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Refugee Teacher Certification Programme
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Refugee children will benefit from work of international team including Bath Spa's Education Institute

Thursday, 20 June, 2019

Tens of thousands of child refugees from Syria and Sudan living in Egypt will have the chance of an education better suited to their very particular needs, thanks to an international research project being co-delivered by Bath Spa University.

Academic staff from the University’s Institute for Education earlier this month hosted colleagues from leading universities in Cyprus, Egypt and Greece to work on plans for the world’s first ever higher education diploma specifically designed for refugee teachers, and others teaching refugee children.

The project includes academic and teacher training specialists from each of the universities, working with a senior Bath Spa University team, led by Head of Teacher Education, Pat Black.

Pat Black commented: “We’re really thrilled to be involved in this world-first project, and to be working with and learning from such knowledgeable and experienced international colleagues. Our input, alongside that of our international colleagues, will help hundreds of teachers make a real practical difference, on the ground, to the lives and futures of tens of thousands of refugee children.

“By collaboratively devising a specialised teacher training diploma, which will be delivered through Universities and schools across Egypt, we will be helping teachers who are mostly refugees themselves, provide better support for their young pupils, as well as helping better train local teachers who work in refugee centres or schools with refugee pupils.”

Professor Vassilios Makrakis, from Frederick University in Cyprus, said: “Egypt is currently home to over a million refugees, mostly from Syria and Sudan. Refugee children need very particular help from their teachers. Not only are the children in a foreign land, but they inevitably have social, psychological and trauma issues. Those teaching them - mostly also refugees as well - face similar challenges.

“These teachers need training which reflects all these needs, those of the teachers and the pupils. Working with colleagues from different countries, and drawing on their experience and insights, including from our hosts this week in Bath Spa University, is proving hugely valuable. We hope our work can be used around the world to improve the lives of all refugee families.”

The 'Development of a Refugee Teacher Certification Programme Enabled through Blended Learning in Egypt (ReTeCp) project is funded through the EU Erasmus+ programme, and will eventually give refugee teachers access to higher education through a postgraduate diploma focusing on refugee-centred  teaching methods and practices.

The three-year programme focuses not only on teacher training, but also on developing innovative learning tools and teaching methods, including devising flexible learning paths and deploying blended learning. The project is also looking into development strategies for higher education teacher training in Egypt, to support that country’s work on modernising curricula and introducing more innovative courses and methodologies.

The international team working to improve education for refugee children: (as pictured from left to right):

  • Dr. Yasmin Mahran, Aswan University, Egypt;
  • Mr. Omar El Dahan, Heliopolis University, Egypt;
  • Ms Pat Black, Bath Spa, UK;
  • Dr. Mohammed Badawi, October 6 University, Egypt;
  • Dr. Ahmed Ghalab - Aswan University, Egypt;
  • Prof. Nelly Kostoulas - University of Crete, Greece;
  • Prof. Vassilios Makrakis, Frederick University, Cyprus;
  • Dr. Omar Ramzy, Dean of Business and Economics, Heliopolis University, Egypt.

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