The E.G. West Centre is based in the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences at Newcastle University and is dedicated to generating knowledge and understanding about how markets and self organising systems work in education.
The Centre, since its founding in 2002, has helped to develop and manage two pioneering global research programmes. The first, directed by Professor James Tooley, has focused on the remarkable growth and development of private schools serving low income families across the developing world. The second, directed by Professor Sugata Mitra, concerns the concept of Minimally Invasive Education and how it can be applied, both inside and outside the school, to help transform the way children learn. Research has been carried out in a variety of different countries including India, China, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia South Sudan, Sierra Leone and South Africa and both Tooley and Mitra are now recognised as inspirational global leaders in their particular field of study.
The Centre’s research activities are complemented by an MA in International Development and Education which attracts students from the Congo to Kazakstan. The Centre also supervises and supports a continuous flow of PhD students who play a critical role in the Centre’s ongoing research and development activities.
Professor James Tooley (Director)
James Tooley is Professor of Education Policy and is renowned for his work on low-cost private education in developing countries. He is the author of The Beautiful Tree (Penguin, New Delhi), a bestseller in India and winner of the Sir Antony Fisher Memorial Prize. This work built on his groundbreaking research on private education for the poor in India, China and Africa, for which he was awarded gold prize in the first International Finance Corporation/Financial Times Private Sector Development Competition. Following on from his research, Tooley has dedicated himself to creating and improving working models of innovative practice in low-cost private education to help demonstrate its efficacy and potential to extend access and improve educational opportunities for the poor. He is Co-Founder and Chairman of Omega Schools, a chain of low-cost private schools in Ghana and Empathy Learning Systems in Hyderabad, India. His latest book is From Village School to Global Brand, a case study of a chain of schools originating in Lebanon in 1866, which now runs charter schools in America and public-private partnership schools in Iraq.
Sugata Mitra is Professor of Educational Technology and the instigator of the Hole in the Wall (HIW) experiment, which aimed to prove that children could be taught computers very easily by themselves without any formal training. Sugata termed this Minimally Invasive Education (MIE) and the experiment has since been repeated across India. His research has also expanded into the concept of Self Organised Learning Environments (SOLE) which are currently being experimented with in a number of schools in Newcastle. Since 2011, Sugata has also been a visiting Professor at MIT in Boston, USA and in 2012 he won the Leonardo Crossing Borders Award and the AdvancED Global Educator Award.
Dr Pauline Dixon (Director of Research)
Pauline was one of the founder members of the E.G. West Centre in 2002. She gained her PhD at Newcastle University researching private schools in the low-income areas of Hyderabad, India in 2003. Since then she has been instrumental in the research carried out by the E.G. West Centre in Asia, Africa and South America and a crucial part of the award-winning team at the Centre. Currently Dixon is working on improving English in private and government schools in a slum in Delhi as well as advising and researching the implementation of education vouchers in developing countries. Pauline is currently the Degree Programme Director for the MA in International Development and Education and the Degree Programme Director for the MEd full-time.
James B Stanfield (Director of Development)
James joined Professor Tooley in 2001 as his research assistant and helped to set up the EG West Centre in 2002 after retrieving E.G. West’s library and papers from his home in Canada. Together with assisting Professor Tooley in his work, James’s PhD research has focused on the growth of private schools for the poor in Kenya and how this corresponds or comes into conflict with the United Nations concept of the right to education. James’s other research interests include: the history of education without the state in the UK and different countries around the world, the hidden costs and unintended consequences of government interventions in education; the role of the profit motive and inclusive business models in education and the right of parents to choose in education. James lectures on the MA International Development and Education, supervises masters dissertations, contributes to research bids, manages the centres profile on the internet and social media and is continuously looking to develop links with the private sector. He has recently edited a publication for the IEA titled The Profit Motive in Education: Continuing the Revolution (2012), in which he contributed a chapter titled “The Fortune at the Bottom of The Pyramid in Education”. He also blogs at IEA and ASI.
René, born in Austria, joined Newcastle University in September 2010 and is currently MEd Pathway Leader for Pedagogy and Learning, Deputy Director of Secondary Initial Teacher Training as well as Regional Manager for Network for Languages. Rene started out his research career on aspects of language learning and testing but due to his management, leadership and governance roles at primary and secondary level, René’s research interest include many aspects of educational leadership. At the forefront of his interest is: leadership and its effect it has on learners, the learning and the teaching in the classroom. Apart from being a member of the EG West Centre, René is also an active member of CfLAT and Trustee and Honorary Finance Officer of the Association for Language Learning.
Christopher-John Counihan is an education consultant and lectures on the MA International Development and Education pathway, he also supervises M.ed dissertations with particular interests in literacy and school choice in the developing world. He previously worked as a literacy Director for a small NGO in Ghana improving reading and writing in rural ‘hard to reach’ villages. This work led him to complete his M.ed in International Development at Newcastle and further develop his ideas of peer teaching which is the main focus of his PhD.
Paul Miller is an Education Consultant working with the EG West Centre to develop school learning capabilities on a sustainable basis in low cost environments. He has designed and delivered School Manager and Teacher training programmes for low cost private schools in Ghana as well as developing French curricula designed for effective use by inexperienced local teachers. Paul’s background in business and education has led him to research an EdD thesis at Newcastle, investigating viable business models for the expansion of chains or networks of schools providing low cost education in the developing world. He is also currently assisting on a study of Free Schools in the North East of England.
David Longfield is a Research Associate investigating the role of private education in the developing world with a particular interest and involvement in the new country of South Sudan. He trained as maths teacher and taught in India for 17 years. Having returned to Newcastle in 2005 he worked at INTO Newcastle University, teaching maths on business courses. Having completed his M.Ed. in International Development and Education in 2011 he is planning a Ph.D. looking at the establishment and growth of schooling in South Sudan since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005.