Visit at NTU in Singapore

On Friday 17 January, our final day in Singapore, our colleagues at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) put together a rich programme for us. We began with a longer meeting with the President and the management and then visited various departments around the campus, which is as large as it is orderly and thriving.

NTU has over only a few years gone from being a purely technical university with a Chinese profile, to a major international institution that also includes medicine, natural sciences, humanities and social sciences. There are many points of contact with Sweden and Stockholm University (SU), mainly of course, President Bertil Andersson, but also many other employees with a past at SU. Sweden is also highly interesting for the students.

We have, for some years, had a cooperation agreement with NTU in the area of science. Now we have also signed an MoU, in order to soon sign a central university agreement, that will include both of our academic disciplines. Thanks to our colleagues in the delegation, discussions around cooperation were excellent and very practical. There remains now a lot of work to make sure that they are realised!

From Hong Kong to Singapore

16 January. Our delegation has now spent an intense day in Singapore and already noted that Hong Kong and Singapore, despite their obvious differences, also have a lot in common. They are both crucibles for a comparatively large population with many cultures that coexist in a very small geographic area. They are "transit sites" with substantial international mobility and circulation. They provide entry points to Asia in English. They are investing heavily in education and research, consciously investing resources in order to compete in academic rankings, and are far ahead in terms of international cooperation.

The day began with a visit to Ambassador Håkan Jevrell and his closest associates. Next, we visited the National University of Singapore (NUS), with which we have a central agreement. The University is actively working to combine interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary breadth in degree programmes, in combination with subject depth and rigour. Recently, a "Yale - NUS liberal arts college" has been opened on the initiative of President Tan Chorh Chuan, the first of its kind in Singapore, which also seeks integration between disciplines.

While at NUS we were given a tour of the campus by student ambassadors - where we by chance came across a group of very happy Swedish exchange students.

More from Hong Kong

January 15. Yesterday we visited the Swedish Consulate in Hong Kong, where we got to meet Consul General Jörgen Halldin and consul Amelie Heinsjö. In addition, we met Elin Djurén (pictured), a student at Stockholm University, currently completing an internship at the consulate. The meeting gave us a very informative and balanced introduction to both society and higher education here - an important framework for our visits to universities and for the development of student exchanges.

Hong Kong is at the top in the PISA survey. Even here, however, the debate rages. Some claim that it confirms the value of the school system’s focus on competition, examinations and rote learning, while others question this. On our visit to the University of Hong Kong, the top-ranked university here that we also have exchange agreements with, the focus turned to teacher training, and we discussed both the increasing areas of exchange and the possibility of international internships in both directions.

We also received a tour of the university's exquisite geological museum, as well as a tour of their newly constructed campus, led by enthusiastic student ambassadors. After a few eventful days in Hong Kong, we travel onwards to Singapore.



Visit to Hong Kong

January 13. During this week we, a delegation of six people from Stockholm University, are in Hong Kong and Singapore for this semester’s Vice-Chancellor’s Tour. Today we spent an intense day at the City University of Hong Kong, where we met both management and a number of individual researchers. Torbjörn Lodén, our professor of Sinology at Stockholm University, who has been a visiting professor here for two years, had put together a varied and exciting programme. Tomorrow we will also visit the University of Hong Kong.

We have university-wide agreements with both universities, and some individual departments have their own agreements. But agreements require maintenance and continued personal contact - which is why these kinds of visits are important. One question that we have with us concerns increased international exchange in teacher education. Our hosts, in turn, have raised the possibility of shorter exchanges in the context of summer courses.

image: visit the Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre - the first of its kind in Asia.
image: visit the Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre - the first of its kind in Asia.