Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) has added another feather in its cap. In the newly released Times Higher Education (THE) World University Subject Rankings, UBD, for the very first time, is placed in the 201-250 band for Social Sciences. This ranks UBD 3rd in ASEAN, together with the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University. UBD performed particularly well in Social Science Research Impact, in the top 21 percentile, and International Outlook, top 27 percentile, in the world.
Social Sciences is the third UBD discipline to be ranked by THE, following the recent success of Engineering, ranked 201-250, and the Physical Sciences, ranked 401-500 in the world. For a small, young university, it is a major achievement to be ranked among the best universities in the world. The achievement is due in part to the quality of academic and applied impact of UBD's research.
Social Sciences is the study of human behaviour. They contribute to an understanding of society, including a broad range of social interactions, whether economic, cultural or social. Social Science research is particularly useful in assisting policy makers and government agencies in formulating policy; contributes to the development of Brunei society and economy, and helps to improve the quality of life.
UBD has offered Social Sciences since its establishment in 1985. Social Sciences is studied at various faculties and research centres in UBD. The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) is the largest faculty offering programmes in Malay Studies, including Malay Language & Linguistics and Malay literature; English Studies, Geography, Environment and Development, History, Sociology, Anthropology, and Design and Creative Industries.
Dean of Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Associate Professor Dr Noor Azam bin OKMB Hj Othman said, "Alhamdulillah, this recognition by THE is testimony to the impact of the collective efforts of Social science researchers in UBD on the community. With a strong focus on issues relevant to society, our researchers and students are trained to cast a critical eye on matters than can inform policymakers, and improve the well-being and quality of life of the community, bringing us a step closer to achieving Brunei Darussalam's Vision 2035 Inshaa Allah."
A key contribution of the Social Sciences is training and research on social issues confronting society. Through reliable and valid analysis using advanced research and statistical methodologies, Social Science research contributes to an understanding of social problems and offers policy solutions that will be useful for policy makers and government agencies. UBD also has collaborated with relevant government authorities such as the Ministry of Health; Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports; Ministry of Finance and Economy; Defence Academy of Royal Brunei Armed Forces; the private sector; as well as international agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO).
UBD in partnership with the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California Berkeley; School of Public Policy, Maryland University; McCourt School of Public Policy, University of Georgetown; and Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University offers the Master of Public Policy and Management (MPPM) Programme. MPPM aims to develop high calibre, transformational leaders in public management capable of both formulating and critically reviewing policy as well as managing its implementation to meet the nation's developmental demands.
The university places great emphasis on students balancing academic achievement with active participation in the community. With UBD's multidisciplinary approach to learning, students expand their horizons through the experiential one year Discovery Year programme.
For several years, UBD students have taught English in Southern Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. These programmes provide experiential learning for students, contribute to the communities by helping addressing problems and finding solutions that would leave a positive impact on the lives of both the communities and the students themselves. Within Brunei Darussalam, the students themselves take on an active role in solving social issues. For example, a project for "Improving Socio-Economic and Education Intervention at Kg Bolkiah" and the "Human Library Project" in Kg Amo B, Temburong that aims to improve the literacy and numeracy rates among the student population by raising awareness of the importance of education. Students volunteer to teach core subjects such as Malay Language, English Language, Mathematics and Science. UBD students also assist in running activity programmes in Pusat Amal Cerah Sejahtera, an elderly activity centre, as well as assist with home visits for patients under the Ministry of Health's Care of the Elderly team.
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