News: Jun 24, 2015
The collaboration between the Faculty of Education and the University of Hong Kong (HKU) continued in the middle of June when an HKU delegation visited Gothenburg. The visit included a 2-day mini-conference.
The cooperation agreement, signed in 2009 by the faculties of education at the University of Gothenburg and the University of Hong Kong, continues to bear fruit.
A new Memorandum of Understanding between the faculties was signed in April.
‘It’s very valuable. It enables us to continue developing several of the collaborations that have already been established between the faculties,’ says Britt-Marie Apelgren, deputy dean and event host.
The visit included a 2-day mini-conference titled Research on Education for Sustainable Development. The Faculty of Education was represented by researchers mainly from the Department of Pedagogical, Curricular and Professional Studies, but also from the Department of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science.
‘The conference theme is of relevance to both universities. For example, four large externally funded research projects on the topic are currently underway at my department,’ says Jonas Emanuelsson, head of the Department of Pedagogical, Curricular and Professional Studies and in charge of the conference programme together with Eva Nyberg and Beniamin Knutsson.
It should also be mentioned that researchers from the Faculty of Education are involved in four of the twelve research proposals shortlisted within the University of Gothenburg’s so-called UGOT Challenges project, which stands for the University of Gothenburg Centres for Global Societal Challenges.
‘The conference programme offered matching presentations where researchers and doctoral students from HKU were teamed up with people from our university. Several issues of mutual interest were discussed, and we decided to stay in close contact in order to develop the research further,’ says Emanuelsson.
Deliang Chen, renowned climate researcher and professor of physical meteorology at the University of Gothenburg, gave one of many lectures at the conference, titled Earth System for Global Sustainability: Grand Challenges over the Coming Decade.
‘Global sustainability is of key importance for poverty elimination, public health and people’s food, energy and water security. Success will not be possible without a paradigm shift when it comes to economics, administration, trade, justice and power relations,’ said Chen.
He said that the scientific community is displaying an unprecedented ambition to find solutions to the most important challenges humankind has ever faced. This work has to contribute to insights about effects, vulnerability and alternative solutions in order to turn the global trends around and build resistance in an era of rapid global changes.
Arjen Wals, visiting professor at the Department of Pedagogical, Curricular and Professional Studies funded via a research grant from Carl Bennet AB, discussed in his presentation how sustainability issues sprung out of environmental concerns gradually have transitioned into a broader research interest that today also spans the social and educational sciences. In this field, issues related to social, cultural and economic sustainability are considered integrated with ecological sustainability. This integration presents entirely new demands and enables the development of models of education and learning that correspond better to the imminent need to identify more just and more sustainable ways of living.
Another purpose of the visit, besides the mini-conference, was to develop the cooperation in the field of education. The two faculties of education have already cooperated for several years for example within the third-cycle programme in language education. Several doctoral students and researchers also attended HKU’s corresponding mini-conference in 2012. At the master’s level, several of the faculty’s researchers and teachers have given HKU students lectures via Skype for several years. At the bachelor’s level, there is cooperation for example in the teacher training programmes, where teachers from the University of Gothenburg have carried out field studies in Hong Kong.
The latter example has been possible thanks to Professor Ming Fai Pang at HKU, who was also part of the delegation from Hong Kong this time. In 2009/2010, Fai Pang held the Carl and Thecla Lamberg visiting professorship at the Faculty of Education.
The contacts between the two faculties of education began in the early 1990s, when Professor Ference Marton took the first steps to establish research cooperation. Since then, a large number of joint research projects have been carried out, involving numerous other researchers at the faculty.