Arefin Chowdhury and Tania Khan
'UC is the best place to continue our journey in education...'
Lecturers, Government Teachers' Training College, Bangladesh
Husband and wife Arefin and Tania are both lecturers in their home country of Bangladesh and hope their research at UC will benefit their teaching there.
'I hope the ideas and knowledge which I have gathered from UC will help me to be an effective teacher educator; and I hope that will indirectly help the quality of education in Bangladesh,' says Tania.
Tania is a lecturer in guidance and counselling at the teachers' training college and an inclusive trainer. She has been a member of the Secondary Teacher Training in Inclusive Education Development Committee, and has developed training materials that are being used across the country.
Arefin teaches in-service and pre-service secondary school teachers studying towards a Bachelor of Education and Master of Education. He is also a member of the National Teacher Education Curriculum Development Committee, helping to reform the teacher education curriculum.
Both have master's degrees from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Arefin's is in pre-primary and primary education while Tania's is in psychology.
The pair, who married during their time in New Zealand, were given the opportunity to study overseas through an education project named TQI-SEP (Teaching Quality Improvement in Secondary Education Project). The project is run by Bangladesh's Ministry of Education and aims to enhance quality in secondary education.
At UC, Tania's master's thesis focused on secondary school teachers' attitudes towards, and knowledge about, inclusive education in Bangladesh. Arefin explored teacher educators' experiences and understandings of ICT in teacher education programmes, particularly from a developing country's perspective.
Interesting findings have come out of their research. Tania describes: 'As a developing country we have many obstacles to implement inclusive education but my findings show that secondary teachers are predominantly supportive of inclusive education in spite of their insufficient knowledge and lack of training and support.' Tania thinks that initiatives taken by the government form the basis of this positive attitude and that there is an opportunity to build on it.
On their return to Bangladesh the couple published further papers and a book, Research and Educational Change in Bangladesh, which was a joint collaboration between UC and the University of Dhaka.
Having had such a good experience at UC, Tania and Arefin hope to return to the University at some stage in the future.
‘We miss UC and we are planning to come back to New Zealand to do our PhDs. UC is the best place to continue our journey in education, and to meet nice people and see great places.’