The term information and communications technology (ICT) is used in numerous government documents, including the Ministry of Education’s 2023-27 Digital Transformation Plan and the 2018-22 Education Strategic Plan, but not defined specifically.
The 2023-27 Digital Transformation Plan defines Educational Technology as “the technology for teaching and learning to improve student outcomes, enhance individualised and personalised education, and improve teaching effectiveness”.
Digital Transformation is defined as “the process by which processes are fundamentally changed or reorganised to obtain benefits through the adoption and integration of emerging digital technologies, and deliver values to our customers (educators, learners and the public)”.
Section 2 of the 2003 Education Act (revised in 2011) defines a distance education centre as a “place, an organisation or an institution providing instruction or teaching — (a) exclusively through the medium of electronics; (b) exclusively through correspondence; or (c) partly through the medium of electronics and partly through correspondence or other methods of instruction”. Educational institutions in Brunei Darussalam include distance education centres. A correspondence school is defined as an “organisation or institution providing instruction or teaching by means of correspondence”.
Constitution and laws: There is no ICT or EdTech Act. The 2003 Education Act (revised in 2011) provides for full or hybrid distance education. There is no mention of technology in Brunei Darussalam’s 1959 Constitution (as amended in 2006). Similarly, the 2008 Electronic Transaction Act and 2007 Computer Misuse Act make no reference to education.
The 2001 Telecommunications Order includes a universal service provision which establishes a system to promote the widespread availability and usage of telecommunication services throughout Brunei Darussalam by encouraging the installation of telecommunication systems in underserved areas or for underserved groups within the community (Art. 58), but there is no explicit mention of electricity or the internet included in these services.
Policies, plans and strategies: The government of Brunei Darussalam has several national policies and plans that support the integration of ICT in the education system.
The Ministry of Education's Digital Transformation Plan serves as a roadmap in implementing digital initiatives on teaching and learning including public service delivery across the ministry. It outlines the ministry’s strategies in driving digital transformation on the education cluster through three (3) focus areas namely: education technology, management technology, and enabling policies and infrastructure.
The Digital Economy Masterplan 2025 was launched in 2020 for Brunei Darussalam to become a Smart Nation. It outlines three Strategic Objectives: - A Digital and Future Ready Society A Vibrant and Sustainable Economy A Digitally Conducive Ecosystem. As part of the masterplan, Education was identified as one of the nine clusters, which is expected to significantly impact economic growth through the implementation of digital transformation initiatives.
The 2018-22 Education Strategic Plan identifies ICT services as key strategic initiatives in strengthening the delivery of primary and secondary education, in line with the country’s Long Term National Development Plan, known as Wawasan Brunei 2035 and previous 2012-17 Education Strategic Plan, which both support the strengthening of Information & Communications Technology (ICT) competency for students, teachers and educational administrators, including the integration of ICT.
The 2020-25 Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry (AITI) Strategic Plan views technology as a tool for improving access to education, while the education sector is similarly mentioned in the 2025 Digital Economy Masterplan.
Digital competency frameworks: The Ministry of Education is working to develop ’Digital Literacy Standards for Students’ to deliver competency and skills required for 21st Century students with review of curriculum relevant to the new standard. The development of the Digital Literacy Standards is significantly evident for Brunei Darussalam as they aspire to become a Smart Nation following the launch of the Digital Economy Masterplan 2025 and Ministry of Education’s Digital Transformation Plan 2023-2027. The Ministry has also been focusing on developing teachers’ capacity to cope with the shift to digital teaching and learning through several professional initiatives by Brunei Darussalam Leaders and Teachers Academy (BDLTA).
Changes occurred as a result of COVID-19: Since the COVID-19 outbreak, teachers have undergone numerous physical and virtual training programs provided by the Ministry through the Brunei Darussalam Leadership and teacher Academy and University Brunei Darussalam. As schools planned to reopen, a hybrid model of in-person teaching, and online delivery was adopted.
2.2.1. Technology infrastructure and digital capacity of schools
Under the Ministry of Education Digital Transformation Plan, several key initiatives have been identified which aim to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of teaching, learning and business processes through the use of technologies.
Electricity: The 2017 Electricity Act (revised in 2021), which provides for the regulation and control of the generation, transmission, distribution and use of electricity, does not refer explicitly to education institutions.
Computers and devices: As part of the ministry’s effort to support digital teaching and learning in schools, one of the initiatives is to replace obsolete desktop computers in the school’s ICT lab with notebooks. Hence, digital teaching and learning will not be confined to only ICT lab.
To support online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, the public was welcomed to donate computers, laptops and tablets (new or used), while the Ministry subscribed to Microsoft “in order to use it without any charges”. The Ministry of Education worked with the Ministry of Transport and Info-communications to provide devices and internet access in supporting students’ digital learning needs, with a total of 1,696 computers units donated to students under the ICT donation drive.
In line with the Ministry’s Strategic Objectives; to provide equal and equitable access to higher learning for opportunities to quality education, the Ministry of Education with the support of the Ministry of Finance and Economy, have embarked on the three (3) year project whereby all teachers and underprivileged students are supplied with notebooks and internet data.
Internet connectivity: Under the Ministry of Education’s Digital Transformation Plan, two (2) key initiatives have been identified to be implemented to improve the IT network infrastructure and connectivity in schools namely the National Education Network and Upgrade of School IT Network Infrastructure respectively. Through these initiatives, schools will be provided with higher bandwidth capacity and broader network coverage, thus allowing teaching and learning activities to be carried out in learning areas within the school premises.
2.2.2. Technology and learning environments
The 2003 Education Act (revised in 2011) provides for education through distance learning and correspondence schools.
During the mandatory school closures due to COVID-19 in March 2020, all schools were required to transition to home-based learning, which was primarily provided through online platforms, in addition to printed resources and television broadcasts for students with limited or no internet access. According to the Guidelines for School and Teachers, remote learning was encouraged through various modalities including virtual classes, recorded classes, uploading material to the digital teaching environment, print resources to students with internet/bandwidth issues, and broadcast lessons via the educational TV channel. The aim of introducing various modalities was to be inclusive, with schools and teachers encouraged to choose the medium based on several factors, including students’ accessibility to the Internet and accessibility to learning equipment such as laptops, desktops, tablets and mobile phones.
Digital Resources Management System (DRMS); MOE TV; and Guidebook for Blended Learning were launched at the 5th School Leaders Convention on 6th May 2023. DRMS is an e-resources offering teachers a centralized platform for finding, accessing, sharing and managing digital resources with the goal of improving the teaching and learning process. Teachers can access and download presentation slides, documents, portable document format (PDF), audio files, and other digital tools, as well as search for resources using the dynamic search bar, which provides real-time results depending on search terms. MOE TV, which can be accessed through tv.moe.gov.bn, offers a wide choice of educational videos for teachers to use in their classes. MOE TV is a growing library of instructional movies and 2D animations, as well as an interactive real-time search bar for rapid searches. Teachers can also add MOE TV video links to their learning management system (LMS) of choice, such as Microsoft Team, Google Classroom, or WhatsApp.
Blended learning is a teaching and learning strategy that combines face-to-face education (physical or virtual) with asynchronous and synchronous online learning using technology and digital media.
Asynchronous learning refers to self-paced method that allows students to complete coursework at their own pace, such as lectures, reading, assessments, and homework, within a set time frame, whereas synchronous learning is live learning that requires learners and instructors to be physically present in the same place at the same time, whether in the classroom or via video conferencing.
According to the National Education System for the 21st Century (SPN-21), the government plans on increasing the use of ICT across the curriculum and developing student and teacher ICT skills which are considered an “integral part of 21st century education”. One of the aims of the SPN-21 is to strengthen the ICT competency for students, which includes the integration of ICT within the school curriculum. Technology and Digital Literacy are considered key learning outcomes in school and a critical skill in the SPN21 Curriculum and Assessment Framework for schools. Similar aims are outlined in the 2012-17 Education Strategic Plan and 2011 e-Hijrah: ICT in Education Strategic Blueprint, which support the increase of student ICT skills and integration of ICT in education.
Moreover, the Ministry of Education has been developing digital literacy standard for students to be incorporated in the latest curriculum and equip students with relevant skills for the 21st century. The standards will focus on ‘early digital citizenship’ for pre-school students up to Year Two, ‘digital citizenship’ for Year Three students and above, ‘digital creativity’ for Year Five students and above and ‘digital competitiveness’ for Year Seven students and above.
The Department of Planning, Development and Research (DPDR) has embarked on a research study entitled Students Disposition Profile (SDProfile) to profile all its students’ dispositions or preferences, including the disposition towards digital technologies. The study aims to develop a Learner Profiling Toolkit which can be used both at micro level, i.e. by school teachers to support their learner-centred teaching, as well as at the systemic level, to support the education initiatives and policies.
The Science, Technology and Environment Partnership (STEP) Centre also organizes additional programs and activities on Science, Technology, Environment and other related fields, supporting the Ministry of Education in educating students through its formal and informal programmes and activities. These programs aim to expose students and teachers to various science and technology fields, develop their interest and awareness of the importance of science and technology, and increase the number of students who opt to enrol in the Science Stream. Programs include the Science and Mathematics Olympiad, Robot Technology programmes such as RoboTech Competition and Brunei Robotic Olympiad, and Programmes on ICT such as Inforama.
At the national level, gender equality in STEM education is not mentioned in any legislative documents. The 2007–17 Outline of Strategy and Policy for Development intended to promote equal opportunities for women in the work force as part of its economic strategy, but there is no specific mention of technology.
There is no ICT competency framework for teachers, nevertheless the Brunei Teacher Standard on Focus Area B^ (ICT Skills) stated that the teachers would be evaluated based on the extend their students can apply their knowledge and ICT skills in order to meet the respective learning expectation. According to the National Education System for the 21st Century (SPN-21) and the 2011 e-Hijrah: ICT in Education Strategic Blueprint, teachers need to be prepared to use ICT in their teaching and are encouraged to make full use of ICT and concrete materials, diagrams and charts, newspaper clippings and other educational/teaching resources to make lessons more interesting. In-service teacher training includes using ICT as a teaching and learning tool to develop learning skills and courses like Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) in Secondary Design and Technology, as well as in other technology-based subjects. As an additional support, ongoing ICT professional staff development is organized throughout the year and the Ministry of Education’s Education Technology (EdTech) Centre provides teachers information on how to use basic features of digital learning tools in its TeachMeHow website. Moreover, through the Brunei Darussalam Leaders and Teachers Academy (BDLTA), several professional development initiatives have been introduced to increase teachers’ digital readiness, focusing mainly on their competency to teach online and the delivery of 21st century curriculum through blended learning approaches. The Teachers’ Lounge and the School Leaders’ Lounge are a virtual platform for teachers and school leaders to share and access the latest initiatives, digital resources and best practices in education were introduced in 2020, in line with the 2018-22 Education Strategic Plan which aims to transform its human resource into a performance-driven culture.
The Ministry of Education’s 2023-27 Digital Transformation Plan further aims to build teachers’ competencies on technology adoption and integration and implementing digital pedagogy.
2.4.1. Data privacy
The 2014 Data Protection Policy sets out the minimum requirements for data protection (whether in electronic or manual form) and applies to all government ministries, educational institutions, and statutory boards. It includes provisions on consent, collection of data, use, disclosure and retention of data, accuracy of data, safeguards for data, and openness about data protection policies and procedures.
2.4.2. Online abuse and cyberbullying
The 2015 Child Online Protection National Strategy Framework for Brunei Darussalam aims to strengthen coordination on procedures and protocols on child online protection from all stakeholders (including the Ministry of Education), explicitly making reference to cyberbullying and harassment. It additionally provides for the Ministry of Education to educate students on the importance of practicing safety, security and good ethics while surfing the internet and doing online activities with regards to online threats. This is stated in the 21st Century National Education System (SPN21). The Ministry of Education is responsible for conducting IT Security Awareness programs for primary, secondary and university students, which includes awareness on cybercrimes. One of the projects put forward, by the Ministry of Education through the Department of Information and Communication Technology, is Cyber Security related which is under the ICT in Education Strategic Blueprint (IESB) initiative, known as e-Hijrah. Child online protection aims to be integrated in the school curriculum, with teachers and counsellors trained on child online protection. Cybercrime cases (including sexual extortion and cyberbullying) are handled by the Royal Brunei Police Force. The Cybersecurity Working Group (CWG) is responsible for sharing and formulate joint action plans on cybersecurity related matters, while Information Security Officers (ISO) are appointed in all government ministries and departments. The Brunei National Cyber Security Framework is a set of voluntary standards, guidelines, and processes that organisations can use to reduce the risk of cybersecurity threats, while Cyber Security Brunei (CSB) is in the process of drafting a Cyber Security Order.
The 2020 National Framework on Child Protection similarly includes the education sector, aiming to provide interventions at the school level.
The Children and Young Persons Act (Chapter 219) (CYPA) is the key legislation that protects children under the age of 18 years old and is enforced by the Ministry of Culture Youth and Sports. The CYPA identifies the key players involved in enforcing the law and outlining their roles and responsibilities (refer to page 45).
Brunei Darussalam’s e-Government strategy (which is integrated in the Brunei Vision 2035) also includes the establishment of a law on computer abuse in 2000, followed by the establishment of Brunei Computer Emergency Response Team (BruCERT) in 2004, introduction of Internet Ethics and Cyber Security Awareness Program in 2009, and the development of a national cyber security framework in 2014.
The Ministry of Education (MoE) has three different departments/centres related to the development of ICT in education.
The Department of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) was established as part of the MoE in 2001 to supervise ICT in education initiatives, which include providing support in terms of policy statistics, technology, infrastructure, and ICT services. Its functions include operating, managing and maintaining ICT infrastructure, managing and monitoring ICT projects and initiatives, supporting quality learning and teaching through ICT, and implementing relevant ICT training towards a highly skilled workforce. The Department has 5 different sections: the (1) Procurement and Human Capital Section, (2) IT Security Section, (3) Technology Management Section, (4) Network Infrastructure Section, and (5) IT Operation Section.
The Science, Technology and Environment Partnership (STEP) Centre (also under the MoE) provides support in ensuring the availability of opportunities in the development of science, technology and environment (STE) education; hence enhancing the development of skilled human resource in these fields, especially for business and industrial sectors. It also supports the Ministry of Education in educating students through organizing formal and informal programs and activities on Science, Technology, Environment and other related fields, supporting national, regional and international goals and objectives related to the STE fields, and establishing national, regional and international partnerships.
Finally, the MoE established the Education Technology (EdTech) Centre to support the use of technology in teaching and learning, in an effort to produce digitally literate students. The Centre is responsible for implementing educational technology initiatives and providing systemic support to the Ministry’s key stakeholders by providing coordination and communication between them. The EdTech Centre’s mission is to “enrich the teaching and learning experiences with the use of educational technology towards producing digitally literate learners”.
Apart from the MoE, the Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry (AITI) is a statutory body responsible for ICT industry development, telecommunications and radiocommunications regulations, and radiofrequency spectrum planning and management. Its mission includes developing a thriving digital industry, developing digital capacity for all, and enabling a conducive regulatory environment.
Finally, Cyber Security Brunei (CSB) is the national cyber security agency of Negara Brunei Darussalam, serving as an administrator that monitors and coordinates national efforts in addressing cyber security threats and cyber crime. It operates under the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications (MTIC), with the Minister of MTIC as Minister-in-charge of Cybersecurity.
According to the 2012-17 Education Strategic Plan, schools must ensure that ICT is fully utilised in all work processes, including curriculum development, teaching and learning, and through administrative processes. Schools are specifically responsible for designing and developing programs, assessing lessons, assignments and examinations online, and monitoring teachers’ administrative activities on learning outcomes.
The Ministry of Education has issued a directive that bans students from bringing their mobile phones to school.
This profile has been reviewed by the Ministry of Education (Brunei Darussalam).