Around fifty academic leaders of fifty universities from twenty-six countries participated at the Global Education Summit 2021 organised by Chandigarh University, India. The event that commenced on 11 October 2021, brought together prominent Chancellors, Presidents and Vice-Chancellors of national and international universities including Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) to jointly deliberate upon drawing out a roadmap for new age universities on ‘Social Innovation for Sustainable Development through Global Academic Partnerships’.

The two-day discussion focussed on four main topics – Topic 1: Future of Higher Education Institutions – Virtualisation V/S Campus; Topic 2: New Age Universities – Roadmap for Meeting Global Challenges; Topic 3: Meeting Student Aspiration: Crossing Boundaries Unlocking Creativity; and Topic 4: Social Innovation in Universities: Meeting UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Yang Mulia Professor Dr. Dayang Hajah Zohrah binti Hj Sulaiman, Vice-Chancellor of UTB was one of the panel speakers for Topic 4 along with Presidents, Vice-Chancellors and Rector from Sunway University, University of Limerick, University of Mauritius, Amman Arab University, Glasgow Caledonian University, University of North Alabama and IPB University respectively.

During the panel discussion, Professor Dr. Dayang Hajah Zohrah delivered a talk entitled ‘In support of Vision 2035: Role of UTB in Social Innovation’ and shared an excerpt about Brunei’ SDGs from the Titah of His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam in which he said, “Brunei Darussalam’s Social Development Goals (SDGs) journey is guided by its national vision, Wawasan Brunei 2035, where the country aspires to be widely recognised for its educated, highly skilled and accomplished people, with a high quality of life and a dynamic and sustainable economy by 2035. Whilst preserving its unique social, cultural and traditional values, the Government of Brunei Darussalam aims to ensure that the country and its people will continue to thrive and prosper in the fast evolving modern world. The country has made progress in accomplishing the SDGs by building upon its early achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)”.

The Vice-Chancellor stated that among the 17 SDGs, UTB has met goals under SDG4: Quality Education and SDG9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.

Some of the activities and plans under SDG4 were shared during the discussion which include UTB’s Strategic Plan for Quality Education; Quality of Higher Education in Brunei Darussalam; UTB ExperiencePLUS programme, a platform to extend students’ experience beyond the walls of academia; the concept design project collaboration between UTB and Village Council of Kg Tungku-Katok; and the university’s Tri-CEd that oversees lifelong learning and advanced continuing education.

For SDG9, Professor Dr. Dayang Zohrah said that the government and education institutions celebrate creativity and innovation, which in turn inculcate innovation mindsets in the country. For example, UTB holds the ‘Creative, Innovative Product and Technological Advancement (CIPTA) Competition’ biennially which covers all areas of Science, Technology and Engineering, and is opened to all schools, technical and tertiary academic institutions, government and private organisations and the general public. Other than that, the Vice-Chancellor also shared some of the collaborative activities between UTB and the industry.

“Our hope as a university is to achieve our Vision in 2023 - A Global University Impacting Society and also to support the Nation’s Vision 2035 and United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals,” she concluded.