Jamk Contributing to Solving the Global Learning Crisis
Jamk maintained its success in supporting developing countries. The goal of work in developing countries is always for education to reach all learners more equitably – this means tackling the global learning crisis.
During 2020–2024 Jamk University of Applied Sciences is set out to develop teacher training in Ethiopia, Nepal and Mozambique with a total of EUR 3.8 million in HEI-ICI project funding, thus tackling the global learning crisis.
Education is a fundamental human right and is essential for realising other human rights. Access to quality education means empowering people by helping them to acquire skills, knowledge, values and attitudes that are critical to secure their basic socio-economic needs and enable the sustainable development of their societies.
The projects started in 2020 and are focusing on promoting the quality and accessibility of teacher education in the project countries. The learner-centered pedagogy will be strengthened, and distance and online learning solutions will be utilised in teacher education. Mozambique is a new partner country for Jamk. In the other two countries, the projects will continue the cooperation already established.
Knowledge and skills for today’s world and in the future
In Ethiopia, the focus is on the quality and accessibility of VET teacher education throughout the country, including the concrete development of online pedagogy, teaching methods and related support services.
“Mobile technology creates opportunities for new types of collaborative learning and communication. Digital tools and learning platforms are applied in a short notice for teacher education. Connections across the country are under development as well. The key issue in our project will be how to update the pedagogical competence of teachers to utilize the possibilities for modern participatorial learning. Also the institutional support is needed for sustainable and continuing eLearning”, says project manager Pauliina Silvennoinen.
In the current pandemic situation, as well as considering the participation of minorities and students living in the rural areas of the target countries, development projects aimed at this are topical.
In Nepal distance and diversity education will be strengthened. Development of teacher education resources will focus on digital pedagogy, guidance and counselling, and critical thinking skills. One of teachers’ primary tasks is to generate knowledge and skills that are needed in the world now and in the future. Additionally teacher educators’ professional skills in creating and delivering online learning resources that will be available for all those learners who have previously been difficult to reach; those in remote rural areas, or students of both genders from previously neglected groups will be developed. Finally, ICT skills will be incorporated into all existing programs at all levels of education ensuring they are fit for purpose to meet the needs of the 21st century.
In Mozambique, the focus is on strengthening theory-practice balance in teacher education. In the TEPATE project, the quality and relevance of Mozambiquan teacher education will be developed by strengthening the capacities of two Mozambiquan teacher educators’ institutions. Three new study modules will be developed and the teaching practice component of the teacher education institutions’ education will be developed.
“By so doing, we aim at strengthening the capacity of the institutions to deliver teacher education that provides their graduates with strong theoretical and practical readiness to work as a teacher”, project manager Irmeli Maunonen-Eskelinen explains.
Teacher education, however, is a continuum rather than a degree. Therefore, the project will also generate easy-to-access in-service training materials for Mozambiquan teachers who are not directly linked to the project. The institutions will also be mentored on how to collaborate with local school leadership to pave the way to new types of pedagogical approaches in Mozambique’s schools.
Towards Equality in Education
The broader goal of work in developing countries is always for education to reach all learners more equitably, regardless of their gender, ethnic background or geographical challenges – this means tackling the global learning crisis. The HEI-ICI program supports co-operation projects between Finnish and developing country universities, which strengthen higher education in the target countries. The program is funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs' development cooperation funds. Jamk maintained its success in supporting developing countries. It is coordinating 3 out of 9 Finland’s HEI-ICI program’s development projects.
HEI ICI projects comply with the objectives and principles of Finland's development policy and the principles of UNESCO's sustainable development.
“There is a clear link between the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and what we will be doing in these three projects. In order to prepare students that are employable in today's technology-mediated world, we must have an education system that is fit for purpose. To achieve that, we have to ensure that teacher educators have the right knowledge and effective tools to prepare their students. Curricula that include digital skills, guidance and counselling in all aspects of education and preparation for subsequent careers, as well as critical thinking skills are therefore essential”, project manager of the HEI ICI project in Nepal Graham Burns explains.
Local education solutions will be developed in partnership with colleagues from the target country partner institutions. Each of the project’s core aim is to improve equity in education, as reflected in Jamk’s strategic goals. Jamk has similarly developed teacher education in Ethiopia, Nepal and Vietnam previously where Jamk SPTE teacher educator skills have contributed to bringing about change.
In Nepal, Ethiopia and Mozambique, both local higher education institutions and Finnish universities are partners. The Finnish partners, Häme University of Applied Sciences (Nepal), the University of Lapland (Mozambique) and Centria University of Applied Sciences (Ethiopia), each bring special expertise related to the target country and contents of the project.
How is the partnership possible in a world with this pandemic situation? Hannele Torvinen, Head of Department R&D in Jamk’s Professional Teacher Education, refers to the expertise and experience in multi-channel collaboration:
“The on-going covid-19 outbreak and restrictions not regarding traveling and joint gatherings will cause new type of challenges for the project implementation, the core idea of which is in collaborative development of new pedagogical solutions. However, all partners of the three projects remain committed to achieving the expected results despite these challenges”.