Public Policy

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Introduction
Public policy, in general, refers to a broad ranging issue which may deal with a wide variety of substantive areas such as education, health, housing and others. Harold Dwight Lasswell, an American political scientist, has made a great contribution to the study of policy-making, declaring policy as a process – “a set of phenomena organised in time and led by a number of specific and self-induced mechanisms” (1951). The key emphasis of public policy has been set on the part played by policy institutions and structures of government and on the processes associated with policy-making. This essay will discuss about the role of various institutions in policy-making process with reference to Brunei Darussalam’s education policy: the National Education System for 21st Century, also known as Sistem Pendidikan Negara Abad 21 or in short, SPN21. SPN21 as an Education Policy in Brunei Darussalam

The Ministry of Education in Brunei Darussalam is obligated in providing an educational system designed to diversify and broaden the provision of education as a package from primary to higher education to incorporating technical & vocational education, ensure a promising future for the country and prepare the younger generation for future roles as resourceful, competent and intellectual citizens. Hence, the education policy of SPN21 was implemented in 2008 mainly due to the rising expectations and global challenges of the 21st century whereby students would be equipped with relevant knowledge and skills to meet the changing needs of a forward looking economy. Other than that, Brunei Darussalam also aims to transform its education landscape as a rationale for change with the overview of Brunei Vision 2035 (Wawasan Brunei 2035). The SPN21 brings about several major changes to the education system. In terms of structure, the SPN21 gives highly capable students the opportunity to complete their secondary education in a shorter period of time which will definitely benefit the nation in its effort to improve its human resource development. For instance, students will complete either 4 year or 5 year programme before sitting for the Brunei Cambridge General Certificate of Education ‘O’ level examination. In terms of curriculum and assessment, there are specific areas being highlighted as significant and this includes core subjects Languages, Mathematics and Science, and compulsory subjects such as Malay Islamic Monarchy (Melayu Islam Beraja). These subject combinations can provide essential skills such as communication, physical and problem-solving skills and develop principle values and attitudes. There are also changes in technical education where students may be able to gain qualifications namely National Skill Certificate (NSC), Diploma and a four-year sandwich Degree. The SPN21 is regarded as one of the most fundamental education policies being implemented in Brunei Darussalam. The preparation process of the policy is systematic and thorough, whereby there are several institutions involved during the process in order to successfully enhance the education system with implementing the policy. The Policy-making Process

As previously stated, according to Harold Dwight Lasswell, policy is seen as a process and this can be explained using the process model he helped build. The process model is a complex and interactive process that leads to the making of policy, often described using these stages: 1) Problem Identification, 2) Agenda-Setting, 3) Formulation, 4) Decision-Making, 5) Implementation and 6) Evaluation. Hence, the process model will be applied to explain in detail the role of institutions, particularly stakeholders, in the policy-making of SPN21 in Brunei Darussalam. Role of Institutions in Reference to the Process Model

The first stage concerns with problem identification. This stage is necessary simply because it is undeniable that policies are developed in response to the existence of a perceived problem or an...
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