UTB Adopts ‘Team Brunei’ of First Global Challenge 2017

05 AUGUST 2017 - Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) formally adopts ‘Team Brunei’ of the ‘First Global Challenge 2017’ competition under the Bridging for the Hopes of Tomorrow (BRIGHT) Programme for a period of two (2) years.

Professor Dr Hajah Zohrah binti Haji Sulaiman, Vice-Chancellor of UTB, as the Guest of Honor, presented a certificate of acceptance into the BRIGHT Programme to the team at an appreciation ceremony organised by Bits ‘N’ Bytes Company for sponsors of Team Brunei to the First Global Challenge 2017 competition held recently in Washington DC, United States of America.

In a welcoming remark made by the operations manager of Bits N Bytes, Pg Hj Zahari Bin Pg Hj Ahmad, he expressed his appreciation to MOE for their support, UTB for allowing the use of their premises, and to the UTB lecturers for volunteering to mentor the students.  Pg Hj Zahari also extended his deep gratitude to the generous kind hearted individuals and corporate sponsors who contributed in bearing the cost of flight, accommodation, food, transportation and equipment for FIRST GLOBAL Team Brunei.

Pg Hj Zahari also added that the competition received an overwhelming response from over 163 nations.  He went on to say that although it was the first time for the students competing at such a high level, Team Brunei managed to finished the competition with a ranking of 85, beating 75 other nations that had more experience in robotics competition.  He went on to say that the highlight of the competition was when Team Brunei was specially selected to compete with 5 other nations in front of Ivanka Trump, senior white house advisor.  Ivanka then briefly spoke to the team and encouraged them to continue their involvement in STEM.

In preparing for the competition, four (4) UTB lecturers from the Electrical and Electronic Engineering under the Faculty of Engineering played an instrumental role in mentoring and training the team for the competition. The students were taught on robotics every Sunday for a period of two months towards the competition.

In a statement made by Dr Sharina Hj Yunus, one of the key mentors said that although at times it was tiring, juggling with work and committing to coach the team, it was nevertheless an extremely rewarding experience.  Another mentor, Khairuddin bin Ghafar highlighted that robotics competitions are easily accessible, and it provides an opportunity to learn valuable technical skills in a fun-interesting way. It also provides an opportunity to learn life skills that are useful regardless of what career they decide to pursue in the future: teamwork, goal-setting, time management, are amongst others. Collectively, the mentors were proud of the level of professionalism displayed by the students, and will continue to mentor, support, and inspire them in their future STEM endeavor.

The BRIGHT programme was introduced earlier this year by UTB, as a community engagement strategic initiative to help build a strong science capital amongst secondary, and tertiary level teachers and students, and to develop a deeper understanding of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects in Brunei Darussalam. The first school to be included under the BRIGHT programme was the Sufri Bolkiah Secondary School. The programme is not only exclusive to schools, but also supports the Adopt-A-Team Programme. Through this programme, teams under this scheme will have the opportunity to work closely and receive mentoring from UTB lecturers with their STEM projects or activities.

BRIGHT consists of five (5) programmes:

Firstly, ‘Student Alumni Career Day’, where students will get the opportunity to meet graduates, and working professionals to attract the students and to expose them of career opportunities in the science and engineering field;

Secondly, the ‘Masterclasses’ where students will attend lectures, and participate in hands-on laboratory activities to test their problem-solving and working skills;

Thirdly, ‘Student Mentors’ whereUTB students will assist and organise various related activities;

‘Science and Technology Club Support’ programme is to support teachers in establishing Science and Technology Clubs, to inspire students to continue with science subjects and careers;

The fifth programme is the ‘Professional Workshop for Teachers’ where science-based teachers will have the opportunity to work alongside leading scientists and engineers from academia and industry, and also to collaborate, plan, and share best practices in education with one another.