Armed with new methods and techniques on disaster prevention and control, two representatives from the Ministry of Education (MoE) returned from their 12-day trip in Japan under the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths (Jenesys) Programme.
Dk Siti Ummikalthum Pg Hj Muhammad, assistant Public Relations officer and Mas Diana Abdul Samat, deputy Principal (Academic) at Sayyidina Othman Secondary School, both said that the programme had given them new experiences as well as opened their eyes to all the different methods used in disaster prevention. “I learned and gained a lot of new experiences. It really taught me how to be prepared,” said Dk Siti Ummikalthum.
Asked of what systems or drills she had learnt that may be implemented in the Sultanate, she said “We learnt about the 5 Flood Control – the five preventative – measures that the Japanese government is implementing in flood prone areas.”
Mas Diana explained that the system was quite technical in nature as it involved the actual restructuring of rivers and the widening of river banks, which she added, “Brunei is doing as well (the widening of river banks) in response to the heavy flooding that we experienced last year.”
Aside from that, Mas Diana said, “We also learnt about Hazard Mapping which basically tells people what areas are safe or unsafe in that given area.”
She added that she will try to introduce this practice in Sayyidina Othman Secondary School.
Though the 5 Flood Control system was only mentioned briefly in a lecture, as were other precautionary measures, Dk Siti explained, “We have coordinated with the National Disaster Management Committee (NDMC) so that they can utilise these systems if necessary.”
When asked about the most valuable knowledge that they gained and wished to see implemented here, the two said that witnessing the community in Japan work together to help themselves was the prize of the trip.
Mas Diana said, “What fascinated me the most was the community; how they helped each other to better organise and protect their community against natural disasters.”
“They don’t simply rely on the government for help. Instead they take the initiative and fund themselves; they just asked the government to teach them how to better protect themselves,” added Dk Siti Ummikalthum.
The two shared that the experiences they gained when visiting Maiko High School in Kobe (a natural disaster prevention school for “A” Level students) were exceptionally touching; especially, watching the students’ efforts and dedication in spreading awareness and the solutions to disaster that were top notch.
Meanwhile, two local students from Jerudong International School (JIS) are expected to leave for Japan under the same Jenesys programme for the purpose of developing human resources and to offer Asian youth the opportunity to cultivate their innovative spirit, as stated in a press statement issued by the Japan Embassy.
The programme which will be held in Okinawa, will focus primarily on environmental issues, and specifically, water problems.
Badi Lattif, 16, and Nicole Yau, 17, will be in Japan for three weeks where they will be attending various lectures on environmental issues and working with people from around the world to come up with ideas on how to combat water problems. The two have highlighted overuse, lack of water conservation initiative, and water quality as the main water problems in the Sultanate.
Asked what they hoped to gain from the trip, Yau said ‘Better cultural exchange, and more knowledge on environmental problems.” Meanwhile, Badi said he hoped to “learn more about the Japanese culture, and more modern ways of dealing with water problems.” About 75 students will be taking part in the Jenesys programme.
—Courtesy of The Brunei Times