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    Macau has potential to develop a higher education hub, USJ Rector says

    08/07/2013Macau Daily Times

    In addition to being renowned as a gaming city and a world leisure and travel hub, Macau also holds the potential to develop into a center for higher education comparable to that of Dubai, says the Rector of the University of Saint Joseph, Professor Peter Stilwell. “If the government has the vision to invest more of its abundant financial resources into education, which is important for its long-term development, then there is nothing better than to improve the quality of what economists call the human capital,” the scholar told the Times. “In other words, the population of Macau should be more and more equipped to think and develop new projects on their own. The gaming industry is very important but very one-sided. If there was an issue with the gaming industry and the city’s funding dried up or was reduced from what it is currently, you would be able to adopt and create a new vision and new jobs - if you have a local population that has a high level of education.” Stilwell focused his discussion on the rapid expansion of many local universities, “Perhaps the government has the vision that Macau could act as a platform for education, something similar to the case in Dubai, where they invite universities from across the world to set up campuses there. The government invests money they got from the oil industry on these educational causes…Macau can do something like that, it has the potential. It could be known not only as a great place for gaming but also for education…People would come to Macau not because of the casinos but because of the universities, and because of the universities they would also be interested in the museums, the cultural heritage, and other aspects of the city.” The rector was speaking on the sidelines of USJ’s Licentiate Graduation Ceremony, held last Friday at The Cathedral in Largo da Sé. After the new campus begins operating, USJ will also enroll a limited number of mainland students. “There won’t be too many mainland students because we’re aiming to be a small university, with a maximum of 2,200 students. We’d like to have a close teacher-student relation.” “We think a percentage of students from the mainland will provide stimulus to the local students. There is no shortage of work in Macau and therefore there’s not much incentive for students to show an interest in their studies…I believe that students from mainland China appear to have more motivation when they come to study in Macau.” Currently, around 30 percent of USJ’s students are from other parts of the world, while 70 percent are Macau students. “We would like students from mainland China but we would not like the university to become a service just for mainland China.” “Situated in the northern district of Ilha Verde and with facilities in other parts of the city, the new campus will be a university within the city of Macau, and will maintain the close relationship the students and teachers hold with the local community.” The scholar said that the campus is on schedule to meet the projected completion date in 2015. However, there is a shortfall in the budget for the project and USJ may have to initiate fundraising efforts. “The government dedicated around MOP150m to the construction. Of that, MOP60m has been used in the first stage of construction, so there is still MOP90m for this project. But this is a small part of what we need... the secondary school has applied to the Education and Youth Affairs Bureau for the funding that exists for the construction of secondary schools. We hope that a large part of the funding can be obtained, but then we need to do some fundraising. We’ll start perhaps in the new academic year, knock on a few doors and see if there are people interested in contributing to the construction of an education project which is so important to Macau. I’m sure that some people will help.”  copyright@MACAU  DAILY TIMES


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