The secondary level follows a two-phase stage: lower secondary and upper secondary. The lower secondary level covers three years of education at the end of which students sit for the Lower Secondary Assessment or Penilaian Menengah Bawah (PMB) examination. At the start of their secondary education, students are placed in either the mainstream or Level II programme according to how they perform at PSR. The different curricular emphases cater to the different learning abilities and inclinations. It is the aim of lower secondary education to prepare students for upper secondary and vocational/technical education and training. The majority of students will proceed to ‘O’ level following the mainstream curriculum whilst the Level II caters for those who are motivated by a vocationally-oriented curriculum.
The Level II lower secondary curriculum is devised as an alternative programme for students who are more inclined towards vocationally-oriented studies especially those who have sat for PSR twice and are still not able to fulfill the minimum passing rate. Designed to enable students to explore their abilities and develop their vocational/technical potential, the Level II curriculum consists of core and optional subjects. As of 2006, the PMB Level II Examination has been discontinued. Assessment of students in the Level II programme is now wholly school-based and carried out on a continuous and less formal basis. For Bahasa Melayu, Islamic Religious Knowledge and MIB, all lower secondary students cover the same curriculum. A new subject known as Al-Quran and Islamic Religious Knowledge (Al-Quran dan Pengetahuan Agama Islam – PAI) was introduced in selected secondary schools in January 2000. This was piloted in selected primary schools in 1994.
Bahasa Melayu, English Language, Mathematics, Science, Islamic Religious Knowledge, History and Geography
Compulsory and examinable subjects
Melayu Islam Beraja (MIB or Malay Islamic Monarchy), Physical Education (PE) and Co-curriculum
Compulsory but non examinable subjects
Computer Studies, Agriculture, Home Science, Commercial Studies, Woodwork, Technical Drawing, Metalwork, Music, Art & Design, Design and Technology, and a third language (Arabic, Chinese or French).
Electives (optional and examinable subjects)
All subjects are taught in English except for Islamic Religious Knowledge, MIB, Art and Handicrafts and the third language.
Level II subjects
(Mathematics, English and Science comprise 70% of the topical content in the regular lower secondary academic curriculum)
Bahasa Melayu (Malay language), English Language, Mathematics, Science, Geography, Islamic Religious Knowledge, MIB and Physical Education.
Modular-based optional subjects
Metalwork, Woodwork, Commercial Studies, Art and Handicrafts, Agriculture, Home Science, and Technical Drawing.
Upper Secondary - Based on their PMB performance, students in the mainstream curriculum are placed in either the Science or Arts Stream. Level II students follow the Secondary Vocational Programme (Program Menengah Vokasional - PMV). The duration of schooling at these levels is either two or three years.
Education at the upper secondary level is general in nature with some provision for specialisation in science, arts and technical fields. At the end of the second year, high academic achievers may sit for the Brunei-Cambridge GCE Ordinary level (GCE ‘O’ Level) examination.
As of 2006, apart from the National Vocational Certificate (NVC) in Clerical Studies, other options available to PMV students are the National Trade Certificate Grade 3 (NTC3) in various vocational subjects. The PMV programme spans a period of 2 years, consisting of a 6-month foundation course, a one-year NVC/NTC3 course and a six-month attachment. All subjects are taught in English except Kemahiran Bahasa Melayu, Tarbiah Islam and Bimbingan Asas Etika Kerja.
Students who have successfully completed PMV will be awarded a certificate in BDTVEC NVC or NTC3 which is recognized by the National Accreditation Council and the Public Service Commission.
‘O’ level Subjects compulsory for all students
Bahasa Melayu, English Language, Mathematics and one other examinable subject.
The fourth compulsory and examinable subject for the Arts stream may be chosen from this group or category
Agriculture, Combined Science
Science stream optional subjects (to select 2 or 3 subjects)
Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Additional Mathematics, Geography and Economics/Principles of Accounts.
In addition, students in the Science stream are allowed to choose one subject from the following: History, Literature in English, Kesusasteraan Melayu (Malay Literature), Islamic Religious Knowledge, Art, a third language (Arabic, Chinese or French), Computer Studies, Food and Nutrition, and Economics.
Arts stream optional subjects
Geography, History, Literature in English, Economics, Principles of Accounts, Commerce / Commercial Studies, Science / Combined Science/ Biology, Food and Nutrition, Home Management, Fashion and Fabrics, Malay Literature, Arts & Design, Islamic Religious Knowledge, a third language (Arabic, Chinese or French), Agricultural Science, Woodwork,Food and Nutrition, Commercial Studies and Economics, Food and Nutrition, Commercial Studies and Economics
Secondary Vocational Programme (PMV)
First stage (foundation)
Computer Applications; Language and Communications; Foundation Mathematics; Kemahiran Bahasa Melayu (Malay Language Skills); Tarbiah Islam and Bimbingan Asas Etika Kerja (Basic Work Ethics Guidance) and Science and Technology
NVC in Clerical Studies
NTC3 in Plumbing and Pipefitting, Painting and Decorating, Bricklaying and Concreting, Crops Production and Fish Husbandry.
To cater to the varied talents and aptitudes of students, a number of other routes are available to secondary school students based on their performance at PSR.
Entry into the Paduka Seri Begawan Sultan Science College or Pengiran Jaya Negara Secondary School is based on offer being made to students (who are citizens) with straight As in all the five subjects in PSR.
Students with athletic and/or sports inclinations may opt to go to the Sports School after their PSR. For entry, a student will need to pass an aptitude test and be either a citizen or permanent resident.
Privately-funded schools provide more choice and variety for students in Brunei. They also represent added sources of ideas and innovative practices in education. Private schools account 30 per cent of the number of educational institutions in this country. A few international schools like the Jerudong International School (JIS) and International School Brunei (ISB) have also established themselves in the education landscape offering a British curriculum (ISB offers a modified version of the National Curriculum of England) where pupils work towards GCSE and A-level / International Baccalaureate (IB) qualifications.