 9.

• Specialised Education Programme
This is a 5 year programme for the gifted and talented students who by virtue of outstanding abilities are capable of exceptional performance in general or specific ability areas. The curriculum designed for the gifted and talented students focuses on differentiating the content, process, product and/or the learning environment with increased breadth and depth of the subject matter. Opportunities are made available for extension, enrichment and acceleration, or the appropriate combination of these approaches within the differentiated curriculum. These will be determined by considering the students’ various learning needs and strengths.

• Special Educational Needs Programme
Special Educational Needs Programme at the secondary level is a continuity of the Individualised Education Plan (IEP) in primary schools. One of the Special Educational Needs Programme that as been implemented in secondary schools is the Pre-Vocational Programme.

This five year programme caters to the needs of selected/identified students with special educational needs at the secondary level. Besides developing their basic academic, living and social skill, the programme also seeks to instil vocational and work skills through appropriate work placements. Completion of the programme aims to produce independent individuals striving towards their fullest potential.

Post-Secondary Education
After Year 10 or Year 11, students can proceed to either one of the following post-secondary institutions for further education or training.

• Sixth Form Colleges/Centres (Pre-University Level)
Students who have obtained adequate and relevant BC GCE 'O' level results may proceed to the pre-university level. At this level, most students follow a two-year course leading to the GCE Advanced level ('A' level) examination. Those who complete 'A' level courses with adequate and relevant passes may be eligible for entry to the four local universities or be awarded scholarships for further studies abroad.

• Vocational and Technical Education (VTE)
VTE imparts to young learners the skills needed in the world of work. Under the SPN21, Skill Certificate and Diploma programmes are taken by students who have completed upper secondary education to prepare them for work as skilled workers or technicians as well as for progression to higher level technical studies.

  • Students who have completed their BC GCE ‘O’ level have the opportunity to progress to technician programmes at certificate level. Upon completion of the certificate programmes, students may progress to higher level technical studies.
  • Students who have adequate and relevant BC GCE ‘O’ level results may proceed to take up Diploma courses.

Tertiary Education
There are four universities in Brunei Darussalam. The course duration ranges from two years for the diploma programmes to four years for the undergraduate programmes.

  • Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) was established in 1985 and offers diploma, undergraduates courses, as well as the degrees of Master and Doctor of Philosophy. It has ten faculties namely, Academy of Brunei Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty of Business, Economics and Policies Studies, Faculty of Science, Pengiran Anak Puteri Rashidah Sa'adatul Bolkiah Institute of Health Sciences, Institute of Asian Studies, SOAS Centre of Islamic Studies, Continuing Education Centre, Language Centre and Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Institute of Education.

  • Sultan Sharif Ali Islamic University (UNISSA) was stablished in 2007 and it focuses on Arabic Language, Islamic History and Civilisation, Islamic Law and Islamic Finance. It offers diploma, undergraduates courses, as well as the degrees of Master and Doctor of Philosophy. The university has four faculties and three Research Centres namely, Faculty
    of Arabic Language and Islamic Civilisation, Faculty of Usuluddin, Faculty of Shariah and Law, Faculty of Business and Management Sciences, Centre for Promotion of Knowledge and Language Learning, Madhhab Shafi'i Research Centre and Centre for Postgraduate Studies and Research.

  • Institut Teknologi Brunei (ITB) was established in January 1986 and upgraded to a University status in October 2008. It offers Higher National Diplomas (HND) and Undergraduate Degree Programmes in the areas of Engineering, Business and ICT. It has two academic faculties namely the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Business and Computing.

  • Seri Begawan Religious Teachers University College (KUPU SB) was established in 1975 as an Islamic Religious Teachers’ Training College. In 2007 it was upgraded as a university college. KUPU SB is under the purview/jurisdiction of the Ministry of Religious Affairs. It offers diploma, higher national diploma, post-graduate diploma and undergraduate courses, as well as the degrees of Master in Islamic teaching. It has three faculties and three Centres namely, Faculty of Education, Faculty of Usuluddin, Faculty of Shariah, Centre for Core Knowledge, Language Centre and Centre for Postgraduate Studies and Research.