The Key Experts of the four partner institutions of the TEPATE project have now been working together for 5 months. Due to the on-going pandemic that prohibits face-to-face project meetings, the Key Experts had to start getting to know each other and working towards the project’s objectives entirely online. This has also meant getting acquainted with new working methods and tools. At the end of the inception phase, the Key Experts were asked how they have experienced working for a new, international project in this exceptional situation.
“Not even the Covid-19 Pandemic served as a deterrent to the kick off of TEPATE Project activities” – Universidade Pedagógica de Maputo Team
We had a new Project ahead of us, joining two partner institutions from the North, namely the University of Lapland and JAMK University of Applied Sciences, of Finland and two partners from the South, the Universidade Pedagógica de Maputo (UPM) and ISET-One World, from Mozambique. We were all very enthusiastic and hopeful, as we were much aware of the importance of the Project and the difference it would make to the teaching profession, in particular, and the education sector at large. Nothing would stop us, not even Covid19. The kick off of the TEPATE activities planned for the Inception Phase was certainly an interesting experience, which showed that in spite of the pandemic, life goes on in other formats.
It was indeed very satisfying to see the commitment and engagement of UPM Key experts who have been participating in all virtual meetings and/or workshops, reading and asking questions about the TEPATE Project. Working remotely has surely its challenges, particularly in a context where the quality of the internet is not always the best.
However, the Key Experts’ inputs, shared through the Miro platform, constitute evidence that the Project has everything it takes to be successful. Below, are two of the key experts’ views:
I discovered that I am really living in the third world. This is an opportunity to grow and expand our skills. I have learnt more than I expected. – Evílio Mausse, Universidade Pedagógica de Maputo
Working with different platforms has been an interesting and challenged experience. If you are not able to master the information technologies it will be very difficult to follow up. – Herieta Massango, Universidade Pedagógica de Maputo
New generation of teacher educators ready to work: ISET One World Key Experts’ experiences
This project is one of the greatest challenges we have ever faced in our history as institution, regarding both the extension of the project and its demands. It is extremely exciting to be able to meet people at other universities who care about the same we care about, teacher training and improving teachers’ capacities for a better teaching and learning environment in Mozambique. We are sure that, even if we are a team of 6 young Key Experts, without much experience on big projects like this one, our contribution to the development of study modules will create a remarkable impact on our life as teachers and for the Mozambican schools as well.
We are so delighted to work with such a very capable group of professional experts in Project management that we have found at JAMK, always ready to solve our doubts and help us on understanding all details of the project. During the inception phase, we have realized that working online is nowadays a MUST, with or without Covid-19 restrictions for traveling and meeting face to face, which we will hopefully do during the following years. All Key Experts are extremely excited with the imminent Training of Teachers and rest of activities in smaller and/or bigger groups, where good practices will be shared.
Committed to global responsibility: University of Lapland
The University of Lapland team includes five key experts: Dr. Outi Kyrö-Ämmälä is the academic lead of the team and an expert of teacher education, Dr Merja Paksuniemi is an expert of teacher education practice, Dr. Pigga Keskitalo has specialised in multilingualism and Dr. Anna-Maija Partanen in mathematics didactics. MA Janette Peltokorpi manages and coordinates the activities at the University of Lapland. Professor Tuija Turunen is a member of a steering group.
The University of Lapland team finds it very interesting to participate in this project, specially from the perspective of global responsibility reconstructing teacher education practices in diverse intercultural settings in close cooperation with the project partners. The team is looking forward to the first workshop series to be held online in May-June 2021 and meeting the colleagues in Mozambique, hopefully in September.
Strategic choices, lucky timing
As a strategic choice, JAMK has for several years invested in beneficiary-centred project planning in its international development work. Manifesting this strategy, JAMK’s TEPATE team hosted coordinators from Universidade Pedagógica de Maputo and Instituto Superior de Educação e Tecnologia – One World for a 3-day workshop from 18th to 20th February 2020, in Jyväskylä, Finland. In the workshop, the reality of teacher education in Mozambique as well as the most urgent development needs of the partner institutions were discussed.
Little did we know in February 2020 that if our project plan would receive funding (which we all hoped for very much indeed), no further traveling could be done in the foreseeable future. Therefore, the value of the joint planning session which meant meeting new partners face-to-face, proved more valuable than perhaps ever before. This has made working online feel very effortless, and natural.
This post was co-written by TEPATE Coordinators: Sarita Henriksen (Universidade Pedagógica de Maputo), Roger González Margalef (Instituto Superior de Educação e Tecnologia One World), Pigga Keskitalo and Janette Peltokorpi (University of Lapland), and Eeva Lehtonen (JAMK).