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Ulster Researchers Strengthen African Links

22 October 2010

Three University of Ulster researchers are travelling to Mozambique for a unique trip to help improve partnerships between schools and universities.

As part of the Irish-African partnership initiative, Professor Anne Moran, Professor Sean Farren and Dr Linda Clarke, Head of the School of Education, will next week (beginning 25 October) travel to the south-eastern African country to help strengthen and support the work schools give to universities in the initial stages of teacher education.

The research project, which received a £110,000 grant over three years from the British Council’s Developing Partners in Higher Education programme, is entitled ‘Developing more effective school-University partnerships in initial teacher training’.

In strengthening the relationship between the educational institutions, the researchers hope to further improve the quality of teaching in schools and encourage more school leavers to choose teaching as a career path.

Professor of Education Anne Moran said that the quality of teaching was once again specifically identified in a recent report called ‘Still Our Common Interest’ which was launched on the 30 September at Ulster’s Belfast campus. The report highlighted areas where progress had been disappointing and the shortage of trained teachers was one of these.

“The University of Ulster is aiming to redress the shortfall in this area and to communicate in a more effective manner how links between schools and universities can be improved,” she said.

“The project’s main focus will be on mentorship training for teacher education and the development of innovative student-centred teaching practices.”

The project will help the researchers at the University of Ulster share their expertise in the field of education with their partner academics in the Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique, Chancellor College at the University of Malawi, and the Makerere University in Uganda.

The Ulster researchers will travel to the Mozambique capital Maputo, and meet with researchers from the three African universities involved in the research project.

The Irish-African Partnership, which began in 2007, is a project that brings together nine universities in Ireland with universities in Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda to develop a coordinated approach to research capacity building and sharing with the aim of reducing poverty.