Business as Usual, Albeit in Unusual times
The world is facing unprecedented disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The uncertainties of the nature and evolution of this global crisis are challenging for everyone. In such circumstances and where possible, the continuity of educational activities is needed even more than ever. We at the World Maritime University (WMU) - through our continued education, research and capacity-building activities - are leading the charge in this time of COVID-19 to support a cohesive, strong and resilient maritime and oceans community. Educating future maritime and oceans leaders and professionals has been the core mandate for the University over the past 37 years. We have been providing advanced maritime education and training for senior maritime personnel, as well as promoting the implementation of the highest practicable global standards in matters concerning maritime safety, marine environmental protection, the efficiency of maritime transportation and sustainable oceans. While we are responding to the challenges before us, in this respect, we are incredibly proud of our Alumni who have been tirelessly working at the forefront to minimize the negative impact caused by COVID-19 in both the maritime and oceans sectors globally.
Reflecting on the impact of COVID-19 on WMU, the President, Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, presents the following perspective. She states: “It has now been eight weeks since WMU began delivering classes remotely enabling our students to continue their studies without any interruption. All classes and lectures for our Malmö MSc programme moved to online learning. Our students have embraced the challenge and continued to benefit from uninterrupted teaching and learning. We are very proud of them as well as our Faculty and Staff who have with ingenuity, dedication and enthusiasm continued to innovate to enrich the e-learning experience.”
The WMU President made two visits to the Student Residence, where most of our students live to encourage and motivate them as well as to reinforce the importance of safety and well-being. These visits, complemented by visits of Faculty, have been positively received.
Our Malmö-based students are currently in their second term when they focus on courses specific to their respective seven areas of specialization and during which time they normally undertake about 15 field studies in countries around the world. The field studies link the students’ academic and technical knowledge to practical experience providing them with valuable insights on professional practices around the world. The field studies have unfortunately not been possible at this time. We are, however, considering innovative ways to address this critical gap in the coming months.
Professor Jens-Uwe Schröder-Hinrichs, Vice President (Academic Affairs), has ensured that there is no compromise in the quality of education in these unusual circumstances. Speaking to the adaptation from face-to-face, to online learning, he stated: “Our students are the real champions of the ongoing work at WMU. They are the Class that will always be remembered for facing this extraordinary situation head-on, and for doing so with incredible commitment and courage, despite being so far away from their loved ones during this pandemic”. In response to questions about the students completing their dissertations under these unusual circumstances, he noted that the WMU Library provides direct online access to our students enabling them to undertake all the research required to complete their dissertations.
From the student perspective, Ade Mardani Putra, from Indonesia, reflected on these unusual times and the challenges they bring saying, “Everything will feel difficult if we are alone, but together, we will strengthen each other and provide energy to get through these difficult times”.
While some countries are currently considering a relaxation of the lockdown, the road ahead is still challenging. “We will continue to follow the guidelines and recommendations made by the governmental authorities in Sweden while preparing for a return to business as usual” said the President.
The WMU President sends this message in these challenging times. She states: “Shipping, ports and seafarers are today even more indispensable than ever. Shipping continues to be the most reliable and cost-effective source of transport and with indispensable logistics hubs for the goods that we need to keep economies afloat. It is also the time to champion the world’s seafarers and enable them to transit and transfer, when in ports around the world, in accordance with the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006. I wish to invite all our donors, including new donors, to continue to invest in maritime and oceans education taking advantage of the opportunity during times like these which enables education and learning gaps to be filled.”
The Malmö MSc in Maritime Affairs is a 14-month programme with seven specializations: Maritime Education & Training; Maritime Energy Management; Maritime Law & Policy; Maritime Safety & Environmental Administration; Ocean Sustainability, Governance and Management; Port Management, and Shipping Management & Logistics. Foundation studies are taught in the first term and cover the introductory knowledge that is fundamental to all activities in the maritime field. Three successive terms focus on specialization studies and a dissertation. The University is moving forward with plans to welcome an incoming class of students for the Malmö MSc programme that is scheduled to start in September 2020.
For more information about WMU’s academic programmes, click here.