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Research report

Bilingual education in Brunei

Pamela Sammons, Susila Davis, Linda Bakkum and Gianna Hessel with Catherine Walter

This research, carried out by the University of Oxford, addresses the evolution of the Brunei approach to bilingual education and the role of CfBT (now Education Development Trust) in promoting educational change.

During 2012/13, academics from the Department of Education, University of Oxford were commissioned by CfBT to conduct an independent evaluation of the CfBT Brunei English teaching programme. The evaluation sought to document the various processes of change and improvement within the Bruneian education system between 1996 and 2012, in particular looking at the teaching of English as an additional language in the bilingual system and the involvement of CfBT as an external education provider and change agent.

The evaluation identified six 'evolutionary paths':

  1. Bilingual education policy in Brunei demonstrated a consistent focus on promoting bilingual education.
  2. There has been strong consensus in Brunei on the need to encourage higher levels of English attainment to promote economic competitiveness, recognising English as a crucial 'tool' for the 21st century.
  3. The MoE-CfBT relationship has changed, evolving from a recruitment link into a bilingual education partnership.
  4. Programmes targeting student outcomes and attitudes have moved from pockets of good practice to national-level reach.
  5. Programmes targeting teaching practice, professional development and capacity building for both CfBT and Bruneian language teachers have been key to developing a collaborative working relationship between CfBT and the Bruneian government.
  6. Building the infrastructure and the potential for school- and system-wide improvement, the relationship has evolved into one where CfBT expertise is focused on capacity building as well as capacity providing.

As well as the full report of the research, a summary report and a two page briefing document can also be downloaded.