Savonia Article: Developing Future of Remote Therapy in Finland and Singapore
The FUGA, Future of Remote Therapy project was a project coordinated by Turku University of Applied Sciences, and it was financed by the Asia program managed by the Ministry of Education and Culture’s Board of Education.
The other partners of the project were Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences, Singapore Institute of Technology and Savonia University of Applied Sciences. The project period was 5th of October 2020 to the end of the year 2022. The goal of the project was to develop a virtual course focused on remote therapy in rehabilitation. Funding from the Ministry of Education and Culture covered the costs of experts’ travels between countries. The actors of the project represented both physiotherapy and occupational therapy professionals and experts in project management.
The Singapore Institute of Technology’s physiotherapy and occupational therapy and education export representatives visited Turku UAS and JAMK in Finland in October 2022. Representatives of Savonia partially participated in the travel programme implemented by JAMK. The purpose of this visit was to acquaint SIT representatives with the activities of our Finnish higher education institutions and social and health care services.
The final meeting of the project was Finnish representatives’ visit to Singapore 19-27 November 2022. The goal of the visit was to finish the FUGA project and build a future for cooperation. Regarding the FUGA project, the implementation and results of the project were evaluated, and the final report of the project was written for the financier. In addition, we discussed the strengths and weaknesses of the completed project and how we can develop the weak points in the future.
Future cooperation is important, and we discussed how we can cooperate in the future in a new way. In the discussions, a student exchange came up, which could be implemented especially at the Master’s level as a student exchange. For this, we in Savonia already have a study course, Learning and studying in international environment, for which the activity in question would be well suited. In the discussions, we progressed so that about 10-15 students from Singapore would come to Finland to study for one week in autumn 2023.
Correspondingly, five students/university of applied sciences from Finland would participate in studies in spring 2024 in Singapore. Teachers, for example one / University of Applied Sciences, would also participate in the exchange with the students.
Now each higher education institution is looking at funding opportunities for the activity in question, e.g. ERASMUS Global mobility or similar. This is a clear result and a jointly agreed method of action on how we will proceed in the future. In addition, we discussed teacher exchange, which could also be possible between universities. Cooperation requires an agreement between higher education institutions, we are already preparing a Memorandum of Understanding between Savonia and SIT. Also, in the future, SIT will be a reliable international project partner for us in a wide range of areas, not only in terms of rehabilitation.
In addition, the result of the visit is virtual teaching between universities. For example, we can put this in action in spring 2023 when we have neurological rehabilitation Blended Intensive Programme. We also visited the Rehabilitation Research Institute of Singapore (RRIS). In the future, this could work as a research partner.
We also visited at the Finnish embassy to meet Anna Korpi, who works as Team Finland Knowledge expert in South-East Asia. In the discussions, we reviewed ongoing cooperation and future project financing opportunities. We were able to introduce Anna the idea of getting a TFK-project which would continue and enhance the work of FUGA project. Savonia will be the coordinator of the new project with Turku UAS, JAMK and SIT, in case we will get the funding from TFK.
Marja Äijö, Principal Lecturer in Gerontology and Rehabilitation, Savonia UAS
Virpi Laukkanen, Director of Internationality, Savonia UAS