Education in Brunei Darussalam

Joined Commonwealth: 1984

Population: 400,000 (2009)

GDP p.c. growth: -0.3% p.a. 1990-2009

UN HDI 2010: world ranking 37

Net primary enrolment: 96.9% (2009)

Net secondary enrolment: 89.1% (2009)

Gross tertiary enrolment: 17.1% (2009)

Adult literacy: 95.3% (2009)

A new education system is being introduced in 2009-2011, referred to as 21st Century National Education System or SPN21, which will be broad-based and provide multiple pathways enabling students with different skills and abilities to survive in a fast-changing world. Under this system, there are six years of primary, starting at age 6 and leading to Primary School Assessment or Penilaian Sekolah Rendah, and, depending on academic ability, either four or five years of secondary, leading to the Brunei-Cambridge GCE O level exams. Those aiming for higher education will then study for the Brunei-Cambridge GCE A level exams, others will move into vocational education.

Gross enrolment ratio for all levels of education combined was 79% in 2009 with a primary female-male ratio of 1.01:1 and a secondary female-male ratio of 1.02:1 (2009). The pupil-teacher ratio for primary is 12:1 and for secondary 10:1 (2009). Some 97% of pupils complete primary school (2008). The school year starts in January. The primary curriculum puts the emphasis on literacy and numeracy, including information and communication technology skills.

There are 123 government primary schools, 30 secondary schools, 6 technical and vocational institutes and 78 private educational institutions (2007).

The University of Brunei provides courses taught in Malay and English. Other tertiary institutions include the Jefri Bolkiah College of Engineering at Kuala Belait, and the Sultan Sharif Ali Islamic University and Institut Teknologi Brunei at Gadong, Bandar Seri Begawan. There is virtually no illiteracy among people aged 15-24.

The current National Development Plan (2007-2012) and the Brunei Vision 2035 emphasise the accomplishment of a well-educated, highly skilled society with a world-class education system that promotes lifelong learning. Towards this end, the Ministry of Education has adopted three major themes in its five-year strategic plan 2007-11: quality education; teaching and learning excellence; and professional, accountable and efficient organisation.