Vital in building new curriculums

George Korfiatis, Provost and University Vice-President at the Stevens Institute of Technology, United States, speaking to various stakeholders during his lecture on Curriculum and Accreditation at the PAP Rashidah Sa'adatul Bolkiah Institute of Health Sciences, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, yesterday. Korfiatis noted that curriculum was part of the attraction factor when building up an education institution's reputation. Picture: BT/Ying Chia

Monday, June 4, 2012

Aligning educational initiatives with strategic planning

ALIGNING educational initiatives of institutions like Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) with the long-term strategy of the nation and region is important in its development of new curriculums.

This was said by the Provost and University Vice-President at the Stevens Institute of Technology, George P. Korfiatis, during a lecture on curriculum and accreditation yesterday at UBD's PAP Rashidah Sa'adatul Bolkiah Institute of Health Sciences.

"I think the important thing is, because Brunei is a small country, aligning the educational initiatives of UBD with the long-term strategic planning, both internally (in the country) but also in the region," he said of how Brunei and UBD could benefit from its historical value, similar to the Stevens Institute's legacy of producing innovators.

The other aspect of it, he mulled, was the importance of how the growth of an institution or national university contributes to the execution of a national plan. "If you are looking from an outer perspective," he said, "much of that development can come from locals and foreigners. And by doing something very attractive that is unique and transformational you can attract people from the outside."

Korfiatis explained that this gives the university an elevated status in Brunei, with respect to the region, as "a source of high-end, high level education programmes that people from the outside are attracted to".

He also noted that curriculum was part of the attraction factor when building up an education institution's reputation.

"Excellence is associated with mostly about people. If you look at professors, they're motivated by something more than money. So it is building an environment of excitement and transformation that will attract great people (to UBD). This could be nationals who are studying or have studied overseas or expatriates who could see this as a unique opportunity,"he said.

Asked about his statement that 'the future belongs to those that innovate fits into the education and employment systems', Korfiatis said: "innovation is a product of the conditions that you create so that the creativity of a person can be realised, and happens on a broader spectrum.

"We work contrary to that sometimes though," he said, debating using the example of multiple choice tests in high schools. "If you look at how we train our young people right, you tell them to take multiple choice tests, but it's the most uncreative thing because I'm trying to understand what you know and I ask you to take a multiple choice test — that's ridiculous!" he explained.

Korfiatis also emphasised on the idea of innovation 'for the masses' and for it to be a catalyst for people in technology, saying it was about "how you create local economic growth through technology".

The Brunei Times