I participated in the overseas training in Washington, D.C. for two weeks from March 7 to 20, 2015. The overall purpose of attending the training is to deepen the knowledge related to my dissertation research topic, which is “role of private financing and primary education sub-sector development in Uganda,” as well as to build/maintain my network in US through various types of activities: attending an international conference and conducting interview with front-line experts based in Washington, D.C.
During the first half of the training, I took part in the 59th Annual Conference of the Comparative & International Education Society (CIES), which was held at the Washington Hilton from March 8 to 13. I presented my paper titled “Ensuring Primary School Attendance in Uganda: Effects of Private Financing under the Universal Primary Education Policy” in the session titled “Equitable Access to Education: Public-Private School Options.” Besides, I attended several sessions to learn about cutting-edge researches and build network among top-class researchers and practitioners with similar interests. During the conference, it was also honor to join the reunion dinner organized by the Institute for International Studies in Education (IISE), University of Pittsburgh, where I served as a visiting student scholar in 2013; I could reconnect with many former colleagues in the University of Pittsburgh.
During the second half of the training, I visited some core institutions to conduct interview with the leading experts who are getting involved in the projects related to my research topic. First, I conducted informational interview with Ms. Oni R. Lusk-Stover, who is an Education Specialist in the World Bank Headquarters and is a team leader for the System Approach for Better Education Results (SABER)-Engaging the Private Sector program and manages the Partnership for Education Development. I could learn the analytical framework which her team is using and some findings from the ongoing case studies in sub-Sahara African countries. Second, I conducted interview with Mr. Fazle Rabbani, who is a Senior Country Operations Officer for Eritrea, Kenya, Lesotho, South Sudan, Uganda in Global Partnership for Education (GPE). It was helpful to gain useful information on the current situation of Uganda GPE Teacher and School Effectiveness Project, which is one of the biggest projects aiming at the primary education sub-sector development in Uganda.
Moreover, I learned a wide variety of things in the field of international education development, meeting with several leading researchers and practitioners based in Washington, D.C. I audited a class and attended an exchange meeting with the graduate students and alumnae in the George Washington University. At the World Bank Headquarters, I also joined the meeting with Dr. Harry Anthony Patrinos, a Manager at the education sector, and Dr. Luis Benveniste, a Lead Education Specialist. I could also learn a lot from the meeting with the Japanese experts, namely Dr. Tomomi Miyajima, Mr. Hiroshi Saeki, Dr. Shinya Takamatsu and Dr. Nobuyuki Tanaka. It was also honor to reconnect with former visiting professors of Kobe University, including Dr. Vinay Bhargava, Dr. Mark Ginsburgh, Dr. Eduardo Vélez Bustillo and Dr. Robert Prouty, and FHI 360 staffs with whom I worked during my internship in 2013. It was also nice to get an opportunity to learn national assessment activities by US Department of Education.
In conclusion, Overseas Training was very rewarding and productive. By presenting papers in the international conference, I could execute my dissertation by receiving useful comments. Besides, by conducting interview with leading experts in Washington, D.C., I could gain deep insights and precious information which are helpful to sharpen my study. Furthermore, I could create and maintain a precious network in US and develop a solid foundation for my future research and career.
My deepest gratitude goes to my academic advisor, Professor Keiichi Ogawa, for providing me with this precious opportunity. I would also like to express my sincere appreciation to the alumnae and alumni from Prof. Ogawa’s Seminar in Washington, D.C., namely Dr. Shinsaku Nomura, Dr. Mari Shojo, Dr. Nobuyuki Tanaka and Ms. Miho Nomura, for offering warm supports for us.