Members of the TESF team offered a symposium at the 16th UKFIET Conference on International Education and Development. This year’s conference theme was ‘Building Back Better in Education and Training?’ and TESF’s contribution was to the thematic area of research methods. Transforming education systems for sustainable futures requires new approaches to research methodologies, partnership working and measurements of what we value. In this symposium, TESF partners described the Network’s approaches to research methodology, partnership working, and indicator development.
The symposium consisted of three presentations:
In presentation 1, Terra Sprague and Injairu Kulundu-Bolus (TESF Research Associates: UK & South Africa) explain how TESF’s approach to knowledge co-creation strives for equal partnership between academic researchers and other stakeholders including those who have a deep understanding of the context of research and/or who may have a role in putting the findings into practice. They describe different approaches of knowledge co-creation, and drawing on insights from TESF’s Covid-19 related research in South Africa, reflect on some of the associated challenges and promising methods.
In presentation 2, Rafael Mitchell and Latif Ismail (TESF Co-Is, UK & Somalia/Somaliland) draw on postcolonial scholarship and Appadurai’s (1999) notion of “strong internationalisation” to outline the conceptual terrain for mutual capacity development and equitable agenda-setting within international research partnerships. They discuss approaches to mobilising capacity within the network and participative processes of monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL), and demonstrate how these elements contribute to “meaningful and equitable” research partnerships. Opportunities and challenges are discussed, with implications for equity and accountability in similar networked approaches to research.
In presentation 3, Ashley Brockwell (TESF Associate, UK) and Michael Tusiime (TESF Co-I, Rwanda) propose an alternative strategy for designing indicators and assessment tools, grounded in inductive, intersubjective and values-based approaches. Referred to as ‘inside-out design’ this approach simultaneously contests the neo-colonial dichotomy of ‘top-down vs. bottom-up’ and highlights the intrinsic motivations and heart-centred efforts that drive genuine triple-T learning (transformative, transgressive and transdisciplinary). Synergies between this approach and Rwanda’s ‘home grown solutions’ are discussed.
The session was chaired by TESF PI Leon Tikly, and Dr Lizzi Milligan from University of Bath served as discussant.
Symposium slides are available now and a recording of the session is forthcoming.