The fact that Brunei's entries to the Asia Pacific ICT Awards continue to clinch awards this year means our participants and entries are of international standards.
This was stated by Hj Yahkup bin Hj Menudin, Chief Executive of AITI and Chairman of BICTA Working Committee during the APICTA 2013 winner's appreciation high-tea yesterday at the Seri Kerna Hall, AITI building, Anggerek Desa.
The guest of honour at the event was Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Hi Abdullah bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar, Minister of Communications.
Accompanying the Minister was Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Communications, Chairman of AITI and Chairman of BICTA Steering Committee.
The ceremony saw the presentation of the AITI Grant of $25,000 to the two Merit Award winners of APICTA 2013. They were Chung Hwa Middle School (CHMS) Kuala Belait (KB) with their project 'Higher Education Guidance System (HEDGES)' and Institut Teknologi Brunei (ITB) with their project 'Autisay'.
Hj Yahkup said this year's APICTA 2013 was held in Hong Kong with a total number of 220 entries from 13 economy members.
The number of entries increased and this shows that APICTA is gaining traction and recognition in the Asia Pacific community.
Dormant APICTA economy members such as China, have also entered this competition. Thus, with the increased number of entries and the participation of the world's second largest economy, it inevitably raises the standard of APICTA to a higher level.
"However, that did not deter us and Brunei Darussalam submitted 10 entries to compete in the secondary schools, tertiary and ICT industry categories," he said.
"Our congratulations go to our two Merit Awards winners. First, the students from Chung Hwa Middle School (KB), with a project to help students and parents with information and guidance about higher institutions of learning most suitable during the transition from secondary schools to undergraduate or graduate programmes. Indeed, it was an application that will come in handy for parents and students and I believe this is the value that the APICTA judges acknowledge and thus give these entry high marks," he continued.
The second Merit Award winner was from ITB and they made an iPad application specially created for autistic individuals as their communication tool, which will make it easier for them to speak and learn.
The application even allows parents and guardians to upload photographs and record their own voices to effectuate their autistic children's needs.
The international judges were so touched by the students' passion and mission to create such an application for special needs children that they gave the ITB students a standing ovation.
To all the APICTA participants who were not successful this time, Hj Yahkup urged them not to feel discouraged and to continue on trying.
"The experience you will have gained along the way is very invaluable. The APICTA competition will hopefully nurture and unleash your talent to become more sustainable, marketable and enable you to gain international recognition," he added.