As part of the Zambia-Ireland Teacher Education Partnership Official Launching earlier this week, the Minister for Lifelong Learning, Seán Haughey, and Minister of State for Overseas Development, Peter Power, launched the Zambia-Ireland Teacher Education Partnership (ZITEP). This is an initiative aimed at improving the quality of teacher education in Zambia and funded jointly by Irish Aid and the Department of Education and Science.
As part of this initiative Mary Immaculate College, (MIC), Limerick, along with the other four College of Education in Ireland will work closely with two teacher education colleges in Zambia, (Charles Lwanga College and the Kitwe College) on a comprehensive programme of mentoring and support in key areas of teacher education. Staff from all seven colleges will work together on an agreed programme which reflects priority needs in Zambia to strengthen pedagogical skills, enhance the professional development of teacher educators and tutors and identify and promote good practice.
Speaking at the launch Minister Haughey praised the opportunities and benefits generated by this initiative in developing a community of learning for participants and lecturers from Zambia and Ireland saying "I believe that this partnership has great potential to engage the professionals involved in enhancing teacher formation and development. Partnerships such as ZITEP are important in providing a forum for reflection on our practices and will enable learning from our peers both from within our own country and from our countries".
Earlier this year three lectures from Mary Immaculate College visited the two colleges in Zambia on a fact finding mission, observing teaching methods there and interacting with students and lecturers in an effort to compare and contrast the different teaching techniques. This week nine lecturers from Zambia visited MIC where they too observed lectures in the College and visited a number of primary schools around the Limerick region.
Another key feature of this partnership is the virtual intranet which is linked to the seven colleges, resulting in 110 lectures collaborating on-line between the countries, allowing the lecturers to interact and share ideas, co-develop resources and discuss issues relevant to the teaching of their subjects and other areas such as classroom management, teaching practice and assessment practices.
Speaking on the initiative Project Coordinator, Mary Kerr said, "This partnership provides an opportunity to build a community of learning whereby we can establish areas of common ground but it will also provide us with the opportunity to learn from each other".
Prof, Peadar Cremin, President of MIC, stated "Mary Immaculate College has a long history of championing initiatives aimed at making a difference for the better and possesses a deep commitment to tackling poverty in the developing world. Our involvement in the ZIPEP Partnership is another example of this commitment as for more than a decade now staff and students from the College have been enthusiastically engaged in this type of work through a combination of research, teaching and teacher development".
Other projects that MIC is involved in include the Centre for Global Development through Education, the Irish-African Partnership for Research Capacity Building, the Primary School Development Education Project in association with Trócaire and the Additional Education Experience Programme whereby up to 10% of the College’s final year B. Ed students travel to Africa to work in schools there.
Pictured at the College are (L-R) Elizabeth Kangombe, John Chisefu, Professor Peadar Cremin President of Mary Immaculate College, Mary Kerr(Project Coordinator), Susan S. Katongo, Bright Msimuko, James Silwimba, Sr. Anna Haakaloba, Linda Lyn Mwiinga, Ailbe Kenny (MIC), Moses Chuubo Hacimvwa and Chulu Lewis.