Through the support of Professor Keiichi Ogawa (my academic advisor), I got an opportunity to conduct my international field study from March 7th to April 5th 2013, Washington DC, USA....
During the summer I conducted internship in Malawifrom July 15th to October 3rd, 2014 and it involved two institutions which are actively engaged in the development of education in Malawi. The first institution was the University of Malawi, where I was attached to the Center of Education Research and Training (CERT) and my supervisor was Ms. Dorothy Nampota, the Director of CERT. The second institution was the Ministry of Education (MoE)in Malawi and my supervisor was Dr. Joseph Chimombo, the Director of Basic Education. This was my second time to conduct internship in Malawi having interned there during 2013 summer with the same institution, CERT. I set 3 objectives of this internship, 1.To gain educational dataset from related institutions, 2.To observe schools in rural area and compare with schools in urban area which I observed last summer, and 3. To interview with policy makers at primary school level and primary school teachers.
The CERT is affiliated to the University of Malawi and it carries out research and evaluation using both qualitative and quantitative methods. The center also carries out consultancy work for the Government, donor agencies, such as USAID and DFID, and related institutions. I Interned with CERT from July 15 to August 2 and during the first week I accompanied a project team on progression evaluation at primary schools in Machinga district. The project is called “Child Friendly Schooling” that CERT and UNICEF started it in order to improve internal efficiencies at primary level. We observed 2 schools in a day in rural area for three days and saw some non-full primary schools in remote area. This was a rewarding experience which I was not able to achieve last year. It was great opportunity for me to observe school facilities, surrounding area, pupils and my research interests, teachers. I was able to talk with a head teacher and a teacher about their working condition and get some idea for my interview in October. Starting from the second week, I reviewed existing literature and collected data related to my academic research area, from the University of Malawi, National Statistic Office (NSO) and related organization and institution in Zomba district where CERT is located.
From August 4th, I moved to capital city, Lilongwe and continued with my internship in the Ministry of Education under the supervision of Dr. Joseph Chimombo, a Director of Basic Education. I visited several departments which are in charge of primary school teacher issues. They kindly shared the latest policy papers, current problems and future prospects. I attended an international education conference from August 20th to 22nd, where I gained knowledge regarding various education issues such as multi-language education and inclusive education in Malawi. My experiences and life in Lilongwe lasted for about a month and was very informative and fruitful.
After I returned from the Ministry of Education, I designed my questionnaire with support and guidance from Dr. Dorothy Nampota. Since she was supervisor when I interned in CERT during the summer of 2013, she was familiar with my research interests thus enabling her and I to develop my questionnaire smoothly and make it more detailed. Dr. Nampota kindly arranged a field research opportunity in Mulanje district for a week, so I visited 8 schools and interviewed 8 teachers who were in charge of grade 8 in the last academic year. Even though I had some difficulties with my interview skills, I was able to obtain deep and valuable information from each interview. I also visited Malawi Institute of Education (MIE) in Domasi and interviewed with textbook designers and Director of Research and Evaluation.
Lastly, I would like to express my gratitude to my academic supervisor Prof. Ogawa, for giving me with this precious opportunity. I wish to say thanks to Dr. Dorothy Nampota and Dr. Joseph Chimombo for accepting me as an intern, for supervising me and for the warmest supports. I also appreciate the help and support I received from researchers at CERT, all the staffs at MoE and my dear colleague Ms. Jungmi Park.