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GU welcomes African educators in program aiming to transform education in Zambia

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Teachers meet in Zambia
Teachers meet in Zambia

Twenty-five teachers from the Charles Lwanga College of Education in Zambia are currently at Gonzaga University as part of a program Gonzaga designed to help them, “realize their dream of turning their school into an independent university,” according to a press release.

Gonzaga also said in the press release that it hopes the effort will assist the college in transforming teacher education in Zambia.

Gonzaga adapted its Master’s of Education in Leadership and Administration program to be delivered on-site, online and in Spokane. A requirement from the Zambia Ministry of Education for their two-year school to become an independent, four-year university — authorized to grant bachelor degrees — is that the teachers hold master’s degrees. Located in the southern province of the Republic of Zambia, the school currently grants two-year degrees for aspiring elementary school teachers.

In a release Jon Sunderland, who spearheaded the initiative as dean of Gonzaga’s School of Education, described organizers’ hopes.

“Our hope is that when we train their instructors in strategies and methods that are atypical for Zambian schools of education, and they then teach and train the future elementary and middle and secondary teachers in Zambia using these same methods, it will have this exponentially growing benefit to Zambia’s educational system,” Sunderland said. “It will create a different form of education that places more value on developmental education, and teaching and learning.”

The program, which will conclude in December 2014, is a hybrid of Gonzaga School of Education courses in the Master of Education and the Master of Leadership and Administration programs, along with teacher education courses. The program also includes a class in second-language acquisition. Gonzaga faculty travel to Zambia for a week at the start of each course and meet with students daily before leaving them with assignments to be finished online for the remaining seven weeks of each course.

About Tracy Simmons

Tracy Simmons
Tracy Simmons, who teaches journalism at Gonzaga University, is an award winning journalist specializing in religion reporting, digital entrepreneurship and social journalism. In her 13 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti. Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas and Connecticut. Currently she serves as the executive director of SpokaneFAVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Wash. She also writes for The Spokesman-Review and for the Religion News Service.

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