BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – A National Youth Survey
is currently being carried out to update Brunei’s youth policies, with
the aim of gathering feedback from a wide variety of people outside
established youth organisations.
The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports has commissioned the Centre
of Strategic and Policy Studies to conduct the survey, which will take a
more grassroots approach to gauge social issues affecting young people.
The survey will be used to review and update the National Youth Policy (Dasar Belia Negara),
which was first established in 2002 as part of efforts to form a
cohesive approach to address the social and economic trends affecting
According to the Department of Economic Planning and Development, the
total population of youths – defined in Brunei as those from age 15 to
40 — stood at 194,100.
According to the ministry, preliminary results of the survey will be shared at the upcoming Youth Congress in February 2019.
Challenges of digital era need to be addressed
Secretariat of the National Youth Survey, Muhd Ihsan Sabri Hj Abd
Manap, said that the “fourth industrial revolution” has created a need
for the policy to be reviewed to reflect and address challenges faced by
youth in a digital age.
The digital age, he noted, has brought a number of challenges
affecting young people, such as a changing job market, which can often
“Today, we are in the midst of a digital economy which demands a lot
of change. These changes encompass numerous things — from the values
that you hold, to the sets of skills that you have”.
He said that a significant number of youths have been identified
experiencing a sort of “crisis”, displaying attitudes that show a lack
of understanding or pride in the Bruneian identity.
With this in mind, Muhd Ihsan said that the ministry found it apt for
the next National Youth Policy to be reviewed with the “voices of
youth” leading the initiative, aiming to instill a sense of ownership
and accountability among youths regarding the policy.
He added that since the policy was first established more than 10
years ago, a number of the strategic areas have been addressed,
especially those that revolve around youth enterprises such as the
establishment of Darussalam Enterprise (DARe).
Not just youth leaders, everyone should be heard
“We want to learn about the issues surrounding our country’s youth
through a bottom-top approach, to get the input and feedback straight
from the source.
“Which is why we are directly engaging [them], to get a better understanding of what they are thinking.”
He explained that the first National Youth Policy back in 2002 was
also based on feedback provided by young people. However, they were
members of recognised youth associations, and not necessarily
representative of the entire demographic.
“The National Youth Policy, by right, should be created by youths for
youths. So we want to be inclusive, to include youths of different
intersections — whether they are from economic backgrounds or they are
differently-abled, everyone should be heard.”
Muhd Ihsan went on to say that the National Youth Survey will extend
until January, with a target of 4,000 respondents, in hopes that the
preliminary findings would be used during the Youth Congress, which is slated for February next year.
Unemployment still main worry for youths
When The Scoop met with respondents of the survey, the issues of
concern to them varied greatly, although the fear of unemployment loomed
In October, it was revealed that 5,513 students graduated from local tertiary institutions this year, in addition to the 9,654 active jobseekers currently registered on the JobCentre website.
Commenting on the National Youth Survey, Muhd Khairul Affendy
Abdullah, 23, said that it is important for the nation to equip young
entrepreneurs with the skills and resources to become successful heads
“If this could happen, at least our own youths could have a hand in
the growth of the private sector, which could expand the job market
here,” he said.
For Munawarah Hj Khamis, 24, a jobseeker who is also an active
volunteer, she believes more should be done to increase youth’s
participation in local government, by becoming members of village
“The inter-generational dialogue alone, I think, would be invaluable
to us youths, because our elders could help us a lot in terms of
administrative and leadership skills.
“Also, being involved in local government could expand our network,
which in the long run, can help secure opportunities that we might not
Fresh graduate Siti Nabilah Hj Mu’min, 22, hopes to see more equal
opportunity for women, believing that senior positions both in the
public and private sector are dominated by men.
Meanwhile, Fadil Sofian Abas, an aspiring graphic designer, believes
that more platforms should be developed for the creative industry in
“I see that the creative industry in Brunei is growing in prominence,
and I hope this continues in the coming years because it could spell a
positive impact for the nation, not only in terms of the economy, but
also for the creation of new jobs,” said the 23-year-old.
Source : The Scoop