BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN - Brunei and Singapore share common interests such as capitalising on human resources, which depends very much on education, the sultanate's education minister said recently.
Minister of Education Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Awg Abu Bakar Hj Apong said Brunei and Singapore continue to learn best practices from each other and he is encouraged by initiatives taken by the sultanate's young leaders, school principals and headmasters to learn from Singapore.
"What we (the ministry) did initially was to have an umbrella of memorandums of understanding between the ministries of education in Brunei and Singapore. We have joint working groups headed by our respective permanent secretaries in both countries," he told The Brunei Times.
The ministry is now encouraging schools at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels to continue to take the initiative of forging relations with their counterparts.
On Tuesday, visiting Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean delivered a lecture titled 'Singapore-Brunei: Ties that Bind' at Universiti Brunei Darussalam.
YB Pehin Dato (Dr) Hj Awg Abu Bakar said Brunei very much appreciated the opportunity to welcome Singapore's deputy prime minister to give his lecture, "and this is very important because the lecture was attended by our young leaders".
He said he hoped the deputy prime minister convinced the young leaders to strengthen relations between Brunei and Singapore, which was started by Al-Marhum Sultan Omar 'Ali Saifuddien III and the late Singapore former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, and followed by present leaders His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
"So this is very important to sustain relations between the two countries and also for the future of ASEAN; how small member states can play a greater role through our young generation," he said.
Dato Paduka Dr Hj Zulkarnain Hj Hanafi, Permanent Secretary (Higher Education) at the Ministry of Education and UBD Vice-Chancellor, said Brunei and Singapore have continued to develop a strong bond of friendship. The close relationship between the two nations has broadened to all levels of society and in many sectors, he said.
"As a country with a young history in formal education, we look forward to further collaborations with institutions of learning in Singapore."