D e sc r i p ti on
Since 1954 education has been available to all children in the state. Currently the system consists of
primary, secondary (divided into junior, middle and upper secondary) and higher education.
However, education is not compulsory, and is free only to Brunei citizens attending government
institutions. In government schools there are two media of instruction, English and Malay. For the
first three years of primary education the medium of instruction is Malay for all subjects except
English language. From year four onwards, English is the medium of instruction for science,
mathematics and technology and Malay for history, physical education and Islamic knowledge.
Private schools follow the same curriculum as government schools. The Chinese language may be
taught in these schools as a separate subject. Schools for children of expatriates are exempt from
the official government language policy.
The school year runs from January to December and the university year from August to May,
divided into two semesters.
S c h ool
Primary education lasts six years beginning at age six, though a year of pre-school education is also
compulsory. This period of education is divided into two stages: lower primary (Primary I-III) and
upper primary (Primary IV-VI). All pupils sit standardised tests at the end of Primary III. At upper
primary level pupils are taught some subjects in Malay, Chinese and some in english, religious
education, art and crafts, civics, physical education and history are taught in Malay, whereas
mathematics, geography and science are taught in English. On completion of Primary VI pupils take
the Primary Certificate of Education (PCE), pupils must pass obtain passes in both Malay and
English. Those who fail this examination are required to repeat Primary VI before proceeding to
lower secondary school.
On successful completion of primary education pupils can progress onto the next stage of education.
Secondary education consists of two stages: lower secondary and upper secondary.
This period of study lasts for 3 years and offers both general and vocationally-oriented education.
These are divided into two levels (I and II), both of which share a number of core subjects. Whilst
these levels share similar core subjects, the differences are in the optional subjects available to
students; Level I follows an academic course, whilst Level II caters for those more vocationally
LEVEL I LEVEL II
English Malay language
Mathematics English language
Intergrated science Mathematics
Core Subjects Islamic religious Science
knowledge Islamic religious
Computer studies Metalwork
Agricultural science Woodwork
Home science Commercial studies
Commercial studies Art
Optional Subjects a third language Agricultural science
Woodwork Home science
Metalwork Technical drawing
Art and handicrafts Computer applications
The minimum and maximum number of subjects each student can take is seven and nine
respectively. All students cover the same curriculum for Malay language, Islamic religious
knowledge and MIB. However, Level II mathematics, English and science covers 70% of the topical
content of that at Level I.
Upon completion of either level of study, students complete Junior Secondary Assessment,
otherwise known as PMB (Penilaian Menengah Bawah).
Middle secondary education offers a further two years of bilingual education leading to the
Brunei/Cambridge GCE O level or normal level examinations. Students are channelled from lower
secondary according to ability.
Students obtaining GCE Normal level may take a third year of upper secondary studies in order to
be awarded the GCE O level. Compulsory and examinable subjects for both levels are: Malay
language, English language and mathematics.
Most students also enter privately for University of London GCE examinations. Technical courses
lead to City and Guilds of London Institute, RSA or BTEC examinations.
Those who continue their education in the sixth form take courses of a further two years leading to
the Brunei/Cambridge GCE A level examination. These prepare students for entrance to universities
and institutions of higher learning both in Brunei Darussalam and overseas.
Alternatively, students may undertake a pre-university course, which also leads to the
Brunei/Cambridge GCE A level examination. This replaced the Matriculation Scheme, which was
phased out in 1991/92.
Subjects offered at sixth form and pre-university level include:
Principles of accounts
Islamic religious knowledge
Options after Secondary Education
Post-secondary institutions offer both full and part-time technical and vocational training.
Qualifications were previously validated by BTEC but are now offered by the Brunei Darussalam
Technical and Vocational Educational Council (BDTVEC). These institutions include:
The Institut Teknologi Brunei (ITB)
ITB was established in 1986. Main qualifications awarded by ITB are as follows:
BTEC Higher National Diploma
ITB offers full-time BDTVEC Higher National Diploma programmes in business and management,
computer and information systems and electrical and electronic engineering.
HND students are normally eligible for entry to the second year of a university level course.
Higher National Certificate
ITB also offers a three and a half year part-time programme in electrical and electronic engineering
leading to Higher National Certificate.
ITB is also in the process of developing other courses according to the needs of the country.
Sultan Saiful Rijal Technical College and Jefri Bolkiah College of Engineering
The Sultan Saiful Rijal Technical College in Bandar Seri Begawan and the Jefri Bolkiah College of
Engineering in Kuala Belait offer courses leading to technical and vocational qualifications.
City and Guilds of London Institute craft-level awards
The two colleges offer courses to lower secondary school-leavers leading to City and Guilds of
London Institute craft-level awards.
BDTVEC National Certificate / Diploma
The two colleges offer courses to those with Brunei/Cambridge GCE O level qualifications. Courses
lead to BDTVEC National Certificate/Diploma awards.
Sinaut Agricultural Training Centre
Sinaut Agricultural Training Centre offers the Brunei National Diploma in Agriculture.
College of Nursing
The College of Nursing has been developed with assistance from the Department of Nursing Studies
at the University of Wales in Cardiff. This college is seen as having the same status as an Institute
of Nursing in the UK. It provides general nursing training.
H i g h er E d u c a ti o n
Higher education is provided at The University of Brunei Darussalam (UBD), founded in 1985 with
assistance from University of Wales College of Cardiff and the University of Leeds. The University
has five faculties:
Arts and social sciences
Management and administrative studies
In 1989 the university awarded its first degrees.
The general entrance requirement is a minimum of two Brunei/Cambridge GCE A level passes.
The University offers degree programmes leading to Bachelor degrees. Courses last between four
and six years depending on the subject area. Where two or more subjects are indicated, one is
studied as a major subject and another as a minor.
The academic programmes are run on a unit system under which a student has to accumulate a
minimum number of credit units for graduation. The minimum number of credit units required is
124 for the BA and BA Primary Education and 128 for the BA/BSc Education.
There are courses taught in both Malay and English medium. Malay medium courses were
developed with the assistance of the National University of Malaysia and the University of Science,
Malaysia. English medium courses have formal links with the University of Leeds and the University
of Wales College of Cardiff, who have assisted in the development of such.
The Faculty of Education and the Faculty of Islamic Studies offer courses taught in Malay. These
Bachelor of Arts Education: It can be studied with either two subjects from Malay language
and linguistics, Malay literature, history, Islamic studies (minor only) or Islamic studies.
Bachelor of Arts (Syari'ah; Usuluddin and Da'wah)
Master of Science: awarded in petroleum geoscience
Master of Education: awarded in educational management; mathematics and science
Master of Arts
Master of Public Policy
Master of Business Administration
Bachelor of Arts Education: can be studied either with economics and geography or English.
Bachelor of Science Education: can be studied with two subjects chosen from biology,
chemistry, mathematics and physics.
Bachelor of Arts Primary Education
Bachelor of Business Administration
Bachelor of Arts: awarded in management studies, public policy and administration
Bachelor of Science: awarded in computer science and mathematics
Bachelor of Engineering: awarded in electronics and electrical engineering jointly with the
University of Glasgow.
Bachelor of Commerce: awarded in accounting jointly with the University of Birmingham.
Other courses offered are:
Certificate in Education
Postgraduate Certificate in Education
Certificate in Educational Management
Master of Public Policy.
T e ac h er E d uc at i on
Teacher training is provided by the Faculty of Education at the university.
Teachers are holders of a BA in Primary Education.
Teachers are holders of a BA in Education.
G r ad i n g S y s tem
For Brunei/Cambridge GCE O level, Brunei/Cambridge GCE A level, pre-university course and
matriculation, see Overseas GCE Examinations
Bachelor degrees are classified as follows:
First Class Honours
Second Class Honours (Upper Division)
Second Class Honours (Lower Division)
Third Class Honours
L i s t o f R ec og n i s e d H i g h er E d uc a ti o n I n st i t u ti o n s
1. Institut Pengajian Islam
2. Institut Teknologi Brunei, Jalan Muara
3. Pengiran Anak Puteri Hajah Rashidah Sa'adatul Bolkiah, Jalan Pasar Baru
4. University of Brunei Darussalam, Bandar Seri Begawan
Q ual i fi c a ti on l i s t
Cambridge GCE A level
Cambridge GCE O level
BDTVEC Higher National Diploma
BDTVEC National Diploma
Bachelor (Honours) degree
Bachelor (Ordinary) degree
C ha r t
2 = study in years
G l o s sa r y
BDTVEC - Brunei Darussalam Technical and Vocational Education Council
ITB - Institut Teknologi Brunei
MIB - Melayu Islam Beraja (Malay Islamic Monarchy)
PMB - Penilaian Manangah Bawah (Lower Secondary Assessment)
UBD - University of Brunei Darussalam