As many university students and lecturers make the most of the last few weeks of the summer break, a group of academics are returning to the UK having experienced teaching students overseas.
With an education mission in aid of social enterprise, Professors Without Borders, Associate Professor Charlie Dove-Edwin and Assistant Professor in Psychology, Dr Mark Horne, both from Richmond, The American International University in London, joined several other lecturers in Freetown, Sierra Leone to teach two week-long programmes featuring courses in finance, criminology, psychology, law and communications with Sierra Leone’s Institution of Public Administration and Management (IPAM).
Professors Without Borders is an organisation which, by providing university lecturers and professors, aims to make first class education available for students in developing countries without the need to go abroad.
The organisation grew out of a conversation between three colleagues – all university lecturers – in a London cafe, and is now in its fourth year of running summer schools. Co-founder Tessy de Nassau, an alumni of Richmond, said, “We really want to enable really skilled, quality education for everyone. And that’s how it started.”
Charlie Dove-Edwin taught a course entitled Finance for Africa, which asked students to consider the economic challenges faced by Sierra Leone. Mark Horne’s course, Am I wrong? Decision Making Processes and Real-World Applications, focused on improving decision making by using statistical and psychological theory.
Charlie Dove-Edwin, who has taken part in the initiative for three years now said, “There’s a desire in Africa for education, they’re just curious to know more and the fact that someone’s come to Sierra Leone to teach them about other things, they get very interested in that.”
Mr Dove-Edwin also has a personal connection to Sierra Leone as his grandfather was educated in the country.
Students opt to take part in the summer schools, which are not part of their regular courses, he said.
This year, Professors Without Borders will be running schools in Sierra Leone, Uganda, Thailand, Senegal and India, with three to four people working in each school.
The organisation explains on their website, “Our ambition for Professors Without Borders is to improve teacher mobility around the world so that every student can experience a dedicated, professional and inspiring learning environment that will fire them up for their next stages in life.
“Education, for us, is not just about learning. It’s also about doing. We want to inspire our students to confidently engage with the world and contribute to making it a better place, starting with their immediate environment.”
Richmond has been supporting Professors Without Borders through different initiatives including professors working overseas, student internships and co-operation on research projects.