The annual Teacher's Day is among the platforms to celebrate and appreciate the role and sacrifices of teachers in creating an excellently educated society in aspects of knowledge, skills and religion. The culmination of this year's Teacher's Day celebration was the presentation of the Teacher's Day Awards to 19 recipients. His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam presented the awards. The ceremony took place at the International Convention Centre in Berakas.

Upon arrival, His Majesty was greeted by Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman, the Minister of Education; Yang Berhormat Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Haji Othman, the Minister of Religious Affairs as the Co-Chairman of the ceremony; as well as the members of the celebration's Executive Committee. Also present were His Majesty's sons, His Royal Highness Prince Doctor Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office; His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Malik; and His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Mateen.

The function began with the recitation of Surah Al-Fatihah dedicated to Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien and teachers who have passed away, followed by the reading of Doa Selamat led by Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia Doctor Ustaz Haji Awang Abdul Aziz bin Juned, the State Mufti.

The reading of Al-Quran's Surah Luqman was presented by Awang Haji Mohammad Khairudin bin Haji Marajah, a religious teacher from the Paduka Seri Begawan Sultan Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Religious School and Champion of the Belait District Level Al-Quran Reading Musabaqah for Adults 2016. The surah or verse among other things highlighted a teacher should advise and remind the students to safeguard their faith and not associate Allah the Al-mighty with anything.

The Minister of Education in his welcoming speech among other things touched on several initiatives which have been and are currently being carried out by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Religious Affairs in improving the quality of teaching and learning. These include the 'Program Harapan' or Programme of Hope intended to help the students to optimise their potential by focusing in the preparedness of the school and the students.

The Teacher's Day celebration was further enlivened with a video clip on the reflections of a teacher from childhood, dreaming to be a 'superhero' to help people in trouble. He later realised it was just a dream that existed in a child's fantasy. But while growing up, he discovered a profession that enables him to help in building the future generation by becoming a 'Teacher'.

The main Teachers Day theme song 'Guru Dedikasi Pendidikan Cemerlang' performed by a group of students and teachers from Government and Private Primary Schools as well as students from University Brunei Darussalam further enlivened the celebration.

His Majesty then presented the 28th Teacher's Day awards to 19 recipients. The Meritorious Teacher Award was presented to 2 recipients. Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Kassim Haji Lamat, while serving at the Islamic Studies Department played a major role in the development of education in the country. This included updating the department's organisational structure to improve the efficacy of the administration and functions, forming the Al-Quran Unit, Religious Practice Unit, Examinations Unit and the District Branch Islamic Studies Units in Belait, Tutong and Temburong Districts as well as introducing Islamic Religion as a subject in schools under the Ministry of Education.

Meanwhile, the other recipient Pengiran Datin Paduka Hajah Hairani binti Pengiran Maharaja Lela Pengiran Muda Abdul Kahar served for over 28 years at the Ministry of Education. Her appointments included as the Principal of Sekolah Tinggi Perempuan Raja Isteri and the Paduka Seri Begawan Sultan Science College, the Assistant Director of Schools, Director of Schools Inspectorate, Director of Co-curriculum Development, as well as the Director of Planning, Development and Research. The recipients of the Meritorious Teacher Award each received a citation, 12 thousand dollars in cash, a souvenir and free medical facilities including all expenses paid in first class wards at any government hospital in the country.

4 recipients received the Excellent Teacher Award. The award is especially for teachers still serving at the country's educational institutions and are outstanding in their respective subjects or fields. They are Dr. Lim Chee Ming, recipient of the Excellent Teacher Award in Applied Physics, Material and Energy Science; Pengiran Haji Mohd Wahab bin Pengiran Haji Abdullah, the Excellent Teacher in Culinary Arts; Dayang Naziancina Galarido Ward, the Excellent Teacher in Leadership; and Dayang Norliza binti Haji Zaini, the Excellent Teacher in Special Education. The recipients received a citation, 4-thousand dollars, and given priority to pursue further studies.

13 others received the Special Mention Teacher's Day Appreciation Award. They receive a citation, one thousand dollars in cash and a plaque. The Teacher's Day celebration was first introduced in 1991. The bestowal of the Teacher's Day Awards is truly significant as it clearly proves the country and government's recognition of the teaching profession and teacher's professionalism.

The theme of this year's Teacher's Day emphasises the need for teachers to be prepared to accept the rapid changes of global education such as applications in info-communication technology as well as being prepared to face paradigm shifts in education. Besides that, the knowledge and skills they impart should always be updated to ensure students are creative, innovative and ready to explore reforms and opportunities in all professions and disciplines as emphasised in the National Education System For the 21st Century, SPN21 in line with the needs of the country's social and economic developments.

Source: Radio Television Brunei