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Education in Brunei Darussalam is free, at all levels, but not compulsory. The government pays all of the costs, including textbooks and other supplies, transportation, and boarding, if necessary.

In 1974, and again in 1984, steps were taken by the Brunei government to restructure and define its educational system. Governmental and private educational institutions within the country are supervised by the Ministry of Education and must comply with the Education Act of 1984 and any subsequent standards established by the Ministry of Education.

Government schools in Brunei use both English and Malay as the languages of instruction. Despite pressure to adopt Malay as the sole language, English is also used, largely because many of the country's teachers are Britain or Australia. Due to the Islamic heritage of Brunei, as well as its status as an Islamic monarchy, the educational strategies of Brunei emphasize components of Islam, along with allegiance to the Sultan. Yet, its educational curricula draws heavily from the British educational system.

Children in Brunei may attend preschool at the age of five. It is a one-year program intended to familiarize children with the school environment and to enhance social development.

Children may begin primary school grade one at the age of six. Preschool is not a prerequisite. Primary school is a six-year program, from grades one to six, so students are usually about thirteen when they complete primary school. Students are required to sit for a national examination halfway through their primary school education and, at the end, they must pass a national test known as the Primary Certificate of Education Examination, which determines the student's suitability for continued education, as well as the path for secondary education.

Students with special needs might be offered either an individualized education plan or a remedial education plan, either of which may be designed to accommodate the abilities or needs of the student.

There are two levels of secondary school in Brunei, and a few options.

Middle school, or Junior Secondary School, is generally a three-year program, comprised of grades seven, eight, and nine, after which a student will sit for the Brunei Junior Certificate of Education Examination. Senior Secondary School, or senior high school, is grades ten and eleven, after which a General Certificate of Education Examination must be satisfactorily completed.

However, at the secondary level, students get to choose from a few different paths to learning, so long as they have demonstrated the aptitude to succeed.

The general secondary education program is for those have shown an aptitude for academic subjects and are inclined to continue along an academic path. Students who achieve particularly well by grade eight might complete secondary school in four years rather than five.

The applied secondary education program is for students who are inclined, either through interest or on the basis of examination scored, toward vocational learning. This program is more hands-on than academic and designed to teach skills that will prepare them for their chosen work. Usually, students who choose this option will make that choice at grade nine.

The specialized education program is for gifted children who have performed exceptionally well in specific areas. It is designed to allow these students to accelerate their education in in these areas, generally with the idea of continuing on to tertiary education.

The special education needs program is a five-year program designed for students with learning disabilities, the objective being to assist them in developing social, academic, and life skills, with an eye to a suitable work placement.

Some students who complete middle school will go on to a vocational school rather than to senior high school. These may be known as technical colleges or craft colleges, depending on the level, and may train students in nursing, agriculture, or primary school teaching.

Tertiary education might consist of a two-year diploma program or a four-year bachelor's degree program. Currently, there are four universities in Brunei; these are the University of Brunei Darussalam, Instit Teknologi Brunei, Sultan Sharif Ali Islamic University, and Seri Begawan Religious Teachers University College. Additionally, there are a number of lower-level training centers, institutes, technical colleges, and colleges.

If local facilities are unavailable, the Brunei government will pay for overseas education for qualified students.



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