The Graduate School of Education (GSE) at The American University in Cairo (AUC) conferred its Professional Educator Diploma upon 65 teachers and school administrators of whom 19 were education professionals from Ministry of Education. The annual ceremony was attended by Lisa Anderson, AUC president, Amr Ezzat Salama, university counselor, Samiha Peterson, dean of GSE, Nihad Shelbaya, public and government affairs manager at ExxonMobil, which, in addition to other donors, offered full tuition scholarships to 19 students, and the families of the students.
The professional educator diploma program offers post graduate non-credit education diplomas in four areas: educational leadership, teaching early years learners, teaching adolescent learners, and integrated educational technology for classroom teachers. There are currently 110 students enrolled in the programs. According to Peterson, the diplomas are chosen in relation to priorities of Egypt and the region. “They are designed to meet Egypt’s needs for the professional development of teachers. As education is a top priority for human development, we try to introduce teachers to new skills and pedagogies that meet the changing needs of schools and students of the 21st century.”
While the teaching early years learners diploma assists participants in understanding and fostering the development of early literacy skills for the education of young children, the teaching adolescent learners diploma helps participants understand and foster the development of learning skills for preparatory and secondary school student. The integrated educational technology for classroom teachers provides classroom teachers at all stages with fundamental knowledge, skills and values in the area of educational technology so that they can integrate their knowledge and skills into their daily classroom practice.
Besides diplomas offered to teachers, the professional educator diploma in educational leadership is offered to school principals or directors of pre-primary, elementary and secondary schools. The leadership diploma prepares them for school management; curriculum and instructional leadership; monitoring, evaluation and assessment at school level.
In addition to the professional educator diplomas, GSE offers Master of Arts degrees in international and comparative education. In addition to required core courses, students focus on one of the three concentrations available: teaching and learning, educational leadership, and development and policy. There are currently 41 students enrolled in the Master of Arts program.
The Middle East Institute of Higher Education (MEIHE) is a third component of the GSE. Its goal is to improve post-secondary education throughout the region by providing scholars and practitioners with opportunities to conduct research on higher education administration. It focuses on research, capacity development and short term seminars on reform; and institutional development of centers of excellence in the region for teachers, and coordinating between regional centers.
"One of the most important things I have learned here is how to deal with students the way they want to learn, not the way the teacher wants to teach them,” said Mohamed Abdel Hamid, an English language supervisor. “We have also learned family- School community collaboration and how to include parents in the education process. Tell them about the educational principles and how to deal with their kids, " he added.
According to Magda Aly Fakhry, Material Engineering '83, and Mathematics teacher for high school and middle school, the methods of teaching are changing so teachers need to always keep updated. “In the past, education used to be Chalk and Talk but now I'm applying the new educational strategies I've learned here like using data show and interactive learning programs."
Launched in 2009, GSE, which has been authorized by the Supreme Council of Universities and the Ministry of Higher Education, provides high quality professional and technical assistance for teachers, school administrators and education policymakers to qualify them for the international standards of education. GSE’s main goal is to foster excellence in practice and research for pre-university and higher education professionals through a coherent and sustainable system that integrates learning, research and policy dialogue.
The school is also developing partnerships with the Egyptian Ministry of Education, educational institutions and international institutions to capitalize on their expertise and to explore opportunities for professional and academic collaboration.