photo by: Stephanie Sant
To develop South-South and North-South dialogue in the field of education and through this to enhance the possibility of mutual understanding and cooperation among the people of the Mediterranean in the various spheres of life.
The Euro-Mediterranean Centre for Educational Research (EMCER) started off as the Comparative Education Programme in the Faculty of Education in 1994. It became an autonomous Research Centre at the University nine years later. EMCER sets out to further one of the University’s main goals—that of becoming a centre of excellence in the inter-disciplinary study of Mediterranean and European issues.
In pursuing this goal, and in focusing specifically on the challenges that education systems in the Euro-Mediterranean region are facing, EMCER has made a number of contributions that highlight the way Universities can be mobilised to support development goals of the wider regional and international community.
The Centre operates as a loose but effective network of associated scholars, engaging academics from across the region according to the profiles required by the different research projects it is involved in. The core EMCER Associate Fellows support the centre's activities in a number of ways: they are, for instance, members of the regional board of editors of the Centre's publications, and ensure networking, within their own respective countries, on behalf of the Centre.
EMCER has four main activities in its portfolio of initiatives:
- First is the research aspect, particularly qualitative research that involves field work in different Mediterranean and European societies in order to capture the lived realities of complex educational dynamics. EMCER has carried out fieldwork in Albania, Egypt, Jordan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey.
- Secondly, EMCER has a strong research dissemination agenda. The different studies referred to above have a been published in international academic journals, and have been presented in conferences the world over. EMCER has also published several volumes addressing specific educational issues in the region, including higher education, innovation, teacher education, power, special education, science education, and the link between education and economic development. In addition, the research centre is responsible for the publication of the Mediterranean Journal of Educational Studies—a biannual refereed international review whose first number was issued in 1996, and which now focuses on special thematic issues published in a series on comparative education produced and marketed worldwide first by Sense Publishers (Rotterdam), and from 2019 onwards by Brill (Leiden). The latest issue, Volume 21, published in April 2017, focuses on Career Guidance and Livelihood Planning across the Mediterranean: Challenging Transitions in South Europe and the MENA Region. Issues in the pipeline are on Dewey's influence on education in the Mediterranean; educational leadership in the region; and mentoring in teacher training.
- Thirdly, EMCER attempts to serve as a regional node for other educational researchers, as well as social scientists with an interest in Mediterranean education systems. The Centre co-ordinates a network and database that now includes over 250 scholars, and has helped to bring together a number of them to seminars in Malta and elsewhere. The Mediterranean Education Research Network was established with the support of seed money from UNESCO.
- Fourthly, EMCER offers a Masters in Comparative Euro-Mediterranean Education Studies. The course is open to high-achieving, highly motivated and self-directed candidates with strong degrees in education and in related areas, particularly in the social sciences. The aim of the course is to engage students in comparative analyses of education systems, focusing in particular on the EU member states as well as on countries in Mediterranean region. From October 2015 to September 2019, and thanks to Erasmus+ funding, EMCER collaborated with the Autonomous University of Barcelona, the University of Oslo, and the University of Amsterdam to offer a Joint Masters on Education Policies for Global Development (Details here). In October 2019 the MA-CEMES will be offered exclusively on the island of Gozo.