Commissioned education with Nanjing Institute of Technology expands

The educational cooperation between the University of Oulu and the Chinese Nanjing Institute of Technology (NJIT) will expand next autumn. The collaboration began five years ago with a double degree programme in software engineering and will now expand to cover construction and civil engineering as well as environmental engineering, thanks to the newly-established NJIT-Oulu School.
Oulun yliopiston koulutusrehtori Tapio Koivu pitämässä puhetta NJIT-Oulu Schoolin avajaisissa Nanjingissä.
Tapio Koivu, Vice Rector for Education at the University of Oulu, speaking at the opening event of NJIT-Oulu School in Nanjing on Friday 16 June.

“Cooperation with our Chinese partner has been successful. The commissioned education in Software Engineering, which is being carried out as a customer project of the M3S research unit, has been financially profitable and Chinese students have been interested in our training,” says Professor Markku Oivo of the Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, who heads the M3S research unit, had the original idea for the education and was responsible for the planning of NJIT-Oulu School.

Professor Jouni Markkula has been in charge of the Software Engineering double degree programme.

The programme is four years long and provides students with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oulu and NJIT. A hundred students are admitted to the studies each year. “The fact that the programme is in English has significantly increased the opportunities of our foreign researchers to take part in the bachelor’s level teaching,” Oivo says.

The first bachelors graduated last year. The students complete a degree for both the University of Oulu and Nanjing Institute of Technology.

The model involves teachers from the University of Oulu visiting China for intensive periods of 2–3 weeks and the NJIT teachers handling the exercises and practical arrangements. “The coronavirus pandemic forced us to switch to remote teaching, but in the autumn we will once again make the trip to teach in Nanjing and utilise new models of hybrid teaching,” Oivo says. The University of Oulu is responsible for about 20 courses within the programme.

Motivation from China’s environmental goals

As regards the education in construction and civil engineering as well as environmental engineering, the intention is to utilise the same model and refine it where necessary,” says dean of education, Professor Antti Niemi of the Faculty of Technology.

Initially, 40 students will be admitted to both fields. “We are prepared for the ramp-up of the joint degree programmes to take years. We intend to develop the operations as situations change,” Niemi continues, referring to the impacts of coronavirus pandemic, for example.

According to him, the fields that were selected from the Faculty of Technology are based on China’s goals of beginning to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions during this decade and becoming carbon neutral before 2060.

“The success of the Software Engineering programme motivates us to get involved, as do China’s goals. This is one way to try to change the world.”

Both Oivo and Niemi also mention recruiting international students to their university as one of the objectives of the joint degree programmes. Bachelor’s degree graduates are more likely to choose to complete their master’s degree and doctorate in Finland and Oulu after getting introduced to the country through the bachelor’s studies.

“The education is one way to increase interest in Finland abroad in the long term. The impacts – like the effects of education in general – manifest themselves over a longer period of time,” concludes Niemi.

Last updated: 26.6.2023