Providing Various Services to Society
English Translation | Anthony Sou
Photo | Editorial Board, with some provided by the interviewees
In addition to nurturing talent and pursuing academic research, the University of Macau (UM) is also committed to serving the local community. Since its establishment 40 years ago, UM has spared no effort to create benefits for the community. It actively participates in local research projects, plays an active role as a think tank, offers training courses for government departments and social organisations, and provides academic and technical consultancy, as well as research and development (R&D) services to the local community.
Devising Strategies for the Government via Macao Studies
Founded in 1987, the Centre for Macau Studies (CMS) at UM is committed to serving Macao through study of the local community. In the 1980s and 1990s, before Macao’s handover to China, CMS worked as a social think tank with community leaders and professionals from all walks of life to devise strategies for the problems and challenges facing the city during the transitional period leading up to the handover, becoming one of the important academic forces at this important moment of history. Over the years, the centre has formed a multidisciplinary team to study key issues in Macao and carry out major projects to push the boundaries of Macaology.
CMS holds a seminar to discuss Macao’s urban development master plan
Prof Agnes Lam
After the handover, CMS continued to respond to the needs of Macao’s economic and social development through research projects and academic activities. The centre has created the Macao Economic Database, published the Journal of Macau Studies, and launched various academic exchange and collaboration activities. ‘As Macao’s society has evolved, the studies conducted by CMS scholars have also changed,’ says Agnes Lam, director of CMS and an associate professor in the Department of Communication. For example, in 2020, CMS carried out a lot of work in data forecasting, which resulted in the macroeconomic forecast for Macao. The centre also held seminars on major social issues, including the chief executive’s policy address and Macao’s urban development master plan. In addition, the centre participated in a collaborative project with 16 countries to study the responses of governments around the world to COVID‐19, as well as the feedback of the public. The data will serve as a basis for policymaking for the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) government.
Offering Training to Boost the Competitiveness of Industry Practitioners
The University of East Asia (UEA), the predecessor of UM, established the College of Extension Studies in 1981 to provide professional training courses in various subjects, including language, management, and computing, in order to meet market demands and the needs of society. Because of their flexibility and diversity, the courses attracted a lot of working people who used their spare time to enhance their skills. In 1991, UEA was renamed the University of Macau. After its new Charter was promulgated, the university established the Centre for Continuing Education and Special Programmes in late 1992, with the aim of promoting continuing education, and since 1998, adult education has developed rapidly at UM.
In 2006, the centre was renamed the Centre for Continuing Education (CCE), with the mission to o er continuing education, cultural and vocational training, and part‐time non‐degree programmes to boost the competitiveness of Macao’s workforce. According to Matthew Liu Ting Chi, director of CCE, the centre is the main window for UM to provide non‐degree programmes to individuals in the community. It is committed to providing quality courses and education services to the public. In the three years from 2018 to 2020 alone, over 6,000 enrollments in and completion of CCE courses were recorded.
The graduation ceremony for the professional diploma course in quantity surveying offered by CCE. CCE Director Matthew Liu Ting Chi is in the front row, 5th from right in the photo.
In recent years, in response to the development needs of Macao and the Guangdong‐Hong Kong‐Macao Greater Bay Area, CCE has developed courses in a wide variety of subjects, including financial data analysis, construction safety, big data, electromechanical engineering, quantity surveying, Montessori education, and training for early childhood trainers in nurseries. In addition to regular courses, the centre has also offered training for senior civil servants from cities in the Greater Bay Area and organised cross‐border student exchange trips. During the epidemic period from April to July 2020, CCE launched courses to provide free training opportunities for owners and employees of small‐ and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) in Macao under strict compliance with epidemic prevention measures.
SME training courses are well received by working people
Offering Leadership Training Course to Help Build the Government’s Talent Pipeline
In 2020, UM established the Public Administration Training Centre under CCE. At the opening ceremony for the centre and the inaugural leadership training course designed for local civil servants, Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng expressed his high expectations for course participants as well as his hope that the training course would continue to be offered to help build the talent pipeline of the SAR government.
Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng (3rd from right) unveils the plaque of the Public Administration Training Centre
Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng (1st from right) has high expectations for participants in the inaugural leadership training course for civil servants
Shui Bing, director of the Public Administration Training Centre and a professor in the Faculty of Law (FLL), says that the course provides o ‐the‐job training for civil servants: ‘This course differs from the previous fragmented training for public workers and focuses on inter‐departmental cooperation and e‐government, with the aim of nurturing innovative talent to provide solutions for public sector reform.’
Prof Shui Bing
Gaming Study Helps the Government in Policy Making
The Institute for the Study of Commercial Gaming (ISCG), established in 2003, is the first institute in Macao to conduct gaming research, to provide related policy advice and training courses, and to promote responsible gambling in collaboration with government departments and social organisations. As the director of ISCG, Davis Fong Ka Chio, a professor in the Faculty of Business Administration, is also the first person to study gaming in Macao. ‘In the early stage of Macao’s handover, no one thought of doing research on gaming, and neither the government nor the higher education institutions had any data on gaming,’ says Prof Fong. ‘However, with our e orts over the years, and thanks to the government’s confidence and support, ISCG has collected an adequate amount of data and conducted various studies, which will serve as a basis for the Macao SAR government in formulating related policies.’
Prof Davis Fong Ka Chio
A Responsible Gambling Kiosk jointly developed by the Social Welfare Bureau, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, and ISCG.
ISCG offers a Diploma in Casino Management programme and an Advanced Diploma in Gaming Management programme for gaming industry employees and those who are interested in joining the industry. Through these training programmes, the institute aims to professionalise gaming management and boost the competitiveness of the industry’s human resources. Currently, ISCG is working with various faculties at UM to conduct interdisciplinary research on the mechanisms of gaming addiction, addiction prevention, as well as the neuroscience of gaming and decision making. Prof Fong notes that the studies could help uncover the neural mechanisms of addiction and explore possible interventions and treatments.
ISCG works with various faculties to study the mechanisms that underlie addiction and addiction prevention
Involvement in Drafting the Basic Law
UM plays an important role in the implementation of the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ policy in Macao, which includes the drafting and implementation of the Basic Law. Faculty members in FLL have been involved in the drafting and translation of important laws, providing advice on legal policies and training for government officials in the legal sector. One of the examples is Prof Lok Wai Kin, who was responsible for duties related to the drafting of the Basic Law before joining UM in 2001. It can be said that he witnessed the drafting and birth of the Basic Law of Macao SAR. According to Prof Lok, UM played a significant role in the birth of the Basic Law and has also made important contributions to its implementation.
Prof Lok Wai Kin
Compiling Teaching Materials on History and Law
The Centre for Constitutional Law and Basic Law Studies at UM was inaugurated in 2018, with Prof Lok as the director. Over the past two years, Prof Lok serving has promoted the constitution and the Basic Law in different parts of society, including primary and secondary schools. In addition, he has been working with an association for the promotion of the Basic Law to provide training for the community. ‘The centre has been providing training on the constitution and the Basic Law to various government departments and organisations,’ says Prof Lok. ‘It has completed compiling teaching materials for local primary and secondary schools in 2020, and will continue to prepare relevant materials for civil servants in the SAR government.’
The Moot Court of FLL helps students learn more about how a court operates
The Macao Base for Primary & Secondary Education in Humanities & Social Sciences, formed by UM’s Centre for Chinese History and Culture (CCHC), Confucius Institute, Chinese‐Portuguese Bilingual Teaching and Training Centre, and CMS, was inaugurated in 2018, to provide whole‐person education to primary and secondary school students in Macao from an early age. As part of the base, CCHC is currently compiling supplementary teaching materials on Chinese history for primary and secondary schools. It has also set up a base for the promotion of Chinese history and culture and will encourage local primary and secondary schools to become partners in order to strengthen patriotic education and promote Chinese culture.
The inauguration ceremony for UM’s Cultural Building in 2019
PISA Study Helps Shape Education Policies
The Faculty of Education (FED) offers a wide range of training courses and degree programmes to improve the quality of teachers in Macao while faculty members engage in educational research to assist the Macao SAR government in formulating education policies. The Educational Testing and Assessment Research Centre (ETARC), founded in 2006, is an important research unit in the eld of educational testing and assessment in Macao, and has conducted various research projects through collaboration with domestic and international agencies and academic research teams. Some of the notable projects include the triennial Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which is conducted in collaboration with the Organisation for Economic Co‐operation and Development, and the development of science and language evaluation tools, a project jointly conducted with mainland universities for the National Assessment Centre for Education Quality under the Ministry of Education of China.
The PISA study helps the Macao SAR government formulate education policies
Prof Cheung Kwok Cheung
Prof Cheung Kwok Cheung in FED joined UM in 1992, and has been the director of ETARC since its establishment. When talking about his career in education research, Prof Cheung says that he was particularly struck by Macao’s PISA results in 2009 as they showed that local students’ reading performance was relatively weak. The news aroused considerable concern in the education sector. As a response, ETARC researchers conducted a detailed analysis of the reading performance of local students and disseminated the findings as well as teaching recommendations to different stakeholders, with the aim of helping students improve reading skills. In recent years, as the Macao SAR government continues to increase its investment in education, teacher training institutions, such as UM, have done a lot of work aimed at promoting reading and classroom teaching. The work has proved effective as teachers have strengthened their skills and the reading performance of students has steadily increased. ‘Knowing the problems and weaknesses in Macao’ s basic education system, such as those reflected in the PISA results, we are able to bridge the gaps between educational policies, practices, and research studies, and together they provide a solid research foundation for the Macao SAR government to carry out policies based on scientific evidence, which will not only promote basic education in Macao, but will also enhance student performance, create education equity in society, and maintain the physical and mental well‐being of all local residents,’ says Prof Cheung.
Serving Society with Innovative Technology
In terms of technology and engineering, faculty members at UM actively engage in community service, providing professional advice to the SAR government as well as local companies and organisations on projects of all sizes. Through the State Key Laboratory of Internet of Things for Smart City (SKLIOTSC), UM has established collaborative relationships with Companhia de Electricidade de Macau (CEM, the local electricity company), Companhia de Telecomunicações de Macau (CTM, a local telecommunications service provider), Macao Water Supply Company Limited, Nam Kwong Petroleum and Chemicals Company Limited, and the Hong Kong‐Zhuhai‐Macao Bridge Authority, to carry out R&D projects in smart energy, 5G applications, environmental pollution control, natural gas, infrastructure, and equipment operation and maintenance, which aim to enhance technological innovation for smart city development in Macao, as well as the industrial applications of these technologies.
UM collaborates with local companies on different research projects, including those on intelligent energy systems.
Prof Dai Ningyi, assistant dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology (FST) and associate professor in SKLIOTSC, is an expert in urban power distribution networks. According to her, UM has been working closely with CEM to improve the quality of electricity supply and grid reliability. ‘Our research studies focus on creating smart energy systems for cities and solving problems in the supply of clean, efficient and reliable energy,’ says Prof Dai. ‘We will continue to work with the SAR government to promote smart city development and serve the community with innovative technology.’
Prof Dai Ningyi
Providing Engineering Quality Inspection
With the development of the economy after the handover, large‐scale public construction and infrastructure projects have begun one after another in Macao since 2003. To respond to the Macao SAR government’s increasing demand for quality control and technical support in engineering, the Centre for Engineering Research and Testing (CERT) was established at UM in the same year to provide professional service in engineering inspection and monitoring. The centre is supported by a team of UM faculty members with strong technical backgrounds. UM plans to restructure CERT into a wholly‐owned subsidiary named UMCERT Engineering Research and Testing Limited to provide professional services in engineering quality and inspection.
CERT provides professional services in engineering inspection and monitoring
Associate Professor Kou Kun Pang in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering has been involved in CERT’s engineering monitoring services for many years. He has also served as the vice chairman of the SAR government’s environment advisory committee as well as a member of its transport advisory committee. ‘Serving the local community is something that you have to do with your heart,’ says Prof Kou. ‘Now that I have gained some experience in social services, my sharing with students will be more convincing and hopefully will help them apply their knowledge in society.’
Prof Kou Kun Pang
Supporting Community Science Outreach
In addition to technical support, UM has also made important contributions to society in science popularisation. For instance, it uses advanced laboratory equipment on campus to enhance science education for primary and secondary school students. In 2015, the Macao Science and Technology Development Fund and UM signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on various issues, including the establishment of Centre for Science and Engineering Promotion. According to the MoU, the centre will use the university’s equipment and resources to enhance scientific literacy of students in Macao.
UM also established the Macao Base for Primary & Secondary STEM Education in 2018. With the centre as the core, the base aims to o er STEM education programmes, support science popularisation activities in the community, and provide sustainable training for primary and secondary school teachers and students with the scientific research resources at UM. The Centre for Science and Engineering Promotion has organised various activities, including the signing of a collaborative framework agreement between UM and Ciência Viva, Portugal’s national agency for the promotion of science, technology, and culture, to increase collaboration in STEM education and to raise public interest in science in Macao and Portugal. The centre also provides support to the Potential Capacity Development Programme, which was launched by the Macao Science and Technology Development Fund to cultivate the interest of secondary school students in different scientific disciplines and to enhance their creative thinking, leadership skills, and international perspectives.
Macao students participate in a science popularisation activity
In 2020, the Centre for Science and Engineering Promotion provided support to the STEM Summer Camp Opening Ceremony and the STEM Experience Activity for High School Students in Macao, an event organised by the then Education and Youth A airs Bureau, the predecessor of the Education and Youth Development Bureau. During the activity, the centre held science lectures and conducted three experiments on the subject of light to help students learn more about the research calibre and achievements of China, with the aim of enhancing their creativity and scientific literacy and cultivating their interdisciplinary skills in the eld of science and technology.
UM promotes STEM education in primary and secondary schools in Macao
Scientific Research for Greater Social Benefits
Rector Yonghua Song says that scientific research does not mean self‐indulgence or not being grounded in reality; the purpose of scientific research is to create greater social benefits. The better a university becomes at teaching and research, the better its ability to serve the community, and the more important its role in economic and social development. Building on a solid foundation of 40 years, UM will continue to serve the community in the future by providing full support and making a greater contribution to Macao.
UM is dedicated to serving society through research. These pictures show the research buildings in UM.
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