Service-Learning in Asia


  • Carol Ma Singapore University of Social Sciences
  • Thera Chiu Taipei Medical University
  • Lim Tai Wei Singapore University of Social Sciences



Service-learning, SL, Asia


Although SL is primarily a western learning concept, it is widely used as a pedagogy among education and community sectors in Asia, especially after the academic conference on ‘Service-Learning in Asia: Creating networks and curriculum in higher education’ held in 2002 at the International Christian University (ICU) in Japan as this became an interconnection with other Asian HEIs (Xing & Ma, 2010). In 2004, ICU set up the Service-Learning Asia Network (SLAN) with support from the Japanese Government and the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia (Ma, Chan, Chen and Fong, 2018). In 2004, LU received one million dollars (HKD) funding support from Kwan Fong Charitable Organization to start a Service-Learning and Research Scheme (SLRS) and then in 2006, received another ten million dollars (HKD) to set up the first Office of Service-Learning (OSL) in Hong Kong. With the aim of constructing a model for academy-student-community partnership, LU has made an attempt to truly put the inspirational slogan “Serving to Learn and Learning to Serve” into practice. With commitment from a dedicated SL team and support from local and regional partners, LU started taking the lead of SL development in both Hong Kong and Asia. LU even organized the first Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Service-Learning (APRCSL) in 2007 and served as the secretariat for SLAN after the revitalization.

Author Biographies

Carol Ma, Singapore University of Social Sciences

Dr. Carol Ma is known among academics and community work practitioners as an active and passionate promoter of SL. She is one of the founders for the Office of Service-Learning at Lingnan University, Hong Kong. After serving as Associate Director of Service-Learning and Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology and Social Policy for 10 years, she has moved to Singapore to work as Senior Lecturer (Common Curriculum) and Senior Fellow (Service-Learning) to teach and advise the development of Service-Learning at Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS). As an energetic and a committed scholar, Carol has published books and articles on Service-Learning and aging in referee journals and policy papers for global agencies including UN ESCAP and US higher education institutes. She is also on the board of the Directors for both the International Center for Service-Learning in Teachers Education and the International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement.

Thera Chiu, Taipei Medical University

Associate Professor, Center for General Education

Lim Tai Wei, Singapore University of Social Sciences

Associate Professor, Centre for University Core


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