On February 6, 2014, the Institute for Educational Development, East Africa (IED, EA) organised an event to celebrate the significant work undertaken by colleagues at AKU-IED, EA and its achievements, both programmatic and research, in 2013. At the same time, the event enabled colleagues to learn more about the overall activity within IED, EA and the scope and scale of work undertaken by colleagues.
This event was attended by faculty members, staff, and alumni, along with the AKU Provost, Professor Greg Moran, Vice Provost, Professor Kweku Bentil and was introduced by IED, EA Director, Professor Pauline Rea-Dickins. In her opening remarks, the Director pointed out that it was the first time in IED, EA history that there were 10 current research projects, of which 9 are externally funded. In addition, there are several programme focused projects for which IED, EA has achieved donor funding. She congratulated all colleagues for their immense and successful efforts in building IED, EA in 2013 and also extended thanks to all departments at IED, EA who work behind the scenes to support grant development and project implementation.
To showcase the achievements, the event focused largely around the work of the four IED, EA Research Interest Groups: ICT in Education, Research and Development; SIGMAS, Special Interest Group in Mathematics and Science; Educational Leadership, Gender and Participation, and Early Years’ Education. The Library, an important cornerstone of IED work, also had a display of IED publications and other relevant resources.
Also on exhibit were the MEd and Centre for Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning (CELL) programme materials, publications and marketing merchandise. After a significant period of the MEd programme review, in 2013, the Master’s programme received approvals to move from a two-year to a one-year full-time degree programme. Due to a combination of factors, the 2014 MEd admissions round attracted over three times the usual number of applicants and the latest cohort has all three key East African states, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, well represented with a total cohort of 61 students studying in Dar at IED – also a first. CELL outreach activities including Certificates, Short Courses and Workshops increased significantly in 2013, reaching 64 per cent more total direct beneficiaries that were trained across the East African region in 2012.
Other achievements that received special mention included the 3rd Annual Research Institute conference on the theme of contextually relevant and culturally responsive early childhood care and education in East Africa; the International Day of the Girl Child which took the opportunity to raise awareness of the many challenges still facing the girl child with a full morning of presentations by guest speakers, breakout sessions, and discussions. Two faculty members, Dr Nicholas Wachira and Dr Simon Karuku, had been awarded PhDs in 2013 and last but not least, IED, EA successfully hosted 4 international interns in 2013.
The celebratory event was also an opportunity to network with alumni. Taking advantage of the gathering, the AKU Alumni office representative, Ahaq Wahedena came to IED, EA to support the establishment of the first ever IED, EA Alumni Association.