Dr Teshome Tola, Dr Ambissa Boru Kenea and Dr Abdulaziz Hussein Mamie together with the host Kerstin von Brömssen.
- Theory and practice really work together here. It is a big difference compared to Ethiopia. Even though VFU, placement, is available here, there is not the same integration as here, says Dr. Ambissa Kenea Boru from the College of Education and Behavioral Studies at Addis Ababa University.
He and the two colleagues, Dr. Teshome Tola and Dr. Abdulaziz Hussein Mamie, have been at the university in Trollhattan for about a week for exchange in various forms. It has been about dialogue with research colleagues and students, visits to schools in classes with different ages and to afterschool care. They also participated in a larger international research conference held at the university. All parts have been very rewarding, they say, and there are many differences.
- In Ethiopia, school is not compulsory to begin with. In addition, 80 percent of the schools are located in rural areas with poorer material conditions. There are larger classes and fewer teachers per student, just to name a few differences.
- Ethiopia has great difficulty in recruiting teachers and due to the poor conditions of the schools, many teachers leave their profession. We need to strengthen the teaching profession and make them worth something.
It is particularly tough for the girls, they say. They are not allowed to decide over themselves in the same way as the boys, but the parents rule, and as many are farmers, they want the girls to remain at home on the farm. There are also many girls who are allowed to marry early.
- In elementary and middle school, there are relatively many girls in school, but then it decreases more and more. It is a big concern.
As an example, they mention that they themselves only have one female colleague at their own university.
The project they collaborate on is called Diversity in Education and Teacher Education and is financed by STINT, the Foundation for Internationalization of Higher Education and Research. It was Professor Kerstin von Brömssen at University West who took the initiative.
- We want to develop strong ties between teachers and researchers in the field of education and teacher training between our two institutions of higher education. It is very rewarding and inspiring, not least for our students, to gain an insight into what it is like in other countries.
- In almost all classrooms in Sweden today there are children from many different countries and future teachers must be able to relate to and understand different students' backgrounds and have knowledge of different educational systems in the world.
Kerstin points to the connection to the UN's sustainability goal number 4 Good education for all where it says that "high quality in education is the basis for creating sustainable development".
- Educational work towards inclusion and intercultural competence is among the most important to work towards this goal. However, the lack of adequately trained teachers in the field of inclusion and interculturality is cited as a serious obstacle to achieving the sustainable goal in education. This project is a way to strengthen both us teachers/researchers and our students in this area.
The aim of this project is to promote internationalisation through academic collaboration in the field of Education and Teacher Education with the aim of exploring and challenging policy and practice concerning issues of diversity, interculturality and intercultural competences or intercultural sensitivity.
The concept involves dimensions of culture and religion, language, ethnicity, motoric and social and cognitive behaviour in education. These are used at all levels of education. Intercultural competences can be understood as necessary in order to reach an inclusive education with quality, which is underlined by UN and UNESCO. According to UNESCO, inclusive education is seen as “a process of addressing and responding to the diversity of needs of all learners through increasing participation in learning, cultures and communities, and reducing exclusion from education and from within education”.
Inclusive education means different and diverse students learning side by side in the same school and in the same classroom. Inclusive education values diversity and the unique contributions each student brings to the classroom. In an inclusive setting, every child should feel safe and has a sense of belonging. And school staff have the training, support, flexibility, and resources to nurture, encourage, and respond to the needs of all students. These matters are addressed in our joint work on diversity in Education and Teacher Education.
Objectives in relation to research and higher education:
• To further strengthen internationalisation strategies in both Universities, i.e. among students in Teacher Education and teachers/researchers in the educational research field.
• To study issues of diversity and intercultural competences and how these are articulated, negotiated, studied and handled in policy and practice in both curricula in compulsory education in schools, as well as in teacher education in respective University, Departments of Teacher Education.
• To examine what kind of dilemmas of diversity and interculturality/intercultural competences in policy and practice in education that could become integrated as teaching content and used for teaching strategies in Teacher Education at both Teacher Education Departments.
Contact: Kerstin von Brömssen, email@example.com