The MIT-Empowering the Teachers (MIT-ETT) program provides an intense, semester long teaching-focused engagement for selected cohorts of faculty members (ETT Fellows) from African universities. By introducing the ETT Fellows to cutting edge student-focused teaching methodologies the ETT strives to foster innovation in science and engineering education in tertiary academic institutions in Africa. Our vision for the students of our Fellows is to graduate ready for the demands of today’s job market, equipped with hands-on problem solving and critical thinking capabilities. NNPC Ltd. & TotalEnergies EP Nigeria are the corporate partners and sponsors of the program.
The approach to science and engineering education in African universities is yet to adopt a focus on problem solving, innovation and creativity. Furthermore standards in these tertiary institutions have retrogressed due to severe neglect and lack of investment. Curricular and assessment methods have not adopted practices that encourage critical thinking, open ended problem solving and creativity, rather they are still built around teacher-centered lecture rooms that focus on information acquisition, memorization and regurgitation at closed book examination. Consequently, these academic institutions have not produced science and engineering graduates needed by industry to add value.
The ETT program introduces innovation, creativity and real-world problem solving into science and engineering curricula in African universities by exposing the ETT fellows to MIT’s cutting edge teaching methodologies.
- Expose junior African professors to MIT’s advanced, problem-solving pedagogical methods
- Encourage the ETT fellows to become change-agents
- Allow the ETT fellows to expand their professional network, including MIT faculty with a deep interest in emerging economies.
In an attempt to address the problems articulated above, MIT established the MIT-Empowering the Teachers (MIT-ETT) Program lead by Professor Akintunde Ibitayo Akinwande (EECS). The program invites young, brilliant and upcoming African academics, who recently completed their doctoral degree, to spend an intensive and inclusive semester at MIT in a bid to understudy the mode (& dynamics) of curricula development and content delivery at MIT. The aim is to facilitate in African institutions improved teaching content development that is geared towards (1) students-centered content delivery (2) problem solving and (3) creativity. This amongst other things will result in the development new courses and the modification of existing curricula to ones that are geared towards critical thinking, open ended problem solving and hands-on design but also promote innovation and creativity. While at MIT, these African academics developed new course content for their home universities which are consistent with the objectives of developing these skills in their students.
During their semester at MIT, Fellows do the following:
- observe instruction in their own disciplines & subjects
- interact with MIT faculty teaching in their own disciplines & subjects
- develop courses based on problem-solving approach inspired by equivalent course at MIT
- discuss & explore curricular enrichment & reform through both formal and informal interaction with the MIT community
The ultimate goal is to reform their current curricular using new materials, approaches and methods that exemplify the best of MIT’s practices: problem-solving, student-centered, innovation and bringing knowledge to bear on the world’s greatest challenges.