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Title: Building the capacity of faculties of education : case studies of a TEMPUS journey in peer learning and transformations in teacher education
Authors: Zaalouk, Malak
Sultana, Ronald G.
Bradshaw, Pete
Keywords: Teachers -- Training of -- Case studies
Education -- Palestine
Education -- Lebanon
Education -- Egypt
Tutors and tutoring
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: The Middle East Institute for Higher Education, Graduate School of Education, The American University in Cairo
Citation: Zaalouk, M., Sultana, R. G., & Bradshaw, P. (2016). Building the capacity of faculties of education : case studies of a TEMPUS journey in peer learning and transformations in teacher education. Egypt: The American University in Cairo.
Abstract: For some years, education has been high on the agenda of heads of state, policy makers and civil society, on the international, regional and national levels. Most reforms have emphasised the importance of teachers and, more specifically, the critical impact that teacher preparation is proven to have on student learning (Darling-Hammond, 1997). Research also suggests that, in addition to teacher preparation, the quality of learning largely depends on Continued Professional Development (CPD) (OECD/WB, 2014). Moreover, preparing and empowering educators through lifelong learning is a complex undertaking that includes induction and mentoring at entry point into the profession. It is a long learning journey that starts with university preparation but continues through the career development path of each professional. It has various configurations, but most importantly is seen in school and in partnership with universities. The best CPD programmes highlight what great instruction looks like through curricula and pedagogy, impart educators with the knowledge and capacity to deliver exemplary instruction, build practical skills through professional development opportunities, support educators with good mentors and coaches, select and develop good instructional leaders who focus on instruction and creating learning communities, and enable educators to learn from each other (Barber and Mourshed, 2007). Many international task forces and initiatives have been established in the last fifteen years to support teachers at the heart of educational reform in Europe and elsewhere (UNESCO, 2014; Twining, et al., 2013; Haigh, et al., 2013). In recent years one of the lead bodies for the Arab region, the League of Arab States (LAS), developed visions and strategies to promote quality educational reform and research. These two concerns have featured in every single Arab Summit meeting since 2006. In fact already in 2005 a department for education and scientific research was created at LAS to support the new policy direction. In 2006, LAS and various other regional bodies, such as the Arab League Education Culture and Science Organization (ALECSO), the Arab Bureau for Education in the Gulf States (ABEGS), the regional offices for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the regional office for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) joined hands in a partnership to enhance the quality of education in the Arab world (League of Arab States and UNICEF, 2010). The partnership chose teachers as their entry point for the purposes of bringing about reform. Several studies were conducted and compiled to further understand the status of teachers, their training and performance in the region. Studies on Arab universities have highlighted the fact that these relatively recently established institutions work in very complex contexts, and that although their numbers are rapidly proliferating they face considerable challenges with regard to the quality of their programmes, autonomy and governance (Mazawi, 2005; ElAmine, 2014; Al-Hroub, 2014). More specific studies on faculties of education clearly pointed to the fact that the Arab world in general suffers from weak professional development programs. Curricula in university faculties of education are not updated and do not emphasize innovation, critical thinking, reflection, research and problem solving. There is a weak link between theory and practice, and on-the-job CPD is very limited (Zaalouk, 2013). The situation is further aggravated by the low status and salary accorded to teachers (Farag, 2010; Herrara and Torres 2006). During later stages of the joint initiative on teacher enhancement led by the LAS, UNICEF, and the Middle East Institute for Higher Education (MEIHE) at the American University in Cairo (AUC), there have been many positive achievements in terms of advocacy and the production of a guiding framework for teachers’ professional development. Since 2008, the initiative has been developing the capacity of two regional centers of excellence to enhance the professional development of teachers: one in Egypt – the Professional Academy for Teachers (PAT) and one in Jordan – the Queen Rania Teachers’ Academy (QRTA). The advocacy from the regional teacher initiative overwhelmingly led by LAS, UNICEF and MEIHE, has made teacher preparation and enhancement a priority in all countries in the region. Moreover, other agencies have joined the reform attempts. The World Bank has launched the Arab Regional Agenda for Improving Education Quality (ARAIEQ) in partnership with ALECSO, UNESCO, the World Economic Forum, INJAZ al-Arab (a regional NGO) and QRTA in 2012. One of the main pillars of the initiative is ‘Teacher Policies and Professionalization’. Reforms have been attempted, but many more efforts are clearly needed in the way of internationalization, cultural exchange and learning within borderless communities through the acquisition as well as the production of both explicit and tacit knowledge. In October 2012, the MEIHE was awarded a -36month project entitled “Capacity Development of Faculties of Education CDFE in International Approaches to Teacher Education” (Project number -530614TEMPUS- -1-2012-1EG-TEMPUS-JPHES). The project (abbreviated to CDFE) focused on building the capacity of selected higher education institutions. It focused on learning from good practices from the European Union (EU) in three strategic areas: action research, practicum and Continued Professional Development. In so doing, the project harmonized pre-university with higher educational reforms. It aimed at making the work of faculties of education relevant and integral to school-based reform. Through a collaborative network between faculties of education in some EU countries and some selected partners in the MENA/Arab region, the project aimed at enhancing the capacities of faculties of education in the latter. The project essentially aimed at rendering university faculties of education relevant to school and society. The goal is to strengthen the partnership between universities and schools through the organization of practicum, action research and Continued Professional Development. Schools are social institutions constituting the work place of future teachers. Effective teacher recruitment, employment, deployment and retention should begin with quality practicum during teachers’ university years, followed by strong mentorship and professional development programmes during the early induction years, and continued lifelong learning through research during the mature years of teaching. Learning resulting from this project feeds into two regional centers of excellence: the Queen Rania Teacher Academy in Jordan (QRTA) and the Professional Academy for Teachers in Egypt (PAT) for sustainable capacity building of higher education institutions across the region.
ISBN: 9789774167980
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works - CenEMER

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