Transferable skills in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in Brunei Darussalam

Abstract

In Brunei Darussalam, transferable skills are called life skills (previously known as common skills). These skills have been integrated in the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) system for more than 12 years. This article explains the status of their implementation (perception among stakeholders and the approach taken to integrating these skills in teaching and learning) based on document analysis and interviews with 25 administrators, teachers, curriculum developers, government officials and experts. The interviews explored respondents’ involvement in, and experience of, integrating transferable skills in TVET according to their respective roles. Using content analysis, this article highlights key findings which respond to research questions on the current status of implementation, remaining issues and challenges, and areas for improvement in the field of transferable skills.

1 Introduction

1.1  Background, definitions and scope

In Brunei Darussalam, transferable skills are known as life skills (previously called common skills) and have been implemented in TVET for more than 12 years. The Brunei Darussalam Technical and Vocational Education Council (BDTVEC) Guide on Life Skills Implementation and General Teaching Practice (2012) states that “life skills are defined as personal management and social skills which are necessary for adequate functioning on an independent basis” (2).

The guidelines state that life skills consist of eight components:

(1) Self-management,
(2) Planning and organising,
(3) Communication,
(4) Working with others,
(5) Problem-solving,
(6) Initiative and enterprising,
(7) Applying numeracy, design and technology Skills, and
(8) Learning.

 In addition, life skills also include attitudes and values as listed in Table 1.

 Table 1: List of attitudes and values included in life skills

  • Balance
  • Care and Concern
  • Competition
  • Cooperation
  • Empathy
  • Independence
  • Integrity
  • Mutual Respect
  • Patriotism
  • Piety
  • Self-confidence
  • Self-esteem
  • Self-reliance
  • Sensitivity
  • Tolerance
  • Vigilance

In fact, life skills are considered to be general and work skills that are applicable and transferable in different vocational and social environments. For example, communication skills are needed in all social interaction but at the same time they are essential in any work environment.

1.2 Transferable skills in policy context

As a nation, Brunei Darussalam has its defined values. The Sultan stated in the titah (official royal address) on 23rd Feb 2003 that “national education should provide a dynamic, forward looking programme of knowledge and skills required by the industry and service sector without ignoring values”. In Brunei, values refer to values as defined by Malay Islamic monarchy (Melayu Islam Baraja or MIB) which are universal and can enable young people to develop their identities and self-image in a way that allows them to live harmoniously, be competitive and positively contribute to society in the context of globalization.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) in its statement entitled “Quality Education Towards a Developed, Peaceful and Prosperous Nation” and in its mission statement (which is “to provide holistic education to achieve everyone’s fullest potential”), transferable skills are linked to holistic education. MOE’s strategic plan further states that in order to improve teaching and learning in schools, holistic development of the individual must be given importance. In this context, holistic means the teaching of spiritual, moral, social and cultural attitudes and values.

The new education system (SPN2) aims to develop students’ knowledge and understanding, essential skills, attitudes and values to ensure their holistic development.  To simplify and to easily memorize it, MOE uses the following formula:

 SPN21 = Knowledge & Understanding + Essential Skills + Attitudes & Values  

1)   Knowledge and understanding are covered in content-based subjects;

2)   Essential skills when combined with relevant knowledge and the teaching of attitudes and values will provide the basis for lifelong learning and employability for a challenging future.

  • Essential skills include:
  • Communication skills,
  • Numeracy skills,
  • ICT skills,
  • Thinking and problem-solving skills,
  • Self-management skills and competitiveness,
  • Study and work skills,
  • Social skills,
  • Physical skills,
  • Sense of aesthetics.

3)      Attitudes and values are:

  • Self-confidence and self-esteem,
  • Empathy and the ability to appreciate,
  • Self-reliance and independence,
  • Tolerance and mutual respect,
  • Caring, concern and sensitivity
  • Integrity,
  • Patriotism,
  • Piousness,
  • Competitiveness,
  • Pro-activeness, and
  • Vigilance.

The above shows that the concept of transferable skills is already incorporated in the vision, mission and strategic planning of the Ministry of Education in Brunei Darussalam.

1.3 Implementation guidelines for transferable skills

According to the guide published by the Brunei Darussalam Technical and Vocational Education Council (BDTVEC), Brunei Darussalam’s policy and strategy for integrating transferable skill in TVET is similar to that of Australia (Australian Government Department of Education, Science and Training, 2006). Both countries identified eight components as transferable. (see Table 2)

Table 2: Transferable skills in Australia and Brunei Darussalam

Item

Australia

Brunei

1

Communication

Communication

2

Teamwork

Working with others

3

Problem-solving

Problem-solving

4

Initiative and enterprising

Initiative and enterprising

5

Planning and organising

Planning and organising

6

Self-management

Self -management and competitiveness

7

Learning

Learning

8

Technology

Applying numeracy, design and technology

The only difference can be found in item 8, e.g. both countries include technology as a component of transferable skills. However, in Brunei this component also contains numeracy and design.

In general, skills in Brunei are divided into three types, e.g. (1) foundation skill, (2) technical and vocational skills and (3) transferable skills. This concept is similar to that outlined in the Education for All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report 2012. In Brunei, foundation skills, e.g. numeracy and literacy skills, are taught at primary and secondary levels and are prerequisite for entering vocational and technical institutes. Technical and vocational skills are taught in vocational and technical institutions (VTIs) together with transferable skills which are embedded in the course content.

Transferable skills are also incorporated in the school curriculum which clearly defines each component, e.g. self-management, planning and organizing, communicating, working with others, and problem-solving. In addition, students should develop initiative and enterprising, numeracy, the ability to design, and apply technology and learning skills.

The following is a description of each component as stated in the curriculum:

  • Self-management: Students are able to recognize their own strength and weaknesses and find ways to improve their performance. It also helps students to manage their time professionally and effectively.
  • Planning and organising: Students are able to plan, organize and perform tasks safely and in a way which is considered correct.
  • Communicating: Students are able to listen, speak, read and write, use non-verbal communication and visual techniques to receive and present information effectively.
  • Working with others: Students are able to interact and work in teams with their peers, and develop mutual respect for each other.
  • Problem solving: Students are able to identify problems and solve them in creative and innovative ways.
  • Initiative and enterprising: Students are able to decide and act on their own without instruction, especially in difficult and challenging situations. It also helps students to develop their ability to find new and innovative solutions and decide on the best way to solve a problem.
  • Applying numeracy, design and technology skills: Students are able to use numeracy, design and technology skills to prepare and implement tasks.
  • Learning: Students have the ability of lifelong learning, e.g. an ongoing process of learning in order to bring about overall self-improvement.

2 Interview findings

2.1 Transferable skills in TVET teacher education: perspectives from teacher trainers

The following are quotes from a lecturer at a university in Brunei Darussalam where TVET teacher education is being offered. It shows that the lecturer integrates transferable skills in the teaching and learning process.

“I try to provide learning opportunities for teacher candidates by giving them the opportunity to develop their creative thinking skills, collaborative skills and innovative skills through in my classes.  These skills, I believe, are transferable skills, or as others call them ‘21st century skills’”.

“Thus, teacher candidates are encouraged to design and implement learning opportunities for their students that develop students' higher order and critical thinking skills. These are needed to solve problems which are related to the real world of work.”

In assessment, lecturers also incorporate transferable skills by using holistic assessment through rubrics. By using rubrics, important components of transferable skills are monitored using a checklist that reflects the level of mastery (or integration) with clear descriptors explaining each level.  Rubrics are self-explanatory and can therefore be used for self-assessment, peer-assessment or for assessment by teachers or industry supervisors.

To ensure a student-centred approach, the aforementioned university that offers pre- and in-service teacher training, places or attaches students (future teachers) to TVET institutions and uses the school mentor model. Thereby, students are mentored by their university lecturers and by the TVET teachers. Based on an interview with a university lecturer, the university recognises that transferable skills are equally important as technical skills for preparing graduates for employment. It is therefore mandatory for students of teacher education to pass the transferable skills unit before graduating.

2.2 Transferable skills in TVET: Perspectives from policy makers, government officials and administrators

At the national level, transferable skills are considered very important. The initiative to introduce transferable skills dates back to early 2000 when MOE collaborated with Microsoft Brunei on a program called P21. As part of this initiative, MOE planned to integrate the teaching of transferable skills in primary, secondary and technical schools. These skills are not only important for students’ future careers but also for the nation to develop according to national aspirations. This sentiment was reflected in an interview with a representative of a TVET quality assurance body:

“Transferable skills are very valuable for everybody, not just for students but also adults, not only for work but also everyday life. They are also important for the economic development of a country. If we want to have dynamic and sustainable economic development, we need a labour force that is adaptable to changes, at personal and organisational levels. We are, basically, trying to impart transferable skills through giving students’ an understating of the transferable skills concept and by opening their minds to be able to adapt to different work environments.”

To promote transferable skills, TVET must be conducted in an environment conducive to nurturing these skills. Such an environment can only be created through a holistic approach at both national and school levels. That sentiment was expressed by a policy maker who stated that “the whole TVET system must convey the same message: ‘Transferable skills are very important’”. To acknowledge the importance of transferable sills, another policy maker suggested that these skills could be considered as a criteria for offering scholarships.

“That is why, we give ten credits for transferable skills and we make it compulsory for everybody to show that they acquired all eight transferable skills in order to obtain a degree. Hopefully, in the future, government scholarships will require technical students, and even students at secondary level, to be introduced to what is called ‘aesthetic skills’. This requirement should be a prerequisite for awarding scholarships because students need transferable skills if they are to live overseas”.

One policy maker suggested broadening the scope of transferable skills by encouraging students to explore and expand these skills inside and outside of school. “Integration of transferable skills in the course content should not be restricted to the classroom. Any activity inside and outside the classroom should reflect transferable skills and the teacher should be a role model in their application.”

Given that most TVET teachers in Brunei are university graduates, many are lacking technical skills and industry experience. This, together with transferable skills, must be addressed holistically in teacher education, in recruitment processes, and through continuous capacity building for TVET teachers.

“The current teacher education policy is aimed at general education. Most of our TVET teachers have completed their study overseas and have limited experience and exposure to the industry. The current TVET teacher education programme focuses on pedagogical skills instead of technical skills.  This is to mean that it is very important for our future TVET teachers to have industrial experience. One way of ensuring this is by creating a new service scheme that allows us to recruit qualified and industry-experienced TVET teachers. The current scheme favours paper qualifications.”

There is need to highlight transferable skills in teacher training. “Besides teaching the technical side of the course, there is need to give “greater focus to transferable skills” so that in the practical training “they will have the content of transferable skills”. This arrangement could create incentive. 

The Regional Centre for Vocational and Technical Education and Training (SEAMEO VOCTECH) offers a programme entitled “Continuous Professional Development for TVET Teachers in Brunei” that addresses transferable skills by offering various training courses for teachers. Two examples include a course on transferable skills and the Authentic Teaching Learning and Assessment course.

According to the Centre’s Director:

“We are now offering training on Authentic Teaching Learning and Assessment or ATLAS for vocational and technical teachers in Brunei. We hope it will help them to learn how to create teaching and learning environments conducive for students to be more active, able to learn through the student-centred approach and have experience relevant to the industries. In Brunei, communication skills are still an issue for students. Improving these should start from the teachers.”

Another policy emphasized the need to assess students’ transferable skills. Given their importance and the effort invested in imparting them, adequate assessment must evaluate all eight transferable skill components.

“We realise the importance of transferable skills. That is why, we would like to create policies that ensure that these skills are reflected in certification and qualification processes.  Currently, we ensure that students have to pass courses on all eight transferable skills (as contained in the life skills framework) if they want a qualification recognised by the Brunei Darussalam Technical and Vocational Education Council (BDTVEC). We give credit for these courses that is why, we need assessment. If no credit is given, it might affect students’ perception of the importance of transferable skills. Even now that we emphasize the assessment of transferable skill there are cases that these skills are not adequately assessed.”

Assessment of transferable skills is important but challenging in TVET. Aspects of these skills should be integrated in assessment in a way that encourages both teachers and students to develop them and realise their value. As emphasised by an interviewee, assessment should be simple but, at the same time, reflect different competency levels.

“If students don’t pass the assessment of transferable skills, we don’t fail them but rather indicate that they have not yet developed them. These skills are embedded in all students. It is just a matter of time for them to realise they possess these skills and learn how to unfold them. We want students to be at least aware of the importance of transferable skills. Currently, students receive a grade transcript where all eight transferable skills are described. But it should also contain description of grading criteria instead of just stating ‘pass’, ‘merit’, ‘distinction’. However, at the moment, our teachers have problems putting such grading criteria down in words. They find it easier to grade by percentages and later translate these percentages into ‘pass’, ‘merit’ or ‘distinction’. Currently, we don’t descriptive criteria for each of these grades but having them would be the best option.”

The industry has also a role to play in assessing transferable skills, especially during the three months of industrial attachment which TVET students have to complete in Brunei.

“We require employers to assess ‘attached’ students. (Industry attachment lasted six months in the past but have now been reduced to three months). Employers assess transferable skills and produce a report stating whether performance was satisfactory. If so, results are combined with assessment of other skills and an average is calculated to determine the final grade.”

At the national level, the Brunei Darussalam Technical and Vocational Education Council (BDTVEC) is supported by its Professional Development Committee (PDC) that coordinates and oversees the integration of transferable skills in TVET. The members of the committee include deputy principals who monitor the implementation of transferable skills at school level. The committee also organises capacity building programmes on transferable skills for school personnel.

“PDC is led by a chair person and a co-coordinator with school deputy principals as official members. At the school level, the committee has also other members. PDC informed its members of requirements for setting up their own school- based transferable skills committees to conduct transferable skills training. In private schools, transferable skills programmes were established and guest speakers are being invited. Every Saturday, capacity building in transferable skills is being conducted. At the moment, it is up to the schools to give guidance and conduct monitoring of these activities. Furthermore, schools are required to submit assessment reports of all activities related to transferable skills.”

In fact, there are various ways of assessing transferable skills. The most common practice in Brunei is observation and demonstration. As highlighted by a policy maker, rubrics are also increasingly used to assess students’ e-portfolios to complement existing assessment methods.

“The use of e-portfolios can complement current assessment practices. At the beginning of the course, a student uses the e-portfolio to identify and record his/her life objectives in relation to his/her course. Throughout the school year, the student then assesses the transferable skills he/she learned through activities inside and outside of school. Finally, the portfolio is submitted to the student’s teacher.”   

2.3 Transferable skills in TVET: teachers’ perspectives

Findings are based on interviews with 19 teachers and will be presented in a table outlining the most common responses and with other findings shown in narratives and direct quotes. The following are teachers’ most common perceptions of the way transferable skills are integrated in TVET curriculum, teaching-learning processes and assessment, including the perceived support mechanisms.

Table 3:   Teachers’ perceptions of transferable skills

Variable

Comment

f

style="text-indent: -18.0pt; line-height: 115%; mso-list: l25 level1 lfo22;">·Integration of life skills in the national curricula

 

  • Integrated and embedded in the subject/programme guide
  • Not all life skills are integrated in the unit guide
  • Not really reflected because life skills are embedded in the modules
  • These skills are not really spelt out in the national curriculum
  • Not sure
  • No clear indication
  • 8

  • 3

  • 3

  • 3

  • 3
  • 1

Teaching methods that support life skills

  • In general, still teacher-centred pedagogies prevail (students’ preference)
  • Many group activities are given to students to enhance their life skills
  • It is up the teacher to integrate transferable skills
  • No clear guideline is provided
  • No specific mention of the teaching approaches used
  • Student activities related to real-life contexts are used in classes
  • Teacher-centred approach is followed by learner-centred approach
  • Hybrid approach (combination of traditional and ICT-based pedagogies) that encourages students to be more involved
  • It is embedded in all the teaching and learning activities; such as presentation, group projects, etc.
  • There is no need to use special teaching methods as life skill are inherent in existing pedagogies and teachers also serve as a role model for the students
  • Project-based learning the approach in which eight transferrable skills are applied, e.g. in the final year business project.
  • 6


  • 4

  • 3

  • 3
  • 1

  • 1

  • 1

  • 1



  • 1


  • 1




  • 1

Support mechanism

  • There is no formal support system in place, only guidelines are provided
  • Not sure if any
  • Staff is assigned to monitoring the teaching of life skills. At the beginning of the school year, the teachers are briefed on life skills integration.
  • There is support but it is ineffective
  • Programme coordinator and group coordinators are assigned to plan and monitor the implementation of life skills
  • PGCTE (Postgraduate Certificate in Technical Education) and training plus experience should be enough
  • There is no policy but some initiatives such as training and industry attachment
  • Life skills are implemented in the system but group coordinators’ or unit tutors’ commitment is required
  • 8

  • 7
  • 4



  • 3
  • 2



  • 1


  • 1


  • 1

Assessment

  • Not clear. There is need for training on how to assess life skills
  • Assessment is conducted through monitoring and grading of the eight life skill components based on a form provided twice a year
  • The current assessment does not really reflect valid assessment. There is a need to simplify the assessment process
  • Rubrics and electronic portfolios are used to assess life skills
  • Assessment of life skills is time consuming when using the current assessment tool
  • The life skill ‘entreprising’ is that easy to integrate or assess
  • 10

  • 3



  • 3



  • 2

  • 2


  • 2

Note: Some teachers’ comments fall under more than one variable/category

In general, teachers had different perceptions when questioned about the integration of transferable skills in pedagogies and assessment. Most teachers confirmed that transferable skills are in some way integrated in the curriculum. Despite the fact that many teachers are still following teacher-centred approaches, there is also a move towards student-centred teaching, especially through the use of group work. However, most teachers reported that they lack a clear understanding of transferable skill assessment. More than a half of all respondents also expressed a need for more training on transferable skills. In terms of support in implementing transferable skills, most teachers reported a lack of support mechanisms or a lack of their effectiveness.

Based on the interviews, it can be said that many teachers are trying to incorporate transferable skills in their teaching regardless of their limited understanding of these skills.

“I think it would be better if we had hands-on training on how to integrate and assess transferable skills. Not just a brief seminar but a proper workshop to enable teachers to understand the processes. At the moment we don’t know how to teach and assess transferable skills and what to base it on.”

One respondent indicated that the implementation of common skills, the term used before ‘life skills’ (as used to refer to transferable skills in Brunei), was much better and admitted that their understanding of common skills clear. Other teachers felt that the guidelines should be provided for both teachers and students:

“It is important to provide students with guidelines and assessment criteria for improving their transferable skills. Teachers, on the other hand, need guidelines that will allow them to teach and lead students in acquiring practical skills”.

In fact, transferable skills are not clearly integrated in the curriculum in Brunei. Instead, guidelines (the Blue Book) have been developed to complement the curriculum. According to one teacher, “the national curriculum does not provide guidance on integrating transferable skills into pedagogies”. Another teacher confirmed this notion by stating that “transferable skills are not mentioned in the objectives of the curriculum, it focuses more on the subjects".

Furthermore, “transferable skills as defined in the Blue Book put excessive expectations on students. Transferable skills should be implemented in a well-thought out manner not just stated on paper. Besides, there should be a form of student evaluation which measures their development and the transformation of their attitudes and habits.”

It seems that some teachers have developed their own way of “teaching” transferable skills using approaches that they choose autonomously. As a result, teaching and assessment of these skills seem subjective, according to one teacher:

“How can you tell if a student fails the communications skill component or all the eight of them?  How can you improve these skills? It’s very subjective. Different schools have different ways of grading or assessing. There is no conform way of assessment which is adequate and flexible enough. In fact, there is no right or wrong.“

Based on current practices, assessment of transferable skills is time consuming and teachers have to assess all eight transferable skill components (see Table 2) twice a year. The use of the e-portfolio is considered a very positive step in monitoring and assessment of transferable skills. In general, however, teachers call for more training, especially on the assessment of transferable skills. One teacher stated that:

“Most teachers need a clearer understanding of transferable skills assessment. It is difficult to assess transferable skills because of the marking. In comparison, there was no need for marking of “common skills” (the term used previously to refer to transferable skills), which were only checked.”

Other teachers confirmed that assessing transferable skills is difficult, especially components like enterprising and innovation. “Not all transferable skills components can be integrated in my teaching. But when assessing, I have to fill in information for all eight transferable skills components, so I end up filling the blanks for the sake of it and to ensure that the student passes”. Another teacher stated that “initiative and enterprising are not that easy to assess but a rubric and e-portfolios are used to assess these transferable skill components.”

In regards to assessment, some teachers find assessment difficult because of limited time. One teacher also expressed preference in using simple grades, instead of score.

“Assessing transferable skills should be more user-friendly. I prefer using grades instead of scores, like in the assessment of common skills where ‘distinction’, ‘merit’ or A, B, C, instead of percentages, were used.”

“I am not sure if the approaches used for assessing transferable skills are right or wrong. Currently, teachers just translate general scores into marks for transferable skills. For example, if a student gets 70% as the overall score, he/she will get a B for transferable skills. I’m not sure that this is the right way of assessing students’ transferable skills.”

3 Discussion

Regardless of some discrepancies between guidelines and implementation, there are some key points that need to be discussed and improved with regard to transferable skills. All respondents agreed that transferable skills are important and that there is need for clear guidelines for teacher training, both at national and at school levels. Current guidelines are perceived as very useful but insufficient in responding to various concerns expressed by TVET practitioners. For that reason, the TVET curriculum needs to be reviewed to respond to these concerns and to reflect skills needed as expressed by industries, including transferable skills. The TVET curriculum should encourage a self-directed approach and active development of competencies in work projects (UNESCO, 2013). Raising teachers’ awareness of existing guidelines and teachers’ understanding of their applicability would be helpful.

The current findings show different approaches to imparting transferable skills. Many teachers are shifting from teacher-centred to student-centred approaches by engaging students in classroom activities that encourage them to use critical thinking and higher-order thinking skills. The use of group activities that stimulate teamwork skills, and project-based and problem-based pedagogies are increasing. In addition, the role of a teacher is increasingly seen as that of a role model which is important considering that some transferable skills are imparted more effectively by example than traditional teaching. This development is in line with the approach promoted by UNESCO which is that transferable skills should not be taught using traditional teaching but through consultative and more student-centred approaches. Vocation-specific projects, work-related tasks facilitated in real-work conditions are some of the important approaches that teachers should consider (UNESCO, 2013). According to the Centre for Developing and Evaluating Lifelong Learning (2007), “teachers/lecturers/mentors need to be passionate, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, approachable and well organised in order to: (a) communicate to learners the importance of generic skills in the workplace; (b) help learners to acquire such generic skills; and (c) ensure that learners are then capable of transferring these skills to new contexts.” (p. 10). In that respect, conducive learning strategies include, among others, workplace-based projects, mini-companies (small scale companies run by educational institution for the purpose of providing learning experience), enquiry-based learning, learning based on problem solving, reflective learning and workplace practice (p.13).

The most challenging and frequently mentioned issues relate to monitoring and assessment of transferable skills. Most teachers expressed concern about their limited understanding of pedagogies and assessment conducive to transferable skills. The most common teaching techniques include observation and demonstration. Assessment is conducted through marking as outlined in the official guidelines. Despite their limited use, some teachers also mentioned e-portfolios and rubrics as assessment tools. As suggested by UNESCO (2013), assessment should be oriented towards TVET activities and the world of work. It must further be based on holistic, real or ideal working environments which reflect complex learning progresses to ensure that formal and informal learning can be equally assessed. According to the Centre for Developing and Evaluating Lifelong Learning (2007), there are four basic approaches to the assessment of generic employability skills (which are comparable with transferable skills) (a) assessment by teachers or assessors; (b) student portfolios; (c) work-based assessment; and (d) assessment using purpose-built instruments (a survey tool developed specifically for student assessment). In Brunei, the use of portfolios in TVET has arguably been successful in increasing the importance of transferable skills, creating useful information and thus enhancing student learning of these skills. Workplace assessment is also considered adequate for assessing transferable skills in TVET in Brunei (p.15-16). These approaches are recognized as appropriate but thee assessment of transferable skills remain a challenge.  

With regard to assessment, some teachers prefer using categorical scale (i.e. pass/fail, or excellent/good/average/ poor, or distinction/merit/distinction) instead of scores (i.e. 0 to 100). The importance of employers’ participation in transferable skills assessment was also emphasised by respondents. Nevertheless, assessment of transferable skills continues to be performed mainly by teachers. Curtis (2007) recommends the use of self-assessment by students whereby teachers validate students’ self-assessment. Furthermore, considering portfolios and work experience can provide valuable assessment evidence.  

The Centre for Developing and Evaluating Lifelong Learning (2007) suggests developing assessment systems that possess the following characteristics: (a) a clear and simple definition of the skills so that performance criteria and evidence guides are clear and easy to understand; (b) a set of clear guidelines for learners about what is required in order to achieve a successful assessment; (c) a mechanism for communicating the scope of transferable or generic skills to learners and employers; (d) a means of providing feedback to learners on their acquisition of employability skills; (e) a rich source of information about individual achievement, with supportive evidence; (f) an opportunity to undertake assessments that are authentic and occur within a work context or one that closely simulates it; (g) a summary of the performance of individuals that is readily apparent to employers; (h) a cost-effective means of collecting performance information, individually and at aggregate levels. (p.17)

4 Conclusions

Based on the aforementioned findings and discussions, it can be concluded that transferable skills have, to a certain degree, been integrated in the curriculum, pedagogies and assessment for the last 12 years in Brunei. Guidelines on transferable skills have been published in 2010 and are being used as reference by teachers in terms of rationale, definition, framework, list of transferable skills components, staff development, integration in the course content, monitoring and verifying transferable skills.

Nevertheless, there is still a mismatch between existing transferable skills guidelines and their implementation in TVET practice. Most teachers remain unclear about the way to integrate transferable skills in their teaching and adequate assessment methods. Existing support mechanisms, including the committee and guidelines, seem insufficient in assisting teachers to integrate transferable skills in their pedagogies.  Consequently, teaching of transferable skills should be further reinforced in teacher training and through adequate support mechanisms, both at national and school levels.

After conducting a national study on the implementation of transferable skills at classroom level, related policies and guidelines will need to be adjusted to address the findings. This continuous effort is necessary if students are to develop skills relevant to the labour market and to ensure their gainful employment after graduation.

5 Acknowledgments

The following individuals were involved in data collection, its transcription, and initial data analysis: Edward Dela Rosa, Cynthia Abdullah, Ashikin Nawe from SEAMEO VOCTECH, and Omarali Mujah, Norazlina Othman, Syazana Hj Ebil form the Department of Technical Education Brunei.

Note: *Paryono Paryono is seconded from the State University of Malang, Indonesia.

References

Australian Government Department of Education, Science and Training (Ed.). (2006). Employability Skills. From Framework to Practice. An Introductory Guide for Trainers and Assessors. Melbourne. 

Brunei Darussalam Technical and Vocational Education Council (BDTVEC). (2012). BDTVEC Guide. Life Skills Implementation and General Teaching Practice. Ministry of Education Brunei Darussalam.

Centre for Developing and Evaluating Lifelong Learning. (2007). The Teaching, Learning and Assessment of Generic Employability Skills. The Centre for Developing and Evaluating Lifelong Learning at the University of Nottingham. http://www.marchmont.ac.uk/Documents/Projects/ges/ges-guide%5Boptimised%5D.pdf (retrieved in February 2014).

Curtis, D.D. (2007). Assessing employability skills: The case of problem solving. Centre for Lifelong Learning and Development and School of Education, Flinders University. http://www.avetra.org.au/abstracts_and_papers_2003/Curtis.pdf (retrieved in February 2014)

Ministry of Education Brunei Darussalam. (2012). The Ministry of Education Strategic Plan 2012-2017. Brunei Darussalam: Strategic Management Unit, Department of Planning, Development and Research.

UNESCO. (2013). Transferable Skills in TVET: A concept note. UNESCO-RCP Research Collaboration.

UNESCO (Ed.). (2012). EFA Global Monitoring Report 2012. Youth and Skills. Putting Education to Work. Summary. Paris. 

Citation

Paryono (2014). Transferable skills in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in Brunei Darussalam. In: TVET@Asia, issue 3, 1-15. Online: http://www.tvet-online.asia/issue3/paryono_tvet3.pdf (retrieved 30.06.2014).

Author(s)

Portrait
Paryono
SEAMEO VOCTECH Brunei