"Quality Education Determines a Country's Innovative Capacity to Help it Move Forward"
If you want to have a bigger voice in the national discourse on education, a master's degree in Education is one way to empower yourself.
This was one of the messages at Wittenborg’s recently held Symposium on its new MA in Education. The event featured an impressive list of speakers from both the UK and the Netherlands who are all experts in the area of higher education.
It is estimated that the Netherlands will have a shortage of 3,000 – 5,000 teachers and other educational professionals per year from 2019 – 2022, according to Wittenborg’s Vice President: Academic Affairs, Prof. Ron Tuninga, who was the keynote speaker at the event.
The symposium served as a prelude to the start of Wittenborg’s MA in Education in October 2019, which will be its first non-business related programme. It will be offered jointly by Wittenborg and the University of Brighton in the UK. The School of Education will be headed by senior lecturer Bert Meeuwsen, who hosted the event on Thursday.
Tuninga kicked off the symposium with a lecture on quality development by way of further education. He said quality education increases not only the human capital of a country’s labour market but will also determine its “innovative capacity”, which is very important for a country to move forward. “Our MA in Education can be one step forward on this development journey.”
Dr Marlon Moncrieffe, a prominent academic from the UK who teaches Education Studies at Brighton’s School of Education, gripped attendees with the story of his own journey from being a primary school teacher to eventually attaining his PhD at the University of Reading. His lecture focused on cross-cultural education and critical perspectives.
According to Moncrieffe, doing a master's degree in Education opened his eyes to understanding his role as a teacher. “What happens in the world is going to unleash a political reaction and impact your work. By doing a MA in Education you will be able to respond to those developments in an intellectual way and influence national discourse. That will give you a feeling of empowerment.”
The lectures were followed by a workshop by Dr Soo Sturrock and Dr Alison Barnes from Brighton who both gave a colourful and passionate insight into the structure of the MA in Education. The workshop was entitled: "Research-literate practitioners: The place of MA in Education in continuing professional development".
Sturrock told potential candidates: “You will not only be consumers of research, but also be active generators of research making an impact on the professional field.”
The symposium was opened by Wittenborg’s chair of the executive board, Peter Birdsall, who welcomed attendees and said Wittenborg and Brighton have had a strategic partnership for about 10 years. Currently, about 160 Wittenborg students follow programmes jointly offered by the two institutions.
“With the MA in Education we hope to build a good, solid programme based on an understanding of changes in both the education sector and changes in young people. This concept of partnering with Brighton on the MA in Education allows us to explore an area other than business.”
Wittenborg lecturer, George Bosire, said he found the symposium “enlightening”. Wittenborg’s Head of Research, Dr Nicolet Theunissen, said: “What I noticed most about the programme is the great combination of practice and research.”
by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press