The E.G. West Centre which is based in the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences at Newcastle University carries out world-class research and research-based advocacy aimed at developing knowledge and understanding of self-organizing (or “spontaneous order”) systems in education.
It has two levels of focus: Governance (hence market solutions in education, specifically sustainable, scalable low-cost private schools) and Learning itself (hence self-organizing learning, specifically through technology and peer-learning). It is global in focus, currently researching in South Asia, sub-Saharan Africa as well as the UK.
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 Self Organised Learning Environments (SOLE) 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.
Rene Koglbauer (Director, North Leadership Centre)
René, born in Austria, joined Newcastle University in September 2010 and is the Director of the North Leadership Centre (www.northleadershipcentre.co.uk) as well as the Director of Network for Languages North East. In addition, René is the Pathway Leader of the MA Education: International Perspectives (Leadership and Management) and Degree Programme Director of the employer-based PGCE programme. René 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 in the UK and other countries. He has introduced the first post-PGCE trip for PGCE trainees to Ghana, where PGCE trainees following their successful completion of the course work in local schools and get an experience what school life in Ghana is like. 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 Assistant 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 14 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.
Rebecca Fisher is a Research Assistant working on projects to extend access to quality education to low-income families, with particular involvement in West Africa. Prior to her work at the University, Rebecca worked as project manager for a volunteer and development organisation in Ghana and as special projects manager at Omega Schools Ghana. Rebecca is currently working with a chain of low cost private schools in Sierra Leone, with a focus on sustainability, literacy, experiential learning and entrepreneurship. She is also module co-ordinator for the MA International Development and Education placement module and post-PGCE overseas placement.
Steve is the Programme Leader for Secondary and Primary PGCE maths at Newcastle University and is an educational advisor to both government and schools. His research is concerned with schooling in the developing world and is focused on Tanzania and India. He is currently working with gifted and talented children in the slums of Dar Es Salaam, with a focus on mathematics teaching and learning. Steve is an advisor to the Russell Group A-Level Content Advisory Body (ALCAB) informing Ofqual of the views of Russell Group institutions on mathematical content. He is a member of the European Mathematical Society. Steve acts as external examiner at Newcastle College and Teesside University. He holds the Guinness World Record for the most children learning maths outside the classroom and he develops and manages large scale outside maths events. Articles by Steve have been featured in the New York Times and he is one of the editors and authors of “50 Visions of Mathematics” published by Oxford University Press and the “Handbook of International Development and Education” published by Edward Elgar. Steve has taught for 21 years in a range of educational establishments: Comprehensive, grammar, private, single sex, 11 to 18, 13 to 18, 4 to 18, sixth form and FE.
Ian Schagen is an Associate Member of Staff at the E.G. West Centre and is a former Head of Statistics at NFER. His working career spans over forty years and has mainly been concerned with the analysis of data relating to complex systems (educational, social and physical) and modelling such systems mathematically and statistically in order to gain a deeper understanding of them. From September 2011 until September 2012 Ian also worked as a volunteer with Omega Schools (Ghana), helping to set up an assessment data capture, analysis and feedback system.