Collaborating With Many Other Agencies Across The World:
Particularly through the MESHGuides International Council, many outputs have reflected the current and immediate issues for teachers globally of managing education in a pandemic.
International Teacher Task Force
Significantly, EFC/MESH was formally appointed as an NGO to the UN International Teacher Task Force (UN TTF) in 2021 and this has involved regular meetings with the UN TTF panel, and EFC/MESH membership to the thematic sub-groups of this panel. Representation on the thematic sub-groups has included:- (list thematic groups represented here)
Voluntary Service Overseas
A particularly productive international partnership has seen EFC/MESH working collaboratively with VSO (International Volunteer Services Overseas) on multiple projects this year; including ‘Numeracy for All’; ‘Inclusive Education’ and ‘Psycho-Social Development’. EFC/MESH and VSO have held regular weekly meetings on how developing countries are managing education in the pandemic, collating good practice across low-income countries.
In addition, VSO & EFC have collaborated on a UNICEF bid to deliver teacher education in Cambodia and more recently still the EFC/MESHGuides Steering Committee have been invited to provide international consultation by our partner from VSO, Purna Strestha, to provide feedback on the UNESCO International Teacher Task Force – COVID19 Policy Note on Guidance for school leaders and teachers for schools re-opening. Paris: UNESCO.
The International Council on the Education of Teachers
Another highly effective EFC/MESH international partnership has been the collaboration with ICET (the International Council on the Education of Teachers). EFC/MESH worked with ICET in 2020 leading online webinars for teachers globally, collecting data via focus groups, which included those from LMIC (low and middle-income countries) and provided an analysis and evaluation of the COVID-19 pandemic on education. The subsequent report titled ‘Teachers’ Experiences during Covid-19’ generated a lot of interest from researchers and practitioners alike following its publication in 2021.
EU Erasmus & BRIST
As part of its aim to develop international partnerships, EFC/MESH is committed to continue to work with EU partners and has attracted collaborative interest in EU funded projects. Of particular note is the Erasmus+ BRIST project (Building a Research Infrastructure for Teachers) where academics from the EFC Charity, working on the MESHGuides project, have joined forces with the University of Hull, to lead a three-year international project that will develop teachers’ research skills and networking practices. Joining EFC/MESH and the University of Hull in this project are research partners from across Europe, including the Republic of Ireland, Poland, Greece and Spain.
The researchers have been awarded €354k of European funding for the project, which will develop teachers into teacher-researchers and evidence-informed practitioners through an innovative infrastructure. The project seeks to inform teacher education practice in its partner countries and strategically target stakeholders and policy makers at its external multiplier events. Interim outcomes from the project during October-November 2020 included focus group research with teachers in UK, and in partner countries. Research outcomes and resources created during the project will be made freely available for across the European Union, following project completion in August 2022.
Publications And Other Outcomes
A further key EFC/MESH international partnership has been the ongoing collaboration with VoicEd Radio, Canada where MESHGUIDES Steering Committee members have recorded a series of podcasts/radio programs for VoicEd on key COVID-19 issues. A series of radio interview were recorded in Canada then made available as podcasts internationally online:-
Radio Programmes and Podcasts
MESHGUIDES ‘The Truth About COVID-19’, Four-Part Radio programme and Podcast Series, MESHGUIDESGuides and VoicED Radio, available from https://voiced.ca/project/the-truth-about-covid-19/
Online Video Facilitated meetings
From April to June 2021, the EFC/MESHGuides CEO and Co-chairs ran regular weekly meetings with the MESHGUIDES International Council, across the UN regions, focusing on how different countries are managing their education sectors during COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the EFC/MESHGuides Steering Committee has been leading a new international MESHGuide on Covid19 underlining the importance of reliable information to combat fake news on coronavirus.
Publications during 2021 have included the key ICET/MESH Research Report ‘Teachers’ Experiences during Covid-19’ which was a key reason for EFC/MESH being invited to join the UN Teacher Task Force 2030 and to provide representation on all of its thematic groups. This key piece of international research from the ICET/MESH global webinars also resulted in a book chapter ‘Implications for Understanding Quality in Teaching’: Hordatt-Gentles, C., Younie, S., Caldwell, H. and Leask, M. (2022) which examined teachers’ experiences during the pandemic and was included in the book ‘Quality in Teaching and Teacher Education. International Perspectives from a Changing World’ (ed) J. Madalinska-Michalak, Brill publishers.
Further Recent Publications
include a book for global knowledge transfer in which the information from the MESHGuides International Council and VSO meetings and webinars, and the ICET webinar have all been analysed and evaluated. The evaluation of what worked and what didn’t during the pandemic can facilitate global knowledge transfer for education during times of crisis. This has then been incorporated into a new COVID-19 book for Routledge, by the co-chairs and members of MESHGUIDES Steering Committee: Ensuring schooling for all in times of crisis – Lessons from Covid-19 (in press). Leask, M. & Younie, S. Routledge.
Complementary to this, a book chapter has been written from the information from the MESHGuides International Council and VSO meetings as a new COVID-19 book chapter for Routledge, by the co-chairs and members of MESHGuides Steering Committee, on education policy planning for COVID-19 pandemic, published in the book: Education System Design: foundations, policy options and consequences (2020).Hudson, B., Leask, M & Younie, S. Routledge.
Additional international partnership activity
included an international bid to the British Council in which EFC/MESH led a bid to the British Council in December 2020, with De Montfort University in England and Dundee University in Scotland, with international partners from across the UN regions on a collaborative project for COP26. The project was entitled ‘Our Planet’. Although unsuccessful, the project was ‘long-listed’ and drew on the MESH International Council network. The strength of the partnership was acknowledged, and we are looking for new opportunities to develop projects with the experts and partners identified in this bid.