Minister of Education Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Haji Hamzah Haji Sulaiman (C), BIBD Managing Director Mubashar Khokhar (3rd R), Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Religious Affairs Dato Seri Setia Haji Abd Aziz Orang Kaya Maharaja Lela Haji Yussof (2nd R) in a group photo with senior BIBD staff and ALAF students. Image: Waqiuddin Rajak

Some 240 students are currently being supported by Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam’s (BIBD) Advocating Life-Long Learning for an Aspiring Future (ALAF) programme which provides financial and academic assistance to students from underprivileged families. 

This was revealed by BIBD’s Deputy Managing Director Hjh Noraini Hj Sulaiman in a ceremony that saw 30 new students receiving BIBD ALAF scholarships held at the Tarindak D’Seni in the capital. 

Speaking in her capacity as Chairman of BIBD ALAF Programme Board of Trustees, Hjh Noraini said that the programme reflects BIBD’s ongoing commitment to invest in the development of the country’s human capital.

BIBD’s Deputy Managing Director Hjh Noraini binti Hj Sulaiman delivering her speech. Image: Waqiuddin Rajak

“The BIBD ALAF programme is a manifestation of BIBD’s belief in the value of life-long learning in line with the objectives of Brunei Vision 2035, to develop into a nation which will be widely recognised for the accomplishments of its well-educated and highly skilled people,” she said.

Apart from providing financial and academic support, Hjh Noraini shared how BIBD ALAF also emphasizes capacity building which focusses on equipping students with relevant skills that meet the demands of the industry.

These skills include coding, robotics and other ICT skills that are much needed in this era of Industrial Revolution 4.0.

Minister of Education Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Haji Hamzah Haji Sulaiman (L) presenting an ALAF Scholarship to one of the recipients. Image: Waqiuddin Rajak

The deputy managing director added that the ALAF programme will also be adding an urban agriculture programme this year, to imbue students with the entrepreneurial spirit as well as to help foster innovation in future agricultural practices.

Hjh Noraini went on to say that BIBD ultimately aims to enhance the programme by establishing a comfortable and conducive learning space in the form of a Center of Excellence which is currently a work in progress.

“The Center for Excellence will be an activity center for students equipped with reading rooms, computer labs, IT technology incubators and other facilities intended to enrich the learning experience of the ALAF programme students”.

BIBD’s Managing Director Mubashar Kokhar presenting an academic excellence award to one of the recipients. Image: Waqiuddin Rajak

The event also coincided with the presentation of Academic Excellence Awards to the ALAF students, which was handed over by BIBD’s Managing Director and CEO, Mubashar Khokhar.

Among those awarded were six students who scored 5As in the recent PSR examination, two who achieved 9 ‘O’ Levels during their Brunei Cambridge GCSE ‘O’ Level examination, and two students who received excellent results in the Brunei Religious Education Certification (SPUB).

Seven Top Achievers, who maintained excellence in their academic results throughout the 2018/2019 academic session.  

Permanent Secretary (Core Education) at the Ministry of Education Dr Shamsiah Zuraini Kanchanawati Haji Tahjuddin (L) and BIBD’s Deputy Managing Director Hajah Noraini Haji Sulaiman (R) signing the MOU. Image: Waqiuddin Rajak

The event concluded with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for the Intervention Learning Fund of the Riayah Wa Mahabbah Programme between the Ministry of Education and BIBD. 

The ALAF programme is the only one of its kind in the sultanate, which aims to ensure that talented but underprivileged students are not limited by their financial circumstances. 

In order to be selected for the programme, students must achieve excellent examination results (scoring 85% and above) for three consecutive years and come from a family background with a monthly income level of not more than $500.

Permanent Secretary (Core Education) at the Ministry of Education Dr Shamsiah Zuraini Kanchanawati Haji Tahjuddin (L) and BIBD’s Deputy Managing Director Hajah Noraini Haji Sulaiman (R) exchanging documents. Image: Waqiuddin Rajak

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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