Teacher training at the University of Tampere has made major inroads in educational exports by concluding a deal with Indonesian partners. In December, the School of Education will launch a two-year Master’s Programme for thirty Indonesian teachers who hold Bachelor of Education degrees.
Finland University, the joint transnational education effort of the Universities of Tampere, Turku and Eastern Finland, signed the cooperation agreement in early October. The agreement is considered Finland University’s first significant educational export agreement in Indonesia.
Risto Honkonen, Dean of the School of Education, attended the signing of the agreement in Indonesia, which was also attended by two Indonesian cabinet ministers. The occasion was also an important media event; it was covered by several Indonesian television channels.
More than ten instructors from Tampere
“This is a very interesting and challenging project, which I am very enthusiastic about. I am sure the cooperation will be very fruitful”, said Eero Ropo, the professor in charge of the Master’s Programme in Teacher Training.
Ropo, who has worked as an instructor and professor of education at the University of Tampere since 1978, has no prior experience of transnational educational services. However, he did not hesitate to take on this new challenge.
The School of Education has already recruited twelve of its instructors for this project. The School is still looking for an instructor of quantitative statistical analysis.
Two or three instructors will go to Indonesia per month in order to teach a week-long course. For the remainder of the time, the students will work independently and benefit from distance learning conducted with the help of Moodle software and Skype.
Besides leading the project, Professor Ropo will supervise the students’ Master’s theses and offer a course on researching learning and teaching.
A new culture for a troubled area
The course will be carried out in Indonesia’s Aceh province, where more than 200,000 people were killed by the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. For thirty years, the area was also plagued by armed conflict; former President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari helped negotiate a peace settlement in 2005.
The University’s Indonesian partner is the Sukma Foundation, which maintains three comprehensive schools.
The foundation established the schools after the tsunami and the peace treaty in order to help establish a new culture in the area and overcome the province’s previous misfortunes. Pupils from opposite sides of the conflict have been admitted to the new schools.
The Sukma Foundation wants to offer the Master’s degree to its teachers. Fifty teachers have applied to the programme and thirty can be admitted. The students will study the same curriculum as Finnish students at the University of Tampere. The Indonesian teachers will complete their Master’s degrees at the University of Tampere and the first will graduate in the early autumn of 2017.
Text: Heikki Laurinolli