Message from the President to the Incoming MSc Students in Maritime Affairs
We are excited that you will be joining WMU to start the Master of Science in Maritime Affairs programme in September 2020. We are aware that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing uncertainty to you all. The maritime industry has been severely impacted by the pandemic and we are aware of the impact it is having on shipping and on seafarers as well as on ports. The academic experience will certainly equip you to address the pressing challenges the industry is facing and may continue to face in the future.
Whether or not you have also joined the pre-sessional English and Study Skills Programme, you must be wondering about the arrangements we have made for the start of the programme. We have previously given our commitment that the 2020 intake will go ahead as of the planned date, even if not in exactly the format to which we are used. I can give you my personal assurance that we have developed expertise in teaching remotely since March, when teaching started to be delivered online to our students in their rooms in the Henrik Smith Residence. We have been able to continue to teach, mark assignments and deliver examinations online and to benefit from the expertise of our visiting faculty. We are therefore confident that, thanks to the flexibility and dedication of our faculty, we will be able to deliver our programme, regardless of the pandemic.
Whether and when you will be able to come to Sweden depends on the international travel restrictions in place, governing both entry into Sweden and exit from your home country. Travel to Sweden from outside the European Union/European EconomicArea was prohibited until 4 July when the nationals of 14 additional countries were given permission to enter the EU. (See https://www.government.se/articles/2020/04/faqs--entry-to-the-eu-via-sweden-banned)
We strongly advise you to check the status with your local Swedish Embassy, in addition to consulting the Swedish Government’s website before you make travel arrangements. We know you will understand that the University has no legal or financial responsibility for our students’ well-being until they arrive in Malmö to enrol.
Those of you who are able to come to Malmö over the next couple of months will be warmly welcomed to the University and to our Residence. We will complete the teaching of the pre-sessional English and Study Skills Programme online this year. We are currently planning to teach our new MSc students from September in a blended-learning mode, as we expect some of you to be able to be here in Malmö, while others may have to wait a little longer. We have a very extensive online library which will be available to you, wherever you are in the world, along with recordings of lectures, online classes and personal academic support from the faculty member responsible for your specialization. We want to reassure you that your classes and experiences – whether on-line or in person – will be engaging, high quality and consistent with the excellence expected from our post-graduate maritime and oceans programmes.
We have taken into account public health guidelines and we are placing primary importance on the health and well-being of our WMU community. We have taken extensive precautions to keep all our students safe over the last four months, and plentiful supplies of hand sanitiser, masks and gloves have been and will continue to be made available to all our students. We are all carefully social distancing, both inside the University and in our lives outside. You should also be aware that the Swedish Health Service has managed the pandemic very well, and that the standards of medical care here are outstanding.
We are looking forward to welcoming you as you start your journey with us. I have every hope that all of you will be able to be here by January 2021 at the latest. I guarantee to you that we will support you all both at home and in Sweden to the very best of our abilities. Please stay safe and stay positive until we can meet in person.
Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry