A University of Bedfordshire academic has recently returned from Kenyatta University (KU) in Nairobi where she joined forces with a university in Kenya to pilot an international student survey.
Dr Diana Pritchard led from Bedfordshire in designing the survey which aims to evaluate a ￡45m higher education aid programme, funded by the UK government’s Department of International Development.
Dr Pritchard, from the Bedfordshire’s Centre for Learning Excellence, said: “While piloting is crucial to make sure that any evaluation instrument is fit for purpose, the observations of KU students and academics on the language, structure and content have been particularly valuable. Since the survey will be used in different international contexts, their comments make it more cognitively, culturally and language appropriate.”
An important element of the survey measures student development in competences for the 21st Century. Dr Pritchard explained: “International organisations agree that the most significant trends shaping our world and collective futures are climate chaos, natural resource scarcity, degradation of ecosystems, food insecurity, technological advances and innovations, and demographic shifts including unprecedented levels of forced migration and geopolitical instability.”
The survey includes questions which seek to evaluate critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, social responsibility, appreciation of diversity, scenario planning, entrepreneurialism and self-efficacy. “These are amongst the relevant competences which higher education can deliver to ensure that graduates are resilient before the opportunities and challenges they will inevitably face,” said Dr Pritchard.
The survey will be used to measure the impact of enhanced higher education provision on students at universities in Kenya, other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Myanmar, Lebanon and Jordan, which are funded through this programme, the Strategic Partnership for Higher Education Innovation and Reform (SPHEIR).??
SPHEIR is implemented by the British Council, Universities UK International and PwC.??It supports nine international partnerships involving collaboration, and knowledge and practice exchanges between universities in the UK and the global South. Bedfordshire is part of an international consortium evaluating the SPHEIR programme.
The aim of SPHEIR is to enable higher education institutions to contribute more effectively to economic development and growth, public institutions and civil society.??
Bedfordshire’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Prof Mary Malcolm said: “A key pathway by which SPHEIR will achieve its aims is through enhanced higher education provision and preparation of students, making sure that they are work-ready and able to make a positive contribution to society when they graduate. This student survey will generate some of the data by which to evaluate its impact.”
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