The University of Macau held the Congregation 2018. Chui Sai On, chief executive of the Macao SAR and chancellor of UM, said at the ceremony that tertiary education is key to producing talented individuals, and an ‘intellectual’ bank is important for Macao. He pledged continued support to the university in its pursuit of curriculum reform, development of the residential college system, and whole-person education.
Chui officiated at the ceremony in the company of UM University Council Chair Lam Kam Seng, UM Rector Yonghua Song, and Vice Rectors Lionel Ni, Rui Martins, and Kou Mei. Nearly 4,000 people attended the ceremony, including members of the University Assembly, University Council, and Senate; government officials; prominent community members; parents of the graduates; and UM faculty and staff.
In his speech, Chui said: ‘The SAR government makes education an important policy. A community hinges on education, just as education on innovativeness. We will perfect education, inculcate creativity, as well as institute a long-term education system. Also, we will take education forward by means of policy, resources and education reform, as well as promote life-long education to the community.’
He added, ‘A rising University of Macau best showcases the success of higher education which is made possible by cleaving to the “One Country” while leveraging the advantages of the “Two Systems”. Now, the university is continuing to perfect its education, operate a well-developed residential college system, and pursue a whole-person education. At the same time, it is drawing in talented individuals for various fields and strengthening academic discipline building with the sight set on those programmes of great potential and prospect. For all these manoeuvres, they will have full support from the SAR government as always.’
In his speech, Rector Song said that in the course of its 37 years, the university has explored and forged a whole-person education model which focuses on discipline-specific education, general education, research and internship education, and community and peer education, and is running an integrated education regime in which faculties and colleges work together to achieve a synergetic effect. He added that the residential college system is the jewel in the crown of UM’s undergraduate education. It is a realisation of what the American educationalist John Dewey advocates: education is life and life is education. He said to the students, ‘Your four-year residential college life will not fade away. It simply deposits itself in you waiting to be a game changer in your future life. That’s the very reason why we have the residential college system.’ Rector Song also encouraged the students to take the university motto with them, dream big and aim high, and venture and be receptive to new ideas, for Macao, China, and beyond.
Lei Ka Tong, the representative of this year’s graduates, recalled her four years of life at UM. She said, ‘The Syrian war is now in its eighth year; many people in the world have lost their homes for different reasons; children spend their childhood with fears and hunger instead of books and toys; the global temperature keeps rising; animals are suffering, and there are myriad societal concerns. When we are frustrated with this unidealistic world that surrounds us, just remember that we can make a difference. Empowered by knowledge, passion and unswerving integrity, we should be the ones who can make Macao better and the world better.’
This year, UM graduated more than 1,400 students from its bachelor’s degree programmes. They are from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Faculty of Business Administration, Faculty of Education, Faculty of Health Sciences, Faculty of Law, Faculty of Science and Technology, and Faculty of Social Sciences. 42 of the graduates have also completed programmes offered by the Honours College. At the ceremony, UM also awarded academic prizes and scholarships to 63 outstanding graduating students.