The CEID Seminar series is hosted by the Centre for Education and International Development (CEID) at the UCL Institute of Education. Initiated in the 2017/18 academic year, following the launch of the Centre in June 2017, the CEID seminar series is a forum for academics, doctoral students, practitioners and invited speakers to present and open discussion on issues, ideas and debates in the field of Education and International Development. See the full series listing here.
Seminar 7: Gender and Teacher Education in Nigeria, October 18th 2018
Speakers – Professor Elaine Unterhalter, UCL Institute of Education, Dr Amy North, UCL Institute of Education and Yvette Hutchinson, British Council
Chair – Professor Moses Oketch, UCL Institute of Education
Abstract – In the first CEID seminar in the 2018/19 academic year, Elaine Unterhalter and Amy North will present findings from their research in Nigeria on Gender and Teacher education in five Nigerian states. The research took place between 2014 and 2016, and was funded by the MacArthur Foundation and the British Council Nigeria. Yvette Hutchinson, British Council, completes the panel and will present on the British Council’s involvement with the project, its work in Nigeria and in teacher capacity development and gender in particular. Following the panel presentations and discussion, questions will be invited from the audience.
As global attention is concentrated on Islamic State (IS) activities in Syria and Iraq, IS fighters seem to be exploiting the conditions of state fragility in Afghanistan to expand their influence in several districts. It has been reported that IS has a significant dominance in 11 out of 24 districts in the eastern province of Nangarhar where, they control all aspects of community life including, education. Drawing upon qualitative interviews and focus group discussions (N=31) in Kabul and Nagarhar which is considered the IS headquarters in the region, this paper explores the multitude of ways IS is controlling educational processes in Afghanistan. We find that both state and non-state actors compete for control over education, both formal institutions as well as social and cultural discourses about learning. Unlike Taliban who have the nationalist agenda against Western interventions (of all kinds including, education), the IS approach to radicalisation seems to be much more strategic, ideologically broad and aimed at long term political gains in the form of a ‘Caliphate’. Through their brutal tactics, IS fighters influence access, contents and pedagogies to establish their Jihadist ideology, which underpins a wider religious and political justification of the ‘struggle’ against the West and production of a new generation of jihadists. Our research finds that rural communities in Afghanistan play a critical role in shaping the political terrain such as, establishing the conditions under which state sovereignty is contested, negotiated and challenged. As such, they serve the dual purpose: strengthening state authority by sustaining public services including, education; and creating a space for non-state actors to promote alternative ideologies. Finally, we argue that understanding the latter can contribute to critical reflection of the existing education policies and reclaim educational spaces for Afghanistan’s peaceful future.
Following the cessation of the Soviet Union over two decades ago, Tajikistan grapples with ramifications of the civil war, global geopolitics, Soviet legacies and the revival of religious and ethnolinguistic identities– all of which influence identity formation and peacebuilding through contemporary discourses around education and development in Tajikistan. This seminar presents on the ways global and local political, economic, military, social and cultural agendas intersect with people’s identities, and the ways in which these are mirrored in education, fuelling conflict. The seminar draws upon the theories of ‘discourse,’ ‘global governmentality’ and ‘new imperialism’ concerning education, to explore dominant conceptions of national identity and peacebuilding and what implications these have for normalising unequal power relations and social cohesion. With reference to Gorno-Badakhshan, an ethnolinguistic and religious minority province, the session also investigates how local communities are responding to the interrelationships of the local, national and global. The paper argues that global-national-local discourses cast populations as politically compliant and polarised global market-based citizens in a globalised authoritarian state that serves dominant global and local elite interests. Recommendations include ways forward for challenging dominant discourses and for rethinking issues of inequities, social cohesion and sustainable peacebuilding in education policy.
Tejendra Pherali, Senior Lecturer in Education and International Development and the research theme leader for Education, Conflict and Peacebuilding in CEID delivered a keynote adress on 15th November at the Universidad Industrial de Santander, Colombia.
Dr. Pherali at the Universidad Industrial de Santander, Colombia, 15th Nov 2017.
His presentation – ‘Understanding the nexus between education and peace in conflict-affected societies’ focused on the role of education in promoting peace with social justice in conflict-affected societies. He argued that universities in conflict-affected societies such as Colombia could play a civic role by connecting communities with academic research and knowledge production and by creating access for young people who have been left out of higher education because of violent conflict. His presentation further argued that education could support sustainable peace by promoting equitable access to quality education; through curriculum reforms, reflecting diverse identities of learners; educational decisions that involve inclusive processes; and educational policies, learning and teaching are that geared towards bringing people together from across dividing lines. Drawing upon his research in Nepal, Lebanon and Somalia, he proposed pathways to impact for higher education and peace which could be of relevance for Colombian universities as the country undergoes the peace process.
Dr. Pherali presents at the Faculty of Human Sciences at the Universidad Industrial de Santander, Colombia, 15th Nov 2017.
Dr. Tejendra Pherali, Senior Lecturer in Education and International Development and the research theme leader for Education, Conflict and Peacebuilding at Centre for Education and International Development (CEID) led a workshop on Education, Conflict and Peacebuilding at Chulalongkorn University, Thailand from 6-9 November 2017.
Chulalongkorn UniversityFaculty and graduate students who participated in the workshop
The workshop was hosted by the Institute of Thai Studies at Thailand’s leading Chulalongkorn University, which is conducting a research study to design a peace education curriculum for schools in conflict-affected Southern provinces of Thailand. The workshop aimed to develop researchers’ theoretical knowledge about the interrelationship between education, violence and peace and participatory approaches to curriculum design and implementation in Thai schools.
Reflecting on the workshop, Dr Pherali said, ‘Colleagues in Chulalongkorn University were very keen to design an effective peace education curriculum which could promote a culture of peace in Southern provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat. The workshop was instrumental in exploring issues around learners’ cultural identities, language of instruction and processes of educational decision-making which need to be accounted for while designing a peace education curriculum. We were also able to draw upon few examples from other conflict-affected contexts which I hope would provide useful insights into Chula’s important work in this area.’
Dr. Pherali with workshop participants and Peace education researchers in Chulalongkorn University
Imagining Somaliland: An investigation into the relationship between nation-building, citizenship and education in a contested space, written from a peacebuilding perspective
Dr Alexandra Lewis of the Centre of Education and International development, UCL Institute of Education, and Dr Idil Osman, SOAS Development Studies Department, have been awarded funding from the London International Development Centre (LIDC) Interdisciplinary Seed Fund for the project ‘Imagining Somaliland: An investigation into the relationship between nation-building, citizenship and education in a contested space, written from a peacebuilding perspective’. The research will investigate dynamics between citizenship, nation-building & educational provision from a peacebuilding perspective. The exploratory study will take place between January and August 2018, including fieldwork in March and April 2018.
Research project aims
In 2017, Somaliland published a new textbook on civic education for secondary school students. Although this textbook was released as part of a Somali-wide curriculum consolidation process, Somaliland retained the right in this process to develop its own education policy: their framework refers to Somaliland as a nation state, without integrating its education within any broader state system (Republic of Somaliland, 2017). One of the stated goals of the new curriculum is to promote a ‘National consciousness and unity in the minds of children at an early age and enhancement of a spirit of patriotism for Somaliland as well as a desire for its sustained integration, stability and prosperity’ (Ibid). Another goal is to assist the Somaliland people to develop ‘Skills and attitudes which foster the growth of social justice, responsibility and the value and virtues of peace’. There is a need to understand the degree to which these goals of nationalism and peacebuilding are compatible within a wider Somali educational context.
This exploratory research will investigate how nationalism and citizenship are “imagined” in Somaliland context, exploring both formal educational institutions and linked media content using Anderson’s Imagined Communities framework (1983). It will evaluate the potential for education to engage with these topics from a peacebuilding perspective. Further, it will investigate the degree to which peaceful citizenship values underpin the new curriculum, and the potential for that content to be accepted, based on the extent to which dominant public discourses, elite perspectives, media and media producers transmit compatible values of peacebuilding and citizenship.
The Centre for Education and International Development launch at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE), June 15th 2017
Scholarship and practice in education and international development has taken place at the IOE for over 90 years. On June 15th 2017, the newest phase of this work commenced with the launch of the Centre for Education and International Development (CEID).
Comprising a team of globally recognised experts in development, education, and international educational policy, CEID is the largest community of education and international development scholars, students and alumni in the UK. Through its research, teaching and practice it investigates education and international development with particular foci on the contribution of education to social justice and equalities; peacebuilding and conflict; health and wellbeing; migrations; poverty; and gender and women’s empowerment.
The CEID launch represented a key event for the IOE. It began with an all-day Symposium, attended by over 250 delegates, with more than 40 presentations by academics, as well as speakers from NGOs, government, think tanks and charities across CEID’s five thematic research areas. Bringing to the fore the importance of intersectoral and collaborative research, the Symposium’s sessions showcased the theoretically engaged, methodologically rigorous and critically reflexive work undertaken at the Centre.
The Symposium was followed by a keynote lecture entitled ‘What’s the use of education?’ given by Professor Amartya Sen, Nobel Prize winner and Professor of economics and philosophy at Harvard University. Attended by over 750 guests, and live streamed globally, Professor Sen’s keynote address received a standing ovation and concluded with a lively and extended Q & A session with the audience in the Logan Hall.
As a leader in research and teaching excellence in education and international development, CEID is excited to develop its work further, and looks forward to welcoming partners, students and alumni to future events, including our exciting seminar series, alumni events and the CEID annual conference on Higher Education and International Development on June 19th 2018.
STUDENT BLOG #3 | Inequalities, Poverty and Education Stream | June 9, 2017
By María Paz Alarcón
Why does inequality matter? Inequality of what? These are the usual questions I hear when speaking and discussing about inequality. When looking at a particular country’s data on inequality, we usually look at its GINI coefficient or the proportion of income accumulated by the highest and lowest percentiles located in the highest or lowest part of the distribution. When looking at inequalities in education, the eye is set on opportunities such as access, results among students from different countries, types of schools and households. These are often disaggregated by several characteristics, such as gender or ethnicity. All these indicators are indeed useful and necessary to improve educational opportunities, but I believe is time to have a deep look at the processes in which inequalities are embedded and how they impact peoples lives. As a Chilean, I have been a witness of a place where you can breathe inequality and segregation. Chileans might not have read international reports or know about inequality indicators, but when they travel through their cities, attend education and health services, and listen to how people speak differently, they note important differences. This recall other countries with strong inequality and segregation indicators, such as South Africa.
This segregation in education is linked with socioeconomic groups, which are concentrated in certain types of schools and areas. Segregation is strong in Chile. Through primary and secondary education these educational paths can be illustrated as separated tunnels with thick walls in which each group walk: the different realities don’t clash or meet that much. Only in Higher Education, and then only in certain Universities, some students from different backgrounds start to see each other, interact in classrooms and discover new realities. Data on higher education enrolment tell us that students from the lowest income backgrounds are significantly less-represented in higher education in Chile, but this gap has decreased in the last decades. Indicators on diversity do show improvements. But what I have observed and what I question is, do these students really see each other? What is happening with integration, process and interactions? Segregation and inequalities travel into higher education institutions and continue in different physical spaces. The topics of conversation, gestures, activities, places which student visit and their home realities are very dissimilar. When asked the question of which school they attended and which district they live in… will student be able to get along, understand each other, and truly see each other? The tunnel’s walls become transparent but might remain thick. In certain institutions, universities or careers, the phenomenon of “us-and-them” is strongly experienced by some, with, a sense of “I don’t belong here”. How much importance are we giving to these experiences in understanding forms of inequalities? How can discussion and social cohesion build up from here?
Inequalities re acknowledge to have a negative impact on economic growth, educational opportunities and a sense of community. But much of this discussion sees inequalities as forms of inputs and outputs. The feelings, burdens, sense of voice, participation and belonging that people experience through educational processes, traveling between input and output, should be highlighted. These experiences are things that people value. It is important for people to feel they belong, that they have voice, that they can relate and build community. I would like to make an invitation for us to start considering these effects on processes and experiences, as key to bring new perspectives on development and to eliminate barriers creating divisions. I hope that we can start to glimpse less parallel thick-wall tunnels, to then establish paths that cross and connect. In this way individuals can effectively see and understand each other.
As an MA student currently working in The Centre for Education and International Development (CEID) at UCL, I have been influenced by the work CEID has developed on social justice and equality, one of their five thematic areas, bringing debate on these complex issues and their intersections with other key themes. I’m looking forward to discussing perspectives on inequalities with the other participants at the CEID launch on Thursday 15th June 2017.
María Paz Alarcón has worked in Chile contributing in the improvement of educational opportunities for disadvantaged groups by tutoring, developing educational projects and coordinating University affirmative-action initiatives. She is currently a student on the MA in Education, Gender and International Development at the UCL Institute of Education.
STUDENT BLOG #4 | Conflict and Peacebuilding Stream | June 9, 2017
By Sebastian Guanumen
“By peace we mean the capacity to transform conflicts with empathy, without violence, and creatively – a never-ending process” ~ Johan Galtung
The country where I come from, as many others around the globe, has suffered from years of internal conflict that left millions of victims. The violence in Colombia, as in any other conflict-affected context, has been a shaping factor defining the cultural, social, political and economic development of the nation. I will use this space as an opportunity to bring a brief reflexion about the role of education in peacebuilding, pa in Colombia.
More than fifty years of conflict between the state and diverse insurgent groups left the education sector unprotected and vulnerable to all kind of attacks. Constant threats to teachers, recruitment of child-soldiers, forced-displacement and minefields around schools made Colombia a very hostile environment for education, especially in remote rural areas, where the conflict was cruel and persistent. All those violent actions exacerbated issues regarding the availability of qualified teachers, the inadequate infrastructure, the limited access to education, its quality, and its capacity of adapting to children’s needs and their changing environments.
Today, just a few months after the signing of the peace agreement between the government and FARC, and ad portas of its implementation, the enormous challenge of building sustainable peace in Colombia requires the commitment of a majority of the Colombian people. In order to create the conditions for a successful peacebuilding process it is important to design, plan, and implement comprehensive and transformative policies, programmes and interventions in all sectors, including education.
The transition from conflict to sustainable peace requires not only stopping explicit violence but also transforming the different expressions of structural violence that were the ground that allowed the conflict to emerge. Historically, the Colombian education sector has suffered from direct attacks while reproducing structural inequalities. However, now, in the post-conflict context, it is time to question all those violent practices, unfair hierarchies, and unjust impositions that continue to make Colombia prone to relapse into conflict. We need to move towards an education that teaches and promotes non-violent actions, equal relationships, reflection, critical thinking, and peaceful dialogue.
Even though it is the obligation of the state to secure and guarantee the right to education to all Colombian children and young people, it might not be enough if there is not a transformation in our perspective and approach to education. In this post-conflict context, education cannot be seen just as a source of human capital, development or economic growth, it should be acknowledged as a platform able to boost processes of reconciliation, reinforce the restoration of the social fabric, recognize the cultural, ethnic and political diversity, heal the collective memory of the country, reintegrate ex-combatants and bring social transformation.
As a young student who has been always committed to social justice, peace and education I look forward to hearing more about CEID´s five topics and learning from other participants’ experiences of schooling and the end of conflict and work towards peacebuilding at the CEID Symposium on June 15, 2017 at the IoE.
Sebastian is a political scientist and current student on the MA in Educational Planning, Economics and International Development (EPEID) at the UCL Institute of Education.
STUDENT BLOG #5 | Education and Migration Stream | June 9, 2017
By Jugo Vukojevic
MIGRATION: ‘Perspectives on Education and Migration.’
Thinking about how to write a blog post about education, migration, and development is an exciting and overwhelming prospect at the same time. The complexity with which these fields connect and affect each other, makes one consider the seemingly infinite multitude of causal relationships and perspectives such a topic can have. This reality, while daunting, is precisely why research in this area is so fascinating.
The impact of migration and education have woven their way into, and shaped my own life in a variety of significant ways. As a young refugee in Yugoslavia I learned the importance of education, and the vulnerability of society. Later, as a student, emigrating and attending school in a number of different countries, I learned about cultural differences, the significance of having one passport versus another, and the differences in educational and living opportunities of different countries.
Through my studies I have become aware: migration and education have always had a significant impact on social development. The growth of human populations over time has increased both the complexity and degree to which this is true. Early societies were formed through mass migration, technologies, from early plant domestication to the internet today, were spread through the movement of peoples, while the impact of colonialism on the spread of global trade and slavery continues to shape our world. Today the impacts of modern warfare, environmental disasters, and economic and technological changes are causing exponential growth in migrations. Modern formal education, as a widely available and accessible public good we know today, likewise continues to impact our world and is crucial to individuals and societies. Global capitalism and growing populations make educational qualifications an increasingly important commodity for individuals, while societal ideals of citizenship and patriotism continue to drive the politicization of educational provision.
This historical perspective illustrates the positive and negative impact migration and education have had on societal development. It also emphasizes that, while educational provision has expanded significantly, the growth in migration, and importance of education as a necessity for the real opportunities people have, makes continued research into these areas more important than ever.
Attempting to tackle the multitude of complex issues in the intersection of education, migration and development through my own experiences alone, however, seems hardly adequate. Instead, I realized that through my experiences with migration and education I have been fortunate enough to have met a variety of interesting and wonderful people with diverse backgrounds, and perspectives of their own. Below is a collection of some of their experiences. The variety of these perspectives, is in some ways representative of the variety of important questions that are at the heart of this intersection of development research.
I am originally from Somalia, but prior to moving to Canada I lived in Cairo, Egypt. We moved our family because there was war and strife in my home country, and the conflict was wiping out my people, and the majority of my generation.
Education for my children played a large part of my decision in where to find asylum, find a home. I wanted them to have a good education. We learned from abroad that Canada had a great reputation for standard of living, which included quality education.
Education is very important for the well-being of all peoples, and for attaining a strong future; I vehemently believe it is the key to achieving advancement in many walks of life. On a more basic level, a formal education is the best tool to promote independence and personal freedom.
I was very satisfied with how things have turned out with educating my children in Canada.
I was a student at a bilingual school in Paris, the Ecole Jeannine Manuel, which blended French students with international students from all over the world. My high school is extremely internationally oriented and always pushed its students to look outwards and apply to universities in the US, Canada and the UK. I initially wanted to study at Tufts University near Boston, as I really liked the idea of a liberal arts education which gives students the opportunity to try out many different areas of study before specializing, but I finally came to UCL to study a European, Social and Political Studies degree which also offers me amazing flexibility, ranging from classes in Film Studies or Russian Poetry to International Security and Intrastate Conflicts.
My high school in Paris has always pushed its students to study abroad, for one reason mainly; in the globalized world of today, it is more recognized to have a degree from a college that is known across the globe, than a college that is known solely in its own country. Also, after growing up in France as an international kid (born in USA, Russian parents), I really wanted to try something new, in terms of language, culture and way of learning. I did not see myself studying three more years in France, and the Anglo-Saxon education has always been appealing to me in the way that it forces the students to be independent and not to rely on teachers and continuous guidance.
The most challenging part of my experience thus far would be to use the vast amounts of spare time we have and convert it to productive studying. I have only 9-12 contact hours per week, which obviously leaves a lot of ‘free time’. Though this free time is designed for students to be working independently, I have had a tough time doing so. In my first year, these many hours were often wasted because of lack of experience in self time management. This year, these hours were used more productively, be it towards sports, music or socializing, but it is still not easy to actually put yourself to work.
The best part of my experience at UCL is the independence and maturity you gain from living alone, relying only on yourself, grounding yourself when you have work, cooking, managing money. I feel like living in a big city like London and studying at UCL has transformed me into a much more autonomous and responsible person. New social encounters, especially through being part of a sports club at UCL (basketball) has allowed me to meet people with eclectic academic, social and geographical backgrounds. Basketball for me has definitely been a memorable experience at UCL.
Education is what turns potential into success. I believe everyone has a potential, a base on which one can build on to become an individual equipped to make changes or have success in their field. Without education, which teaches you not only knowledge, but also work ethic, time management, and more, we would never be able to achieve heights we are capable of achieving. For me personally, education allows me to be more aware of the world I live in, and guides me slowly but surely to a field that I would be passionate about and would be excited to make a living on.
1. I delivered catch-up lessons and lessons of Greek language to unaccompanied refugees in Athens, aged from 10-15 years old with origins from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Syria. The boys were under the protection of the NGO I was working with and they attended an international public Greek school.
2. When I first started working with them, they have been in Greece for a few months, so language was the most difficult barrier but when you must have seen their faces and mine when we achieved to overcome this barrier. Also, we have to take into consideration that working with teenagers is not easy, especially when they come for a completely different cultural background.
The best part of my job is when their dedication and effort, combined with my facilitation, bring them a step closer to feel as normal children; being integrated into the school community, communicating easily with their peers, having new friends, making progress at school, having good grades, being positive about their future, dreaming freely.
These children survived from all these hazards, risked their lives to come to Europe and despite that most of them had never been to school, or have been for a few years, and despite all that, they found the courage to attend a new school in a new country with a new language (objectively a difficult one). It’s even more positive that the majority of them have high aspirations for the future. So, it is our responsibility to give them the advocacy to thrive and there is no other way to do it, than through education.
Talking about Greece (because right now everything is in an early stage), we must design an educational plan for integration, for language acquisition, for trauma healing, for giving them back not only a sense of normality, but also their childhood and stop depending on the good willingness of individuals.
We believe education is the most important thing for a child. In China, a good education can change somebody’s life.
We want him to learn English because it is a skill for everyone. It is the most popular language in the world, and therefore relates to his job in the future and may allow for more mobility.
Things that concern us about his education in the future are money, Chinese education policy, teachers, and the environment of education.
We just hope that he can be healthy and happy every day.
Ozair (student, refugee – Afghanistan)
I think that education is important, because education changes everything for me. When my brother finished his education and found a job, that was a life changing moment for my family. I was born as an Afghan refugee in Iran, and I have never dreamed that we could live like a normal people until my brother started to earn money. It is also important because it changes the way people look at you regardless of your age and origin. Also, learning English enabled me to communicate with people in different places through my journey.
I came from Afghanistan, and I am not sure where I want to go now. I would like to go anywhere I could go to University. If I can study here, in Serbia, I will stay here. But, maybe I would like to go to Switzerland, because in that country, the population speaks different languages, so I could learn them.
I didn‘t go to school since I left Afghanistan. This is the first school I am in, after education that I got in my country. And, this is also the first time I‘ve decided for myself, without my family.
I don‘t like when somebody gives me orders, so I would like to become my own boss, to have my own firm and to be in IT industry.
1. My job involves various activities relating to work with students who come from underprivileged backgrounds. My school includes students from poor families, most of whom are Roma, whose parents are largely uneducated, having never completed primary school. In addition, this year Serbia has had a lot of incoming refugees from Afghanistan and Syria, many of whom are temporarily stuck here while they await opportunities to move to other countries in Western Europe. Our school has tried to accommodate for some of these children who have volunteered to enrol and attend temporary classes while they are here. As they attend a number of select classes, such as Serbian and English, my job involves ensuring their stay at the school is smooth and as useful as possible, and that they are able to achieve some educational goals set by the ministry of education.
2. The most difficult part of my job is work with families whose children have left school. Trying to convince them that their education is important, and to motivate them to complete primary school. Many of them, frequently migrate to Western European countries for a period of 1 to 2 years during which time they often do not attend school, or attend infrequently, before, usually, returning to Serbia where the rest of their family and community are. Because of these frequent migrations, the education our students receive is frequently hampered as it is interrupted.
3. The best part of my work is the feeling I get from helping someone. Among other things, it often happens that many of my students simply need someone to talk to and hear encouragement from, as their parents can be busy with work and trying to survive in dire circumstances.
4. The main goal, and biggest thing that can impact their lives is completion of, at least, primary school. Unfortunately, in Serbia, many of these students have very poor employment prospects, even with primary school completion. Without it, many will spend their lives barely scraping by, perpetuating the cycle of poverty, and living in poor conditions as their parents had done. Education is the only option they have for escaping poverty.
5. Finishing school can give them a job, and jobs can give their lives some stability and security. Security is what they are lacking most in life, which makes planning for the future and setting long term goals nearly impossible.
Welcome to the Centre for Education and International Education (CEID) blog. This blog is a forum for staff, students, alumni and guests to write about and around CEID’s five thematic areas of engagement.
Our focus areas
The Centre concentrates around five thematic areas, each underpinned by the aim to improve people’s lives through research, teaching and generating new knowledge. These include: