Workshop on social impact of post-Covid-19

International panellists with UTAR academics and students

In line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals— Quality Education (Goal 4) and Climate Action (Goal 13), UTAR Centre for Disaster Risk Reduction hosted the "Kobe University UNESCO Chair - UTAR Workshop on Social Impact of Post Covid-19" at Sungai Long Campus on 6 November 2023 to discuss research topics relevant to the social impact of post-Covid-19. The event also aimed to provide a platform for panellists to share related experiences in dealing with technicalities arising from the post-Covid-19.

Present at the opening ceremony were UTAR President Ir Prof Dato’ Dr Ewe Hong Tat, Kobe University UNESCO Chair Programme Leader Prof Ronni Alexander, panellists from Mae Fah Luang University, Thammasat University, National Kaohsiung University of Science and Technology, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Kobe University, Shifa Tameer-e-Millat University, distinguished guests, academics from Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering and Science (LKC FES) and students.

Prof Dato’ Ewe (left) and Prof Ronni delivering their speech

Prof Dato’ Ewe said, “We always believe in community engagement and in facilitating enrichment activities not only for our students, but also for the community in which we belong. With the current pandemic and other disasters faced by the world today, everyone needs to play an important role, however minor, in the recovery of our economy as well as in building the resilience of our society to face unexpected challenges in the future.”

Prof Ronni said, “We are all unique in two ways. One, we all have disasters, but different kinds of disasters and we come from different backgrounds and fields. Thus, it is imperative that we communicate with each other and work together for cross-border sharing of knowledge and joint research collaboration, and contribute to the community through raising awareness and implementing strategies, establishing guidelines and contributing to policy making for social well-being.”

Dr Sun

Dr Sun Jhih Sian from the National Kaohsiung University of Science and Technology delivered a presentation titled “The impact of Covid-19 on gender equality for employment and female seafarers’ employment situation in Taiwan”. She spoke about the challenges faced by women in maritime industries, the role of women in workforce transition in seafaring and the impact of COVID-19 on women as seafarers. She shared, “Part of the government strategies is to increase the number and status of women seafarers, change the gender stereotypes of the public towards the seafaring profession, encourage young students to pursue careers in the maritime industry, and encourage shipping companies to create a gender-friendly work environment and praise gender-inclusive shipping companies.”

Dr Maya and Dr Remi presenting a case study

Dr Maya Dania and Dr Remi Juwitasari from Mae Fah Luang University presented a case study titled “Mainstraming gender and social inclusion in climate-related disasters in Thailand”. According to them, Thailand is among the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change. They addressed climate change in Thailand, multilevel policies in Thailand, climate change risks in Thailand, socio-economic impacts of climate change in Thailand, gaps of gender, social inclusion and climate action policies, gender vulnerability to climate-related disasters context in Thailand and other related areas.

Dr Tan

LKC FES Ir Ts Dr Tan Ooi Kuan shared his presentation titled “Covid-19: The main contractor’s perspective in Malaysia”. The study aimed to investigate the perspectives of main contractors towards COVID-19 in Malaysia in the aspects of awareness, perception and readiness. He said, “The main contractor has a high perception and readiness pertaining to the COVID-19. However, low awareness was found in the study which shows confusion due to external information received during the pandemic period.”

From left: Prof Ronni and Dr Kazue

Prof Ronni and Dr Noda Kazue from Kobe University delivered a presentation titled “The impact of online learning for Japanese students: Considering gender, vulnerability and wellbeing”. In the presentation, they spoke about how disasters can interrupt schooling, attitudes towards online learning, previous studies of long-distance learning before COVID-19, gender differences in the aspect of IT skills, empathy and autonomy. They also presented findings, which included adopting suitable technology, prioritising effective teachers through technology and support, prioritising effective teachers through two-way interactions, ensuring learners are engaged with support from parents and other students in the learning process and ensuring learners are engaged by establishing partnerships for learning cooperation.

Dr Ariani

Dr Ariani Putri Pertiwi from Universitas Gadjah Mada delivered her presentation titled “Health literacy about COVID-19 prevention among women in low-income families in Indonesia”. She said, “Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic requires cross-sector collaboration and community participation. Policymakers should consider women’s vulnerability related to their position in the family and their inadequate health literacy. Official government information channels are needed to minimise infodemic. Providing adequate, credible and appropriate sources of information could enable women to develop their capacity to take the best actions to minimise the consequences of disasters.”

Dr Badur

Dr Badur un Nisa from Shifa Tameer-e-Millat University shared the “Experience and learning from entrepreneurship development programme to build a resilient society” whereby she spoke about natural disasters in Pakistan, preparing for disasters in today’s world and the importance of the education community in educating society about disaster risk and resilience.

Ongoing discussion

On the second day of the workshop, the panellists and students travelled to flood-prone areas located at Mentakab town, Pahang to raise awareness about climate change impact and the disasters brought by extreme climate to the environment, especially flood-related disaster risk and management.

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