|Employer:||Tertiary Education Commission|
|Occupation:||Acting Head of Distance Education and Open Learning|
A Fulbrighter and Commonwealth UK Scholar, I hold a Doctorate in Education from the University of South Australia, a Master of Education (Adult Education) from Penn State University, USA, a Master of Arts (Education and International Development) from the Institute of Education, University of London, UK, a Bachelor of Arts (English, Hons) from Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi, India and a Diploma (Journalism) from Alliance Française.
Having studied in countries ranging from Mauritius, India, USA, Canada to UK and Australia, I have first-hand experience as a student and as an educational practitioner regarding the functionalities of education systems of various countries. As an educational practitioner, I am also keenly aware of existing opportunities and shortcomings in the above systems where I have studied in diverse modes, including, face to face, classical as well as electronic distance education arrangements including Angel, WebCT, and SKYPE among others. This gives me quite a unique perspective on realities that characterise education as a basic requirement for personal and national development, its channels of distribution as well as its quality/costs/benefits implications.
A Reviewer on the Editorial Committee of the International Review of Research on Open and Distance Learning, Athabasca University, Canada and the Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, I have published several aspects of my research in peer-reviewed journals as well as conference proceedings and other international repositories, including the Commonwealth of Learning and the Association for the Development of Education in Africa. My research in Education in general has touched diverse issues related to Education and Gender, Online Education, Environmental Literacy and Poverty Reduction. I am also a member of ADEA’s task force on the integration of ICT in Education in Africa.
I reckon a blend of 17 years of research and practical experience in all dimensions of education at technical and senior management levels respectively. I have worked as Advisor on Environmental Education and Policy Matters to the Minister of Environment and National Development Unit (2008-2010).
I work at the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) as Ag Head of Distance Education and Open Learning. The TEC is the Mauritian apex agency for higher education policy development and funding. It provides scholarships and grants to MPhil/PhD students, post-doctoral fellowships (undertaken at the University of Mauritius and University of Technology) as well as other researchers. The TEC is also part of the High Powered Committee which grants scholarships to undergraduate and postgraduate students applying for scholarships in donor countries as well as locally. As such I am familiar with processes leading to the grant of scholarships and bursaries. At the international level, through my involvement as Interim Coordinator of the Working Group on Distance Education and Open Learning of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa, I have acquired relevant experience with regard to lobbying for funding and funding research projects undertaken by researchers over the sub-Saharan Africa. I am currently developing a National Credit System Framework taking into consideration cross-border concerns. Simultaneously, I also offer consultancy services in my area of specialization, the Systems Approach to Sustainable Educational Policy Development. I have proven experience in leading and supervising technical teams at policy level through needs analysis, program development and implementation stages.
My doctoral research has led to the development of an innovative evidence- based policy development model for education. This framework is gaining increasing recognition and my consultancy services entail essentially seeking practical cross-sectoral and transversal applications of this model/framework. In the past I have offered consultancy services to a range of stakeholders including the UNDP with regard to the Sustainable Integrated Development Plan for Rodrigues (for KPMG) as well as the French Réseau Africain pour la Formation a Distance (RESAFAD) on the status of distance education in Anglophone and Francophone Africa (2006) and more recently the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (AfDB/ADEA) with regard to extending the earlier developed Environmental Literacy Framework and Program and providing a capacity building module such that this program can be implemented across Africa.
I have mastery about distance education issues over the Anglophone and Francophone sub-Saharan Africa. As the Interim Coordinator, I coordinated priorities enunciated by Ministers/ Ministries with donor agencies’ strategic objectives and recruited consultants from different countries to work on agreed projects as established by the ADEA mandate. My involvement was especially in, but not limited to, the provision of technical support to strategies and implementation of academic and policy initiatives of the ADEA involving governments, institutions, and programs over Sub-Saharan Africa. I maintained and updated Technical Progress Reports and distance education databases as part of my project management responsibilities. I ensured that projects achieved agreed performance and quality standards within assigned budgets. I also carried out follow-up and close monitoring of projects that were agreed upon.
Expertise: Systems Approach to Educational Policy Development, Program Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Adult Education; Distance Education; Instructional Design and Media; Workforce Literacy; Quality Assurance in Education; Gender; Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD); International Development; Community-Based Development; Environmental Literacy Program Development, Poverty-Reduction, Sustainable Consumption and Development.
A reflexive practitioner, during my tenure as Advisor on Environmental Education and Policy Matters to the Mauritian Minister of Environment (2008-2010), I identified policy gaps that required capacity building in order to make Environmental Education sustainable. I realized that traditional pedagogies lacked effectiveness for all participants including policy makers, trainers, fieldworkers, teachers (in schools) and eventually students. Drawing on my position as a policy maker and interacting with high level cadres, I had the appropriate ingredients to construct a policy development framework that could help transform negative attitudes towards the environment into positive ones. Essentially, my approach is inclusive with all stakeholders being taken at par with one another.
Because conventional pedagogies were so sluggish, I chose critical pedagogies with transformative potential. I carried out a needs analysis on the basis of which I identified policy deficits. I subsequently developed and implemented the Literacy Program for a range of actors and stakeholders. I supervised and trained technical staff on how to transform environmental information into educational materials. I was involved in writing Cabinet Papers and also in the National School Endemic Gardens and the Eco-Village Projects at policy level from the perspective of Environmental Literacy. Increasingly I found that the proposed framework (Gokool-Ramdoo, 2008; 2009) had a significant success potential and a wide scope for applications.
Eventually, this framework has gained the interest of the scholarly community, especially because it rested on distance education methodologies and had potentially cross-sectoral and transversal applications. Indeed using the same framework, at the request of the Vice-Prime Minister and Minister for Social Integration and Economic Empowerment, I have constructed a Poverty Reduction Strategic Plan after carrying out field research and needs analysis grounded in the “Culture of Poverty” approach.
The Environmental Literacy Project I evolved for the Mauritian Minister of Environment also gained the attention of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa, as did my signature model for policy development. In 2011, the ADEA/AfDB funded further research and consultancy on the issue of Environmental Literacy and approved the development of a capacity building module with the Mauritius Institute of Education as implementing agency.
This resulted in the development of a comprehensive 150-hour capacity building module on the topic Systemic Approach to Environmental Literacy- Towards a sustainable Africa. The module, which was developed with two colleagues, Dr R. Bholah and Dr. A. Ramjaun respectively, included an Environmental Literacy Framework and a capacity building module to be integrated in the Teacher Training Program of the Mauritius Institute of Education (2011). It is expected that this will be implemented by 2012. This project was developed in the context of the Triennale on Education and Training in Africa (Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, 12-17 Feb, 2012) on the theme Promoting critical knowledge, skills and qualifications for sustainable development in Africa: How to design and implement an effective response through education and training systems, focusing on the sub-theme: Common core skills for lifelong learning and sustainable development in Africa.
On the strength of this framework, I am also engaged in the provision of technical advice to Her Excellency, Mrs. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka,the ex-Deputy President of South Africa and President of the Umlambo Educational Foundation, South Africa, on the scope of using m-learning (mobile learning) in South Africa.
Living and working in a multi-cultural context, I have developed strong interpersonal skills. I deal with an equally diverse range of public and private partners. I relate well with staff at all levels. I have dealt with partners and stakeholder who are active in the Parliament as Ministers, with high cadres including Permanent Secretaries, technical cadres of Ministries or institutions with which I have developed projects. I have a proven track record of working unsupervised in a pressured environment involving diplomatic issues related to education policy makers in developing programs, singly and/or in teams. I am trilingual (in English, French and Hindi) with strong written and oral communication skills; a logical thinker, with excellent analytical skills; and able to work equally well within a diverse, multi-cultural team as I am under my own initiative. As my experience demonstrates, I have the confidence, experience, and expertise to operate efficiently in an international environment.
Adult Education Programs Developed Specializing also in adult education, I have applied my expertise in Instructional Designing through my work at the Mauritius College of the Air. Inspired from adult education theories, I have devised, managed and developed instructional materials for distance education purposes using a range of media for diverse target groups, including: 1. The Certificate in Education for pre-primary Teachers, Mauritius Institute of Education/UNICEF/Mauritius College of the Air (2001-2002); 2. The Certificate course on Empowering Women through Self-Help Groups. Course adaptation, development and managing local support services of Indira Gandhi National Open University – developed course (2000-2001) for the Mauritius College of the Air and the Mauritian Ministry of Women, Family Welfare and Child Development in line with national development concerns; 3. Getting in Touch – 3, A Competency – based English course for General Public inspired from the Australian Certificate of Spoken and Written English (CSWE), Mauritius College of the Air (in-house course development) (1999-2000) 4. Basic English Course for Mauritius Telecom Tradesmen for the Mauritius Telecom (a private company) (1996-1997)
The above distance education programs employed various devices, face to face sessions, and printed materials for independent learning.
Talk with Sushita
A Fulbrighter and Commonwealth UK Scholar, Dr. Sushita Gokool-Ramdoo holds a Professional Doctorate in Education from the University of South Australia (Educational Policy Development and Quality Assurance), an M.Ed (Adult Education) from Penn State University, USA, an M.A (Education and International Development) from the Institute of Education, University of London and a B.A Honors (English) from Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University. She has been Advisor on Environmental Education and Policy Matters to the Minister of Environment and National Development Unit and is currently working as Ag Head of Distance Education and Open Learning at the Tertiary Education Commission, Mauritius. She has also contributed to the ADEA as Interim Coordinator of the Working Group on Distance Education and Open Learning (ADEA/WGDEOL). A Reviewer on the Editorial Committee of the International Review of Research on Open and Distance Learning, Athabasca University, Canada and the Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, her expertise lies in the Systems Approach to Sustainable Educational Policy Development. Her research interests are in Environmental Literacy, Health Literacy, Program Planning, Adult Education, Distance Education, Quality Assurance in Education, Gender, International Development, Community-Based Development, Poverty-Reduction
I am concerned about the quality of material that is considered as OER and from a policy making perspective would be interested in knowing how is quality assured. How do we make sure that OERs carry sound pedagogical inputs and that learning will be meaningful? How do we recommend the use of OERs at policy level?
I'm interested in:
- Understanding the quality of learning and teaching in online distance education; Extending applications of the Transactional Distance Theory to policy making; capacity building for policy makers and practitioners of distance education; distance education as part of the education for sustainable development strategy
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