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Report: Professional Trip to the Dominican Republic

November 21 – 25, 2011

The ties between The MOFET Institute and the Dominican Republic were established at the initiative of the Ambassador, the Honorable Alexander de la Rosa, and by means of his mediation. The trip was commissioned by the President of the Dominican Republic and by the FUNGLODE organization – an important and central organization in the Dominical Republic that is involved in a range of educational, cultural, and research activities. FUNGLODE was responsible for organizing and hosting the trip.

Background

  • In March 2009, The MOFET Institute held a conference for the ambassadors and cultural attachés from the foreign embassies in Israel. Mr. Alexander de la Rosa, the Ambassador of the Dominican Republic, participated in the conference.
  • In March 2011, three teacher educators from the Dominican Republic participated in a study tour held by The MOFET Institute on the topic of Teacher education & Teaching and ICT (T&T and ICT). 
  • In parallel, representatives from The MOFET Institute’s International Channel (Dr. Sara Ziv and Ms. Michla Shachar) were invited to an official meeting with the President of the Dominican Republic in the framework of the Israeli Presidential Conference that was convened by the President of the State of Israel, Mr. Shimon Peres. The two representatives presented the Institute and its international activities to the Dominican president. 
  • As a result of the meeting, and at the request of the President of the Dominican Republic, a Memorandum of Understanding regarding cooperation between The MOFET Institute and the FUNGLODE organization was signed.
  • In accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding, and as the first stage toward commencing the cooperation, Dr. Sara Ziv and Ms. Michla Shachar were invited to go on a week-long professional visit to the Dominican Republic.

The visit

Aim:
To present the teacher education system in Israel and to examine the feasibility of establishing a center for the professional development of teacher educators according to The MOFET Institute’s unique model.

Program:

Meetings with senior policy makers

  • The President of the Dominican Republic and his senior staff members;
  • The Minister of Education and various key people in the teacher education system;
  • The Minister of Education for Higher Education. Following this meeting, the minister requested that the team of experts from MOFET build work programs for them concerning two most important topics:
    (1) Introducing the process of induction into the education system – how to do this gradually and correctly so that the entire system will adopt it;
    (2) Introducing a change into the education system from a point of view of continuity.
  • Representatives of the Senate who are members of the Education Committee.
Meetings with organizations and institutions
  • The directorate of INFOCAM – a government body of the Ministry of Education whose main goal is to award scholarships to teaching candidates, to refer them to universities, and to build a system of in-service courses for teachers;
  • The Vice Dean of the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD) – the largest public university in the country, consisting of six different faculties;
  • The members of the senior team of the Instituto Superior de Formación Docente Salome Ureña (ISFDOSU). This institution constitutes of six universities for teacher education that are spread throughout the Dominican Republic. Furthermore, it is the body that supervises the universities, and its staff of lecturers teaches in them. In this institution, Dr. Sara Ziv was invited to deliver a lecture to some 300 listeners (both local and from three distant universities for teacher education).
Lectures and workshops
  • “Teacher education in Israel and The MOFET Institute and its activities as a center for teacher educators’ professional development” – the keynote lecture delivered by Dr. Sara Ziv, Head of The MOFET Institute’s International Channel. The lecture took place at FUNGLODE in front of a large group of senior educators, including the Minister of Education for Higher Education and the former Minister of Education.
  • “The perception of the role of teacher educators” and “Introducing change into the education system: Chances and difficulties” – two workshops directed by Ms. Michla Shachar, coordinator of the International Channel’s Department for Spanish-speaking Countries. The workshops took place at FUNGLODE, with the participation of lecturers in teacher education from all over the country.

In addition to the above, the MOFET representatives were invited to an interview on a local morning TV show.

 

Conclusion and recommendations

In light of the various discussions, and in accordance with the request of the hosts, concluding discussions were held with the FUNGLODE management, and recommendations for commencing the cooperation were made as follows:

  • To submit plans in accordance with the request of the Minister of Education for Higher Education;
  • To examine the possibility of cooperation among three countries on the topic of teacher education for physical education, accompanied and advised by The MOFET Institute;
  • To prepare for the establishment of a center for teacher educators’ professional development and to define the partners’ areas of responsibility.

At the moment, we are facing a great deal of work; we are at the stage of preparing the preliminary plan of action with which we hope to get the ball rolling in the near future. We have no doubt that the quality of teacher education exerts a direct effect on the quality of learning and teaching in the schools, and thus we see how important an activity of this type is for the benefit of education systems and teacher education throughout the world, as well as for a more promising society and future.