BTC Dean Presents Internationalization Strategy to the Supreme Council for Education and Training
October 25, 2018
Good morning. For the first part of my update, the enrollment of BTC continues to grow, even though the intake is stable. This does not mean that our applications are stable; in fact, we received an approprimately 50% increase in applications over last year. The enrollment growth is only a result of the 2014 intake growth now catching up at all years within the program. The graduation numbers this will year will be the last small group before our graduation numbers double next year. If all else stays equal, BTC will have approximately 1,700 to 1,800 full time B.Ed students.
In my update to this council last semester, after I had just arrived at BTC as the new Dean, I presented what I perceived to be the possibilities for BTC's second decade. Now with my first semester behind me, I'd like to go deeper into one area: the global quality of teacher education at BTC.
While we have every intention to add programs to begin educating intermediate and secondary teachers, and we are working on plans for graduate programs, we must ensure a firm identity for BTC, post-Singapore. We must ensure that our original relationship with Singapore’s National Institute of Education remains solid, yet we must also forge new territory and grow beyond one model.
While new programs, higher enrollments, and so forth are important, our roots with Singapore, and our status ten years later, show that a global quality teacher education curriculum is not enough. If the faculty of BTC do not have a private sector mentality and attitude, if they do not recognize the rapidly changing global labor marketplace, if they do not fully accept the needs that Bahrain's citizens will have in ten, twenty, or thirty years ahead, neither will their students, Bahrain's next generation of teachers. And if teachers do not have it, their students, the next generation of Bahrain's workforce, will not either.
Very briefly, an internationalization strategy will enhance these aspects of the work of the Bahrain Teachers College. What is an internationalization strategy? Simply put, it is a plan for how an academic institution connects deeply with the rest of the world--with other universities, with governments, with multilateral and non-governmental organizations, with private firms, and with global trends. Here are a few examles:
The BTC (through the University of Bahrain) has established a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Auckland in order to establish strong international research linkages on the topics of literacy and school leadership.
The British Council is working closely with the BTC on English education, teaching quality, and pathways for intermediate and secondary teacher development in the Kingdom.
The US Embassy is a partner with the BTC in bringing high quality speakers, fellows, teachers, and materials to the BTC for its teacher development.
The Queen Rania Foundation is working with the BTC on knowledge dissemination about teaching and teacher education to the region.
New partnerships are also underway for a variety of purposes with Kent State University (Ohio, USA), Teachers College Columbia University, the University of Derby in the UK, and other top academic institutions.
BTC’s preparation for accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), the US-based teacher education accreditor, signifies global excellence in teacher education.
Finally, BTC’s new Leadership Center started this just week. This is an idea that came from Dr. Roy Blatchford, outgoing Executive Director of Education for the First Deputy Prime Minister’s office. As a common strategy used around the world, the Leadership Center is employing cose personalized mentorship and coaching of principals of Ministry of Education schools that have been judged inadequate by the Bahrain Quality Assurance Authority three times in a row. And to support this, the University College London Institute of Education will be partnering with us to bring their expertise in leadership coaching to Bahrain.
I will conclude by claiming that BTC's next decade is about not just having a global teacher education, but rather about fully participating in the global teacher education community at every level.