UBD Alumni & Donors Contribute Towards Students’ Online Education
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The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted global education with over a billion of students worldwide unable to attend schools or universities to curb spread of COVID-19. Within 3 days of Brunei’s first imported COVID-19 case on the 9th March, all lectures and tutorials at the Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) went fully online, in an effort to prioritize the health and safety of students, staff, and the UBD community. 

The university has also decided that all assessments that require students to be physically present on campus will be replaced with alternative assessments to evaluate learning outcomes of the programmes and will include various coursework and online examinations. UBD has also taken into account the university's discussions with professional organisations or accreditation bodies such as ABET (Engineering), AACSB (Accounting) and partner medical schools (Medicine) for related professional programmes. Taking into account changes to assessments, the semester has also been extended by a week, which means the start of exams will be moved from 27th April to 4th May 2020.

“Alhamdulillah, UBD had already begun online learning for several years and we had preparations to go fully online if COVID-19 was detected in Brunei, hence the transition to having lectures and tutorials fully online was relatively smooth” stated Pg Dr Iskandar bin Pg Haji Petra, Assistant Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs), "however, not all of our students are privileged to access the internet in their homes and we have to find ways so that no students are left behind and can participate in our online learning and assessments”. 

With the launching of full online learning, UBD followed up with a students’ survey to get feedback on students’ learning experience. Here, UBD identified at least 170 students who did not have fixed broadband at home and a further number of students who did not own devices such as computers or mobile phones. In addition, many of the students from low income households are facing difficulty with the cost of downloading course materials and participating in online lectures, with some missing their online classes.

In support of students’ learning, a number of donors including UBD alumni, the 673 Cycling Club, corporate and individual donors have contributed towards the BND10,139.86 raised and the funds will help students in particularly those from underprivileged background who are currently facing challenges to online education. It will be utilized in providing subsidies for Data Top-ups and SIM cards for Mobile Internet Connection in particular those without fixed broadband at home. In addition, UBD is also lending its students computers for use during these next few months to further support students in need in their online education.

Hajah Rubiah binti Haji Yacub, Assistant Vice Chancellor (Corporate & Administration) lauded the support from the alumni of UBD. "Their generous contribution, along with their ongoing support go a long way and is paramount in ensuring the continuity of education during these trying times," she said, “We in UBD, would like to thank all our alumni, the 673 Cycling Club, corporate and individual donors for this kind and sincere gesture and their concern for education of our youth.” 

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