University of Waikato is preparing to welcome 'venner', or new friends, from Norway next week. The Standing Committee on Education and Research from the Norwegian Parliament will visit the Hamilton campus on Tuesday, 7 March.
University of Waikato Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alister Jones, says it’s an amazing opportunity to discuss research and teaching in areas of mutual interest with the delegation, which includes members of the Norwegian parliament and the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Canberra.
“The Committee is particularly interested in matters relating to professional education, as they’re currently considering a White Paper on the issue which is due to be presented in 2024,” Professor Jones says. “They’re looking at gender balance in professional careers, which is a topic we at Waikato have a depth of knowledge in and we’re very happy to share that.”
The delegation is also keen to understand how Aotearoa New Zealand has ensured appropriate access to education in more remote and rural areas, particularly for adults pursuing higher education.
“Norway and New Zealand both have a strong indigenous culture where preservation of culture and language is very important. Norway has challenges finding candidates for teaching roles with strong indigenous language skills, so the Committee is also keen to understand how we tackle those challenges.”
Hege Bae Nyholt, Chair of the Committee, says they’re very excited to include Waikato University as part of their visit to New Zealand.
“Norway and New Zealand have a lot in common, despite being on opposite sides of the world. Both are relatively small countries and have some sparsely populated regions, and both countries have an indigenous population.
“Politicians from Norway have travelled here to learn how New Zealand works to offer excellent education that both meets society's need for competence as well as what young people want to study,” Ms Nyholt says.
The Committee will take part in some learning sessions with Waikato academics and researchers, including insight into the University’s Māori Advancement Plan, and a session on achieving gender balance in specific fields and Waikato’s Women in Leadership Programme. They will also catch up with some of the Norwegian students attending University of Waikato.
University of Waikato currently has Study Abroad or Student Exchange Agreements with six Norwegian universities.