Language Issues in Universiti Brunei Darussalam
Dr Gary M Jones
Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
Universiti Brunei Darussalam
([email protected])
(Language Issues in English-Medium Universities Across Asia
Hong Kong University, 8th-9th June 2006)
NEGARA BRUNEI DARUSSALAM
5,770 sq km
365,251 people (July, 2004)
Malays 67%, Chinese 15%, Indigenous 6%, other 12%
Muslim 67%, Buddhist 13%, Christian 10%
Indigenous beliefs 10%
Literacy 93.9%
GDP per capita purchasing power parity - $23,600 (2003 est.)
The official language of the State shall be
the Malay language and shall be in such
script as may by written law be provided.
1959 State Constitution
Article 82(1)
(i) To make Malay the main medium of instruction
in National Primary and Secondary schools as
soon as possible in line with the requirement
of the constitution.
(ii) To raise the standard of the usage of English
in the primary and secondary schools in the
country
Report of the Brunei Education Commission, 1972:4
1.2 In accordance with the recommendations of
the above mentioned Education Commission
Report, this working paper attempts to establish
firmly the dominance of the Malay Language,
while at the same time emphasising the
importance of English Language in order to
achieve the educational objective by means of a
bilingual system of education.
Brunei Government Publication, 1984:3
Compulsory & examinable subjects in
Brunei primary and secondary schools
English
Lower Primary
Malay
English Language
English
Malay language
Mathematics
General Studies
Religious Knowledge
Physical Training
Arts & Handicraft
Civics
Upper Primary
Malay
English Language
Mathematics
Science
Geography
Malay Language
Religious Knowledge
History
Physical Training
Arts & Handicraft
Civics
Lower Secondary
English
Malay
English Language
Mathematics
Science
Geography
Malay Language
Religious Knowledge
History
Upper Secondary
English
Malay
English Language
Malay Language
Mathematics
Science/Art/Technical
No. of students in schools:
Primary School
Secondary School
Male & Female
Male Female Male & Female
Pre-School 3927
Primary 1 4374
Primary 2 4405
Primary 3 4518
Primary 4 4834
Primary 5 4898
Primary 6 5222
Form 1
Form 2
Form 3
Form 4
Form 5
Form 6
Pre-U1
Pre-U2
Total
Total 17,690 17,654
32,178
3278
3378
3554
2426
3101
251
802
660
3023
2963
3006
2548
3363
198
1238
1106
6301
6341
6560
4974
6464
449
2040
1366
35,344
No. of teachers in schools:
Primary School
Secondary School
Male & Female
Male Female Male & Female
English-medium 1381
Locals
885
1697
2582
Malay-medium
1024
Contract 209
174
383
Total
2405
Total
1871
2965
1094
Universiti Brunei Darussalam
No. of faculties at UBD – 7
– Faculty of Arts and Social Science (FASS)
– Faculty of Business, Economics and Policy Studies
(FBEPS)
– Faculty of Science (FOS)
– Institute of Medicine (IM)
– Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Institute of Islamic
Studies (SHOASIS)
– Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Institute of Education
(SHBIE)
– Academy of Brunei Studies
No. of students at UBD: 3611
Male
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Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Year 4
Total
427
248
187
254
1116
Female
904
649
503
439
2495
Number of International Students at UBD: 151 (4.18%)
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PhD Applied Linguistics – 1
MA Applied Linguistics – 2
MA Economics – 3
BA Economics – 3
BA programme – 11
BA Accounting – 5
Diploma in Primary Education – 4
PhD Computer Science – 1
BBA – 5
BSc/BA Education – 23
BSc Computer Science – 2
MBBS – 3
BSc Biological Science – 3
BSc Biotechnology – 3
Sarjana Muda Sastera Education – 8
PhD Petroleum Geoscience – 7
MSc Petroleum Geoscience – 10
MBA – 2
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Med Educational Mgmt – 3
MPP – 2
BA PP – 2
MSc Primary Healthcare – 2
PhD Biology – 1
PhD Malay Literature – 1
PhD Maths – 1
BSc Maths – 3
BEng Electronic and Electrical Eng – 1
PGCE – 1
BA Syariah – 16
BA Usuluddin – 6
BA Arabic Language – 2
MEd Mathematics Education – 1
Cert. in Lower Sec Edu – 1
BA Primary Education – 2
Non-Graduating – 8
Number of graduates from UBD (2005):
625
Number of Students with 2:1/1st degree
220 (44 males; 176 females)
Number of Students with 3rd/pass degree
121 (63 males; 58 females)
Number of Academic Staff at UBD: Local &
Contract: 379 (240 local; 139 contract)
Faculty of Education
88 local
27 contract
Faculty of Business, Economics & Public
Policy Studies
36 local
22 contract
Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
38 local
30 contract
Faculty ofScience
26 local
Academy of Brunei Studies
10 local
0 contract
Institute of Islamic Studies
34 local
21 contract
Institute of Medicine
4 local
3 contract
Language Centre
4 local
27 contract
9 contract
Language Centre
• Offers courses in a variety of different
languages: Malay, Arabic, Mandarin, Thai,
French, Japanese, Spanish
• No. of English Courses offered by
Language Centre – 64
Language Centre
English language is a ‘university required’
course (and therefore has to be passed or
a student cannot graduate) for all UBD
students.
Most students receive 8 units of English
over a two year period, which amounts to
112 hours of teaching.
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LE0104 English I
LE0106 English II
LE0111 English I
LE0204 English III
LE0206 English IV
LE0212 English IIB
LE0218 Developing Oral Communication Skills
LE0419 English for Technical Education Subjects
LE0444 English in Technical and Vocational
Teaching
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LE0602 English for Beginners I
LE0603 English for Beginners II
LE0604 English for Beginners III
LE0605 English for Beginners IV
LE0701 English for Beginners I
LE0702 English for Beginners II
LE0703 English for Beginners III
LE0704 English for Beginners IV
LE1203 Language Development I
LE1206 Language Development II
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LE1211 English I
LE1216 English II
LE1503 English for Science Education I
LE1506 English for Science Education II
LE1507 English for Arts Education I
LE1508 English for Arts Education II
LE1513 Communication Skills for Engineering I
LE1514 Communication Skills for Engineering II
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LE1515 English for Computer Science &
Mathematics I
LE1516 English for Computer Science &
Mathematics I
LE1520 English for Arts & Brunei Studies I
LE1521 English for Arts & Brunei Studies II
LE1524 English for Business I
LE1525 English for Business II
LE1528 English for Biomedical Science I
LE1529 English for Biomedical Science II
LE1531 English for Malay & Arabic Medium I
LE1532 English for Malay & Arabic Medium II
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LE1533/2533 English for Malay & Arabic Medium III
LE1534/2534 English for Malay & Arabic Medium IV
LE1535/2535 English for Malay & Arabic Medium V
LE1536/2536 English for Malay & Arabic Medium VI
LE2204 Language Development III
LE2206 Language Development IV
LE2209 English II
LE2503 English for Science Education III
LE2506 English for Science Education IV
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LE2511 Communication Skills for Engineering III
LE2512 Communication Skills for Engineering IV
LE2513 English for Computer Science & Mathematics III
LE2514 English for Computer Science & Mathematics IV
LE2519 English for Arts and Brunei Studies III
LE2520 English for Arts and Brunei Studies IV
LE2524 English for Business III
LE2525 English for Business IV
LE2537 English for Malay & Arabic Medium VII
LE2538 English for Malay & Arabic Medium VIII
LE4211 English III
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LE4403 English for Technical Education Subjects
LE4405 Developing Oral Communication Skills
LE5101 Report Writing for Petroleum Geoscience
LE5102 Preparation for Report Writing – Petroleum
Geoscience
LE5103 Academic Writing Skills
LE6601 Preparatory English for the Postgraduate
Diploma in Entrepreneurship
LE6602 English for Professional
Communication/Diplomacy
Problems?
On the whole, I am pleased to note that English Language
Results in PCE (PSR) and PMB have steadily improved over the
last five years … However, these results are not reflected in
GCE ‘O’ level results
Pehin Dato Hj Awg Abd Rahman, Minister of Education, 26th Aug 2005
General Certificate of Education
Ordinary Level
(GCE ‘O’ Level)
• Designed in the United Kingdom for native English speaking
children.
• An academic examination, meant for only the best pupils.
• Weaker pupils studied for the Certificate in Secondary
Education (CSE).
• Today, children in the UK take the General Certificate of
Secondary Education (GCSE).
Responses from pupils to questions about
English language teaching in schools
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lessons are boring
no home support
O level too difficult
too shy
lazy
exam too tough
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nobody reads
lousy teachers
no guidelines
no interest
no practice
no motivation
Despite these criticisms, pupils and students
responded that they usually prefer their
English classes to other lessons because
English is more vibrant and less boring!
The most frequent observation:
do not use the language
lack of practice
limited daily use
The second most frequent comment:
poor teaching
lousy teachers
lazy teachers
The third most frequent comment:
emphasis on Malay
not encouraged to use English
English users frowned upon
Various comments were made about the nature and
validity of GCE ‘O’ level, including degrees of
difficulty of the various papers, but the most
pertinent comment is that the examination is meant
for native speakers whereas for virtually all local
pupils English is a second, third, fourth or even fifth
language.
General Certificate of Education Ordinary level
(GCE ‘O’ level)
Inevitably teachers teach towards an
examination. If the examination reflects the
needs of the pupils then there shouldn’t be a
problem. ‘O’ level does not reflect these
needs.
At the moment we have a native speaker
examination being taught to non-native
speakers by teachers who, for the most part,
have been trained as TESL teachers.
A more conducive learning
environment?
One of the causes for inattentiveness and
a lack of motivation among pupils is
the environment in which they learn.
For instance, very few classrooms have
air-conditioning.
Outside the Classroom
MTV; VTV; Cartoon Network; HBO;
Star Movies; ESPN; Star Sport; CNN; BBC…
Copy DVDs and music CDs
A recent development: English has become ‘cool’
At the same time, East Asian culture has become very
popular among young Bruneians, particularly
Korean films and music,
Problems at UBD?
• Lack of suitable staff to teach Language
Centre English courses
• Lack of motivation among students to
improve their own English (all English
medium students already have a credit in
GCE O level or IELTS 6.5)
To conclude on a positive note
Advantages at UBD
• A multinational, multilingual staff
• English language classes compulsory and
fully supported
• As previously mentioned, all English
medium students must have a credit in
GCE O level or IELTS 6.5
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