With over 20,000 active alumni in the region, Asia has always held a special position in McGill University’s international reach. Dean Dilson Rassier of the Faculty of Education visited Indonesia and Hong Kong in October, together with Alvin Chung, Head of McGill Asia Office and Caroline Sia, Education Projects Manager of McGill International Institute of Education (MIIE) – Asia. The goal of the trip is to strengthen existing relationships and make new connections with leading institutions, government/quasi-government organizations, alumni and donors interested in contributing to educational causes in their hometowns.
The many meaningful conversations on this trip converged on two areas of the Faculty’s expertise:
- Educational Leadership training for educators in middle- and upper-management, to refine their management proficiency to support the development of their institutions
- Improvement of skills for educators, to address the ever-changing needs of society in terms of pedagogy, sustainability and capacity for teachers and students
The focus of education in developing human capital is a priority for the Indonesian government. One of the top concerns is to raise the quality of educators. The Director General of the Islamic Education, Prof. Dr. Phil. H. Kamaruddin Amin, of the Ministry of Religious Affairs (“MORA”), shared with Dean Rassier the immediate need to accelerate the certification of teachers under the Ministry’s governance and to improve the management capability of the leadership teams in all fifty-three Universitas Islam Negeri (State Islamic Universities, or “UIN”) in order to align with the rapid development of the country’s young generation. Approximately thirty senior administrative and academic staff at UIN Sunan Kalijaga in Gogyakarta, including the Rektor, Vice-Rektor of Academic Affairs and Development Institute, are graduates of McGill’s Masters of Art in Educational Leadership program. Their success and the 50+ years of relationship between McGill University and Indonesia’s education sector have led to MORA’s proposal to Dean Rassier for renewing the partnership on both educational leadership and teacher training. The various donors and alumni met during the week’s visit echoed similar intentions to work with MIIE to deliver these goals within their individual domains.
In Hong Kong, the education sector is refining ways to sustain a healthy learning environment for students, teachers, and other educational stakeholders under the current social situation. Per Mr. Hoi Wai Chua, Chief Executive of The Hong Kong Council of Social Services, capacity at every level of the education system is being stretched to unprecedented levels and the community is looking to global experts for their approaches on handling the challenges at hand. Improvements in the design of an inclusive environment, best-practices and strategies for ensuring students’ and educators’ resilience and well-being under stress, effective school response to various student behaviours are some topics discussed with Chua and his team which our Faculty holds a wealth of expertise in.
“International partnerships allow our faculty members to share their knowledge and gain new perspectives to their work and research in the global context. Asia continues to present itself with vitality and a passionate community, along with an array of opportunities that align with the expertise and vision of the Faculty of Education,” said Dean Rassier. “I look forward to forging some fruitful relationships with the new and old friends from the region.”