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 areas 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.