On 25 November 2021, the 2nd Build4People Curriculum Development Summit took place with many inspiring discussions. Counterpart of the Build4People team were representatives of the Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning at Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia (FAUP-PUC).
A particular focus of the Build4People project is to support the development of a new multi-disciplinary master course with the working title “Sustainable Urban Transformation Planning” at FAUP-PUC, led by the faculty dean Prof Dr Tep Makathy.
We do this because we perceive an urgent need for innovative approaches in the field of urban planning in Cambodia shifting away from traditional design-led approaches towards the promotion of interaction and engagement between academia & practitioners in a fruitful way, and the increased involvement of urban citizens and of the business sphere into planning issues.
In this way, such a new master course shall reflect planning as a tool of communication / moderation / mediation / public participation. In the case of Cambodia this would definitely mean a paradigm shift of the existing planning culture.
The master course on “Planning for Sustainable Urban Transformation” shall incorporate Build4People’s specific multi-disciplinary, cross-cutting, people-led approach. It will further serve as integrating tool of all disciplines involved and is expected to secure lasting impact, even after the project funding will have ended.
In the course of the 2nd Build4People Curriculum Development Summit, Build4People members introduced potential inputs to such a master course whereas Prof Dr Tep Makathy discussed how to formally proceed in regard of the new master course development.
During the Q&A sessions several topics were discussed. Among others, the current paradigm shift towards competence-led learning approaches got mentioned and it was discussed how this should get reflected within the new syllabus.
In this context Prof Jan-Peter Mund briefly introduced an innovative teaching concept consisting of modules of 20 minutes of online teaching followed by interactive project work. Versus traditional concept of mostly front lectures by university teachers this is expected to better promote students’ enablement towards learning competencies.
Also, the total number of credits of such a course was debated. 45 credits are the minimum requirement in Cambodia, right now, but this would not be sufficient to do a PhD in Europe. In regard of the total number of courses, a model with 9 basic courses including 3 elective course units was discussed.
Prof Dr Makathy raised the question if the new master should also target international students of the region and highlighted the need for support by means of a local course manager whose job would be to deal with all the formal requirement to implement such a master course.
Finally, also options to acquire third-party funding were discussed, for example through the ERASMUS program or through the German International Cooperation (GIZ).
Vivid discussions following each input which showed the high motivation of all of the participants. It was agreed, that in January 2021, already, there will be an interactive workshop to harmonize the content of the new master course units and the overall syllabus.
Last but not least we would like to mention that, of course, other Build4People curriculum development meetings will be scheduled with our other university partners from RUPP, ITC or RUA in the near future, as well.