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Doctoral students assist UNESCO's Teacher Task Force in Cambodia

Students with classLamar University students have recently returned from Siem Reap Cambodia where they participated in the 9th annual UNESCO Policy Forum of the International Task Force on Teachers.

UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, an agency charged with instituting and administering programs for cooperative, coordinated action by member states in education, science, and the arts.

LU students Kelly Grogan and Jessica Hale, both of the Apple Distinguished Educator cohort of the Doctorate in Education Leadership program, and project coordinator, George Saltsman, research assistant professor in Education Leadership provided advising and assistance in constructing a social media platform, live streaming of the forum, and launching a platform for online dialogue and discussion regarding international policy creation. Representatives attended the December 3-7 forum from 75 countries and numerous international aid organizations.

Team with Dr. Hang Chuong Naron“I’m so proud of the work our students did in helping bring awareness to such an important event,” Saltsman said. “Their work resulted in more than 100,000 viewers of conference video activities and an overall impact on social media of just under 500,000 participants.  The leadership our students provided ensured the task force’s important message on the need to improve the quality and status of teachers globally is being heard.”

“Providing hands-on experience through participation in global education events such as this is what makes the global focus of the Lamar University Doctorate in Education Leadership unique,” said Kaye Shelton, associate professor of Education Leadership and director of the Doctorate in Education Leadership program. “The best way to prepare future global leaders is have them collaborate within the global education community.”

Organized under the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Lamar University students also met with His Excellency, Hang Chuong Naron, Minister of Education, Youth and Sport and Tae Sok, director of Information Technology for the ministry.

Team visiting Angkor Wat“Our goal is to prepare students to work in the highest levels of the global education community” said Robert Spina, dean of LU’s College of Education and Human Development. “Having our students working with senior leadership such as Minister Naron is truly an honor.”

Upon the conclusion of the policy dialogue forum, the group visited a rural school in Svay Chek, Cambodia and spoke with the teachers involved a teacher training program run by international aid organization See Beyond Borders, winner of the UNESCO Hamdan bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Prize for Outstanding Practice and Performance in Enhancing the Effectiveness of Teachers. The LU group also  visited the Angkor Wat temple complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This isn’t the first time Lamar University students contributed meaningfully to assist in improving the quality of teachers in the Kingdom of Cambodia, Saltsman said. Doctoral students in Education Leadership Kelly Grogan, Jessica Hale, and Gilbert Ho, under the guidance of Diane Mason, associate professor of Education Leadership, constructed a plan for the professional learning success of Cambodian teachers that was presented to Volunteer Services Overseas, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) working in Cambodia.