Groom locals first to make it Top 50.

To date, its almost a month since I left the United Kingdom. So far things have been going great and I can really define 'holiday' in it's concrete and authentic sense. Reflecting back, what a ride it had been! Three years of Undergrad was finally over and I was a proud wearer of the Graduation gown and now bearer of a Bachelor Degree. It seems like a rites of passage perhaps for most people my age to get to that stage of your life and be proud of yourself and say to the world that "I did it!". 

What's next? For now a bit uncertain. My desire in the academic and student life is still fresh and strong so I would want to go further on my studies to the Masters level and hopefully the Doctorate level, if the government, my official academic sponsor permits me. Seeing as it is at the moment our country lacks 'real' specialists especially in the field of politics and international relations, and in fact the field of Social Science itself both in the academic field and the professional field, it will be more 'marketable' to focus on my studies, as I'm still eager to learn more. Not to spell criticisms on local institutions in the country, but I find the idea a bit over-eager when I read that UBD aims to be in the Top 50 Universities in Asia in the next 3 years. In my opinion, it is difficult for UBD to achieve that feat when looking at the number of courses provided in their astute institution. They should instead look to open more courses that are traditionally provided not just in top international institutions but common institutions as well. One of such courses is Politics, my field. From what I heard, one reason for this is due to the lack of specialists available in the field. Going back to my point, instead of focusing on being in the Top 50 universities in the region, why not venture and invest their vast financial backing on grooming more academics and specialists in the field they are lacking? I'm sure it will benefit UBD and more importantly Brunei as a whole as that will mean more minds 'micro-scoping' our development and future. Politics is one example; Architecture, Law and Graphic Design to name a few are amongst the common courses that are traditionally provided in most overseas universities that UBD lack as to date.

One of the criteria to make any universities to be among the top on list is 'speciality subjects' or the faculty the really define the institution. A good example to understand this is by looking at the Australian National University (ANU). Times Higher Education World Rankings (2012) ranked the university at 38, faraway from those of the likes of Stanford, Harvard or Oxford. Yet in terms of 'rankings by subject', in this case 'Arts and Humanities', ANU was ranked 4th, 3 positions below Stanford and Harvard respectively, and importantly 3 positions above Oxford. From here it is clear that ANU specialises in Arts and Humanities, and that may define the institution to what is today. As to date, I don't think UBD possesses an actual specialty subject that defines itself. People may say that it could be the field of 'Education' but if that is so, then why were some Education courses and faculty scrapped off in recent years? 

The few things outlined are a number of considerations that UBD should look out for before setting out overambitious goals. Optimistically, all hope is not lost. it is still possible for them to achieve that, but maintaining it every year will be tough considering how much our beloved university is lacking, both in personnel and subjects. Being that optimist, I'm hoping to be one of the gaps that I hope will help to fill in the gaping holes that UBD is currently lacking. What my future will hole, I shall wait and see.


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