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by NCC Education

ISSUE 3 • 2019

Connected education



Lucy Crehan ➊ How language shapes different social realities ➋ A FABulous approach to championing the industry ➌ The mother tongue: why teachers should take a local approach ➍ Before the catastrophes: a contingency plan for natural disasters ➎ How

screencasting can help your students perform better and reduce anxiety and much more…





What Do the World's Education Superpowers do differently?



Contents From the Editor | Meet the Team, out and about

A gallery of our teams meeting our Accredited partner Centres and attending events to promote our brand this year.

press release

news from our partner university the University of Central Lancashire

"Build A PC" Project conducted by our Accredited Partner Centre Inspiro Institute in Myanmar Royal Reception for Ephraim and his research

4 5 6 13


The mother tongue: why teachers should take a local approach

7 10 14 16

Before the catastrophes The contingency plans for natural disasters



How language shapes different social realities Cyber Safety: The cat and mouse game between attack and defense A fabulous approach to championing the industry

How screencasting can help your students perform better and reduce anxiety


International Women's Day Recognition for esteemed educator and psychologist


What to do after your bachelor's degree, 21 Announcements, 24 Student Success Story: Sitah Lango, 25 Interview with Alumni - Adrian Higdon, 28 Testimonial, 35

From the


Meet the team

Welcome to the third edition of CONNECTED, our magazine for our Accredited Partner Centres, students, alumni and everyone in the NCC Education global network. This issue has been such a delight for the team to produce, with reaching out to alumni and discovering their journeys, to speaking with some interesting people to say the least! Including: Our cover story is an in-depth interview with Education Explorer Lucy Crehan, who discusses her best-selling book Cleverlands, what Sir Michael Barber describes as ‘A major breakthrough’ in educational research.

Kerry is our

Marketing Manager and oversees the globally dispersed marketing function at our Head Office in Manchester, UK. She has a passion for anything digital and loves creating content for the web and magazines. She has a background in journalism, so can often be found looking for stories and likes to interview interesting people. In her spare time, Kerry likes travelling, reading, watching films and box-sets and taking part in charity events.

Lucy travelled around the world’s ‘top performing’ education systems and designed her book based on research, personal memoir and challenging the status quo of education. Ultimately, she poses the question, ‘What can we learn from these countries?’ One of our features looks at Cyber Security, the skills gaps and the increase of cyber threats and the strategies used in prevention, written with experts from Secarma in the UK; Sean Atkinson and Thomas Ballin. We speak to Tom Berwick from FAB, the Federation of Awarding Bodies, who tells us about his role as CEO and vision for the future of awarding bodies in the UK and Dr. Seema PhD who is a global educator and psychologist tells us about starting her career at 45. Alfred Irshaid from the London College of United Knowledge talks to us about his research journal and how language shapes social realities. And, we have another language piece contributed by Daniela Prataviera from Leeds Language Academy looking at the potentials for screencasting students., and last but most certainly, not least; Dean Roberts from Swan Education in Thailand discusses how the demand for English as a second language is at an all-time high. We are always looking for interesting stories to publish and want to hear from you! Wishing you a prosperous time ahead! For all enquiries, please get in touch with me directly

Kerry Voellner Connected issue three • TWOZERO1NINE / 3

CHARLOTTE HEYN Charlotte is the Marketing Co-ordinator of NCC Education, located in Cape Town, South Africa. Charlotte manages the marketing and business development activities across Africa, the Middle East and India. With a passion for all things visual, she can often be found with a camera in hand, taking photographs and creating original content for our social media channels. Charlotte is currently completing her master’s degree through the University of Leicester in the UK. In her spare time, Charlotte enjoys hiking, reading, travelling both locally and abroad.

YVONNE KOK Yvonne is our Senior Graphic Designer, based in Singapore. She has over 23 years' working experience. Yvonne executes all the NCC Education visuals used in our marketing collateral. In her spare time, she likes to be in touch with naure, hiking, fun runs and an active volunteer in an animal sanctuary in looking after abandoned cats and dogs.

LYDIA WANG Lydia is the sub-editor of the magazine and our Marketing Co-ordinator for East Asia and South East Asia. Apart from providing marketing support for our partner centres, she also translates marketing materials between English and Mandarin. She is always on the quest for new things to try and new scenery to marvel at. She loves anything related to languages and writing and is always looking for a chance to realise such passion.

outandabout General Manager Allan Norton and Director of Qualifications and Academic Delivery Esther Chesterman visiting the University of Greenwich.

Regional Director Andrew Rennie made a brief visit to the new TMUC Campus.

A visit from the University of Greenwich to our head office in Manchester.

Academic Development manager Bev O'Donovan with Cyber Academy lecturers and staff in Zambia.

Esther Chesterman and Allan Norton at the GGXP stand at SCOGA, Singapore, Sept. 2018

Head of Quality Assurance Olivia Bussey and Bev O'Donovan visited CMAS with Prof Mohammed and Prof Habib.

Attending the IP Expo event in Manchester. The event showcases brand new exclusive content about the latest developments in IT.

Allan Norton, Roger Chetty and James Whittaker visiting Softwarica College Of IT & E-Commerce in Nepal.

Business Development Manager Chen Yu at the Nanjing Hankai Academy for the final round of the Digi competition.

Andrew Rennie, visiting Leeds Language Academy in the UK.

Esther Chesterman and Partnerships Manager Janette Lister at Oxford Brookes University.

Esther Chesterman speaking at the STC Higher Education graduation in Malta. STC has been a partner of NCC Education for over 20 years.

Andrew Rennie with TMUC Rawalpindi, the first IFD centre in Pakistan.

At the Federation of Awarding Bodies (FAB) event in Leicester to discuss the future of UK qualifications and assessment.

Andrew Rennie and Dr Qureshi and Hareem Arif from the Institute of Career Development (ICD) Lahore.

Visiting the University of Central Lancashire (UClan) in Preston.

Connected issue three • TWOZERO1NINE / 4

press release


NCC Education Launches

Level 7 Diploma in Business Management NCC Education have launched a new Level 7 Diploma in Business Management qualification, which is set to replace the previous Level 7 offerings from December 2018. The new qualification introduces contemporary management theory and practice to graduates or experienced managers wishing to develop their careers. Each unit contains a comprehensive collection of teaching and learning materials developed by UK academics. This includes over 200 hours of recorded lectures, 96 sets of complete lecture notes and presentations and over 400 hours of guided study exercises for students.

TAKE NOTE To complete the NCC Education Level 7 Diploma in Business Management, students must successfully pass six of the following eight units: • Information Systems and Knowledge Management • International Marketing Strategy

• Corporate Finance and Decision Making • Leadership, People and Change

• Digital Marketing and Communications

Each 20-credit unit can also be studied as a standalone unit, where students will attain a Level 7 Unit Certificate upon successful completion. After completing the Level 7 Diploma, students can then go on to study a full Masters’ degree in Business Administration at one of our partner universities; the University of Worcester or the University of Plymouth. Head of NCC Education Product Development Darrell McGivern says: The new L7DBM was launched in response to a growing need to provide an academic programme at level 7 that could enable students to progress to a Master’s in Business Administration, but also to provide them with relevant occupation skills that are valued by employers. “Many of our Level 7 students are employed fulltime and hold management positions, so we needed to create a qualification that could upskill them in their everyday working lives and provide them with the necessary academic challenge. “I’m pleased to say that we accomplished both goals! For more information about this qualification, please visit: qualification/level7-diploma-businessmanagement-l7dbm/

UCLan recognised in five categories of the Times Higher Education Awards 2018 The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has been recognised in a record-breaking five categories of the 2018 Times Higher Education (THE) Awards. Widely regarded as the Oscars of the higher education sector, this year's shortlist has seen UCLan nominated for the highest number of entries in its history. The categories are: • • • •

International Collaboration of the Year Outstanding Entrepreneurial University Excellence and Innovation in the Arts Most Innovative Contribution to BusinessUniversity Collaboration • Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community Joel Arber, Pro Vice-Chancellor (External Relations), said: "It's a fantastic achievement for us to have been shortlisted for five awards, that's a record for us and one we're all delighted with. “The wide range of shortlisted categories is further proof of our aim to grow a vibrant community of academic innovators and maximise our positive social, environmental and economic impact locally, nationally and globally." John Gill, Editor of the Times Higher Education, added: "Times Higher Education is extremely proud to host these awards once again. In yet another record year for entries, and with over 70 institutions represented on the shortlist, it's a genuine privilege for the Times Higher Education team and our judges to read through these many and varied tales of excellence from all corners of the UK.

It's a significant achievement to make this shortlist.

• Entrepreneurship and Innovation

• Strategic Management • Project Management

Connected issue three • TWOZERO1NINE / 5

press release


Build a PC Project This is a project where students at Inspiro Institute build a PC from scratch. For this project, students act as technicians to build a PC for clients. They are given a purpose such as for office use or graphic design and a budget.

What do students have to do during the project? Students are to come up with the concept for a PC and hardware specifications. Next stage is to work out compatibility and find out the actual cost for each parts. After that, students have to do purchasing base on their specified budget. What happens once they have made their purchases? The next step is for students to build an actual PC with the equipment they purchased. Final stage is testing the PC and installing the software according to user requirements. For them to call it a successful project, the PC, Windows and all the software must work without errors.

What challenges do the students face? Students are not allowed to use any parts from the test lab. This project aims enable students to work out the correct configurations according to user requirement. What additional skills did they learn? 'They also learnt about the market and the latest computer hardware available. They also have worked under a tight budget. And finally...

This was a fun and educational project. The great news is, they managed to build a PC that works under a budget!

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language shapes different social realities

A unique ‘applied language’ approach to academia

Language shapes our everyday existence and it’s no secret that technology is changing how we communicate. To be an effective communicator in today’s ever-evolving world, it is essential we become more technologically-savvy. However, one topic that may often get overlooked, yet which is inherent in developing academics of the future, is language and how it can shape ‘different social realities’.

Kerry Voellner and Lydia Wang spent time with Alfred Irshaid, Head of International Operations at the London College of United Knowledge in Kuwait to find out more about the launch of their recent academic journal, the International Journal of Applied Language and Cultural Studies. What do you think this journal brings to the world of academia and what was its initial purpose? The purpose of this journal is to shed light on the importance of language and culture and how closely they are connected. It also aims to show language teachers that they need to be able to handle the culture of the language they teach.

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Launching the journal is also part of our global mission, which is realising our ‘global social responsibilities’. This is a new concept that the LCUK has adopted; we want to serve the global community rather than just the local. By this publication, the LCUK aims to bring together different institutions and get them to open to each other – to collaborate. In the meantime,

we hope to open diverse cultures to each other.

You’ll notice that the editorial board is composed of members from various countries and thus cultures – parts of Europe, North and South America and the Middle East. And they are all scholars specialising in languages and culture. This journal is one of the products we created for this purpose, alongside the ‘Global Teacher Camp’. It will also pave the way for the camp, which aims to introduce language (especially English) teachers to cultures that are new to them. After the cultural exploration, they can then write research papers for the journal to publish.


The content of this journal is based on real-life experiences, rather than typical academic theories, which are often dull and uninteresting. We plan to launch our first Global Teacher Camp in Jordan, July 2019. Both the Prince of Jordan and Duke of Edinburgh will be supporting the initiative. We are currently recruiting volunteers for the teacher camp. These volunteers will be teaching English in top universities and NGOs in Jordan; in the meantime, they will also learn from teacher trainers who will assess their classes and provide feedback for them to improve their methodology. Participants of the Global Teacher Camp will also learn about the Middle Eastern culture and they will receive Arabic lessons after their English classes.

Through this, we hope to realise our belief; language and culture are closely connected.

So, having this firsthand account is very valuable as they can resonate with people more. This could be the ‘go-to-guidleine’ for aspiring teachers? Exactly. It’s especially important to expand the global understanding of different cultures of language teachers. They need to realise that we live in a global community now. In the Global Teacher Camp, all their cultural presumptions will be eliminated because they stop the teachers from learning about a new culture. The camp targets graduates and aspiring teachers who would like to explore the world and expand their experience. At the end of the camp, they will have the opportunity to stay and teach in Jordan. And if any student would like to continue to study abroad and travel to experience the cultures after taking the lessons during the camp, there will also be options with universities or language schools for them. It will be like an academia expo in a way.

How did you source your writers? These scholars have already been working with each other on different projects. We all agreed that this journal is an important platform for sharing the findings of our research in languages and culture.

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How long did the planning and production of this journal take? The idea came about in April 2018. We wanted it to be a magazine called ‘United Knowledge Gazette’. But, then we decided it wasn’t an appropriate channel for our academic findings; it had to be upgraded. In May, we changed it to a journal. Afterwards, we started the forming of the Board of Editors. From there it took us two months to communicate and work out the mission and scope of the publication, as well as how we were going to operate. After that, we started to promote the journal; we reached out to our partner universities around the world about the journal and received 11 research papers. Then in October, we went into the production and design of the publication. We believe in taking time with the design of our products, so we give value to them. I think the design of your product shows the value of your brand. We are in the process of establishing LCUK Press to publish books for school curriculums from KG1 to grade 12. We have a big team of authors from different fields and designers working on it, and we plan to release the category of 800 titles in January 2019.


Can you explain the phrase seen in the briefing of the journal ‘how language shapes social realities’ I believe that a language changes social reality by adopting new vocabulary and concepts to the language. For instance, when Croatia gained its independence from Yugoslavia back in the 90s, it wanted to change its social reality by creating a new social identity. The first tool they used was the language. The Croatian wanted to dissolve the similarity in their language and that of Serbia, so they changed their vocabulary and the way they named things. Eventually they managed to separate themselves from a similar culture by adjusting their language.

Would you say that it also applies to the structure within a society (among different social status groups)? Yes. Even within one society, people with different backgrounds use different languages. How people speak reflects how they identify themselves. Especially in a country that’s founded on caste, language is used as a tool to classify a person. Saying that, this is common around the world. In Russia, for example, you’d find conservative people not wanting to be seen as uneducated or poor; they would then be careful in using the correct vocabulary and phrases.

What inspired the journal in the first place? Whenever we met a teacher who had never taught outside of their native country, we noticed that they tended to detach language from the culture, especially with English teaching. They taught English as if they were teaching mathematics; it was all about the formula of the grammar and reciting vocabulary etc.

But culture is the soul of a language. They were also surprised to find cultural study in our foundation year curriculum because this was never something that they were taught at school; they only learned to deal with subjects within their own culture. That’s why we want language teachers to know that culture is a very important component when they teach a language, and they must be aware of it. We went through a lot of research papers of this topic and found that they didn’t consider non-native teachers. So, we set this journal to target non-native teachers to address this issue.

the problem with being confined to local cultures. And they have a deep understanding of the need to expose local communities to different cultures. That’s why in the teacher camp every native teacher will be accompanied by a non-native teacher so the latter can observe how the former incorporate the culture in their teaching. What’s the biggest challenge in putting this journal together? Being in different time zones is the first challenge.

Now that the journal is underway, what still motivates you to carry on inspiring others? Enthusiasm from non-native teachers motivates me. They are all glad to see that finally there is a platform to represent their needs. They are happy that this could be a guideline for improving their teaching. We’re also much encouraged by the welcoming and positive feedback from institutions when they learn about the content and vision of the journal.

Another challenge was to encourage scholars to write about this topic because this is not a well-established field of study. Also, some of the researchers have restrictions for traveling; they need visa or certain documents to enter other countries, so they need assistance from someone with experience in that culture. And as a researcher, one needs to ‘feel’ it, rather than just learning about it. Sponsoring researchers is also a challenge in the financial aspect.

So, the diversity in the journal is pretty much applicable around the world, too? Yes, because the board members all work with different cultures. They know Connected issue three • TWOZERO1NINE / 9

This is like an open source for any researcher to share their findings and personal experiences. Moreover, receiving many requests to take part in this journal and to subscribe to it is certainly a big motivation also. Being free, this journal can be accessed by many with an interest. This is an embodiment of the CSR spirit of ‘giving back’. It aims to genuinely help people instead of making profit. The scale of the impact this journal could have may be tremendous ■

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Cyber 001100001110000110 Safety





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is, because it’s become an Thomas: “Over the integral part of last decade we’ve seen everyone’s lives, it’s words like ‘cyber’ and 0000100101010100011110000111000011010101000011 comprehending the ‘smart’ be battened onto “The task may sound like true extent of its Straightforward right? everything from warfare a behemoth undertaking, Well not exactly, in to refrigerators. Their but it doesn’t take more impact on people, fact Cyber Security is a versatility makes it difficult than keeping a weatherbusinesses, and concept more complicated to give an exact definition, eye on the news to countries alike


and processes designed to protect systems and critical networks from cyberattacks are encapsulated in one term, Cyber Security.

Cyber Attack Prevention!

consequences from the everyday norms of what cyber security now means is crucial.



to explain, as our Editor Kerry Voellner found out when she went along to Secarma Limited in Manchester; where she had the opportunity to ask the experts themselves about Cyber Security, it’s seriousness, flaws and prevention strategies for small and large businesses alike.

but it’s clear that what they describe is connectivity.

appreciate that the threat is real, breaches do happen, and cyber security is at the forefront of protecting a company’s interests.”

00110000111000011010101 001100001110000110101010 “We now live in an age where our phone is our wallet, our watch tracks our location, our car drives itself, and our TV knows which movies we like.

In 2017, a global cyberattack named WannaCry targeted computers running the Microsoft “This means that we Windows Operating live in a world where System in 150 countries a company losing the and affected more than 01010100001110001010101000000000000000001100001000010010101000 Director of Security internet for minutes can 200,000 computers by Assurance (Commercial) cost thousands, a teenager hackers demanding Sean Atkinson and Security in their bedroom can random payments. Consultant (Red Team) pose as much of a threat Thomas Ballin delve into as a nation state, and the Damages incurred the evolving world of cyber phrase “cyber security” has worldwide totalled security to explain in-depth spawned a multi-billionmillions to billions of pound industry.” dollars. The attack resulted




0000100101010100011110000111000011010101000011 Connected issue three • TWOZERO1NINE / 10

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“Over time these will be in the cost to the National has been forced to evolve “One thing that has always Health Service in the UK to include gaining access to adopted and received more stuck in my mind is what a being around £92 million, computer networks to copy readily by organisations, less-technical friend once 00000000000001100001000010010101000110000000111010101010000000101011 but in the meantime, it is as 19,000 appointments out files as well. pointed out; the responsibility of the were cancelled. And, cybersecurity sector to in just a week, 1 per cent Predicting what attacks Any attack I evangelise best practices. of all NHS care was are yet to come is almost can think of will be disrupted. impossible, Thomas adds: Whilst trying to keep possible within the “Technology is evolving businesses safe, “It’s Sean says: “There has been at a pace much faster than next five years, and important to first a clear increase in reports most organisations can in most cases has establish what is and of people falling victim to adapt, and threats are probably already what is not considered cyber-crimes over the last becoming increasingly been done a threat” Thomas adds, decade, and it is fair to say difficult to predict. “This requires two that impact on the scale “What I think he meant things; insight into what of the 2017 WannaCry “Engaging people outside by that was that with a warrants protecting, and attack were previously of the information little hindsight it is clear an understanding of the unprecedented.” security community to see that most of the adversaries trying to is one way to combat technology we consider attack it. “Reports of crimes these threats, and as an secure today will most attributed to a cyberindustry cybersecurity likely be considered broken Threats mean different related factor have is getting better at this. 01100000100101010100011110001010100001110001010101000000000000000001 in the next few years. things to different people, skyrocketed,” Sean adds, Collaboration between Thomas continues: “On “but whether this is private companies, like “It’s this ever-growing a national scale this can because the number of Secarma, and public dependence on be quite an easy thing to attacks has increased or entities, like the NCSC technologies that we know comprehend. The CPNI because organisations have (National Cyber Security won’t survive the test of (Centre for the Protection begun to categorise them Centre), are making some of National Infrastructure), time that I would say will differently is a complicated good headway with this. present the main threat in for instance, puts cyber question to answer. the years to come.” in as one of their top four “The most challenging threats to national security, “There are certainly aspect is in delivering Creating a society which and in the same breath arguments to be made on information that is is educated and resilient describes terrorists and both sides, and it’s difficult accessible to less-technical to threats could be agents of espionage. to give a definite answer. audiences. As a result of approached by how cyber Nevertheless, now more this, boards and C-suites is communicated in the “However, on a more than ever, the impact of have been less receptive first instance, Sean says: personal scale, threats can cyber-crimes is increasing. to introducing risk“The interpretation could be unique. To a CFO, management strategies be made much easier if financial information “I would argue that this that address the issues that we simplify the language, might be the asset they is simply the nature of the are faced. consider most sensitive, but therefore make it more ever-more cyber-centric familiar, accessible and to a sales director it might world that we live in; as “Initiatives are in place to understandable. For reliance on technology try and resolve this. GDPR be their client list. example, simply replacing increases, vulnerability (general data protection the word ‘security’ with “By the same token you through technology grows regulation) is driving the word ‘safety’ has or I might consider our as well. industries towards taking proved invaluable in contact details being information security 01100000100101010100011110001010100001110001010101000000000000000001 certain industries, as they available on the internet “For example, espionage seriously and schemes like know how to keep people, to be an efficient way of once meant covertly Cyber Essentials offer assets and processes ‘safe’ – staying connected, but to gaining access to an office opportunities for SMEs they have been doing it a celebrity it can mean to photograph secret to consider what they for decades. debilitating harassment.” documents. As much as can do to improve their this still happens, the word cyber defences.












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1100010101010000000000000000011000010000100101010001 Connected issue three • TWOZERO1NINE / 11

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0101010000111000101010100000000000000000110 “A more likely worst-case “What this means is - that This paradigm scenario was depicted in the television series ‘Mr. Robot’, where a group of politically-motivated hackers compromised and destroyed the financial records underpinning the entire US financial market.

the time between new security vulnerabilities being identified and being exploited by criminals has decreased, but the time between threats being identified and solutions being implemented has not reflected this.”

001100001110000110101 shift will enable those who have previously felt alienated by the words like “cyber” re-join the conversation and help build and adopt effective solutions.



“The show did take artistic liberties at points For large but is highly regarded organisations, the Sean Atkinson by most cyber-security solution for security has Director of Thomas adds: “There is a professionals as not too far to be an integral part of Security Assurance film from the 1980s that 10101000011100010101010000000000000000011000010000100101010001100000100 from being a possibility the implementation as (Commercial) is famous among cyberthat could be realised, Thomas explains: “There security professionals and for the most part is a concept, known as By adopting called WarGames. It tells entirely believable.” “Defence in-depth. this approach, the story of a teenager who unwittingly hacks into a organisations To be continuous in the “What this means - is US missile defence system industry and to combat that security is no longer can move toward and triggers a sequence impending threats, Sean treated as a measure that ending the cat of events that almost lead says one of the biggest can be appended to a and mouse game to global annihilation issues companies face product or service but is between threats through “Global is, “…that criminals an integral part of the they face and Thermonuclear War.” have been able to design phase ■ solutions they readily adapt to the new “It’s not clear just how implement. cyber-landscape, but unrealistic a scenario organisations have been like this might be, but much slower moving. what is definite is that as more critical national infrastructure depends on connectivity, the more "that opens a gateway to cyber-attacks.







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00010010101010001111000011100001101010100001110001010 Connected issue three • TWOZERO1NINE / 12

press release

Royal Reception for Ephraim and his research

The Duchess of Sussex showed interest in the work of Bangor University Master’s student Dr Ephraim Kisangala, a Commonwealth Scholarship student from Uganda, who she met at a London reception recently. Ephraim, a GP in Uganda who is studying Public Health and Health Promotion at Bangor University’s School of Healthcare Sciences, was invited to meet the Duchess of Sussex at an Association of Commonwealth Universities event to announce the Duchess becoming the Association’s Royal Patron. Ephraim says: “I was invited to the event and considered whether I should attend- it was only two days before that we were informed that the Duchess was to be there. I was a little nervous before-hand, but discussing my work with the Chair of the Commonwealth Association of Universities calmed my nerves. “I was introduced to the Duchess briefly and she asked about my research, she came across as a most humble individual, and was smiling and attentive. She later came back to me for a more in-depth conversation about the problems faced by menstruating women in refugee camps in Uganda. Ephraim said that the Duchess was very well informed about African affairs and also about the problems faced by menstruating women in India.

The Duchess was very passionate about our work, I could tell she had a genuine concern for the women we are trying to help.

“The duchess said to me how shocked she was and how it was so important to raise awareness of this issue so that more can be done.” Explaining his dissertation subject, Ephraim said that Uganda has the largest number of refugees of any African country and that menstruation is a hidden health issue for women there. His dissertation on the topic has grown from his interest in menstruation and women’s health as an issue in Uganda. Commenting on what he’s been learning he says: “The teaching and curriculum on my course is very flexible. This enables me to choose topics which are related to Ugandan healthcare problems. This ensures that what I learn at Bangor is particularly relevant when I return to Uganda.”

Ephraim’s dissertation supervisor, Dr Jaci Huws, a Senior Lecturer and Director of Internationalisation at the School of Healthcare Sciences said: “Ephraim has shown a real desire to learn about sustainable programmes of health.

He is passionate about improving the health and wellbeing of displaced people, particularly those living in rural and remote areas of the world. We are extremely proud of all his achievements. “The visit has brought a great deal of media attention to Ephraim’s work and he has been contacted by friend and colleagues around the globe who have seen the media coverage.

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Having been practicing as a GP for two years, Ephraim had decided that the time was right to develop his experience and to extend his education. Ephraim was involved in the first world campaign on menstrual hygiene management in 2014 while he was a medical student. He and a group of fellow young professionals contribute from their monthly salaries to fund visits to rural areas with no access to healthcare, to provide free healthcare services to the people in the hardest to reach areas through a local based organisation called Nyalojjie Integrated Foundation (NIF). Dr Kisangala was nominated for his Scholarship by the Windle Trust International, a charity that promotes education among people affected by conflicts and refugees ■





to Championing the Industry

With a career spanning over 25 years in the skills arena, it’s clear to see why Tom Bewick has worked his way up to be the Chief Executive of the Federation of Awarding Bodies (FAB).

Leaving school with just one GCSE equivalent, he went to achieve a worldclass bachelor’s degree and a European public policy masters from the University of Bath / University of Ljubljana, Slovenia thanks to night school. Since then, he has led various initiatives, advised ministers on a range of post16 education reforms and campaigned for changes to the apprenticeship system which led to the first creative apprenticeships being introduced to the sector. Kerry Voellner and Lydia Wang had the chance to catch up with Tom to find out more about his views on policymaking, the current education space and his vision for the future of FAB.

“FAB is about being the champion for the industry to help students around the world to realise their dreams through qualifications. If you didn’t have qualifications, just like if you didn’t have currency, you’d have to replace it with something else as interchangeable to help you do things in life. The vision of FAB is to

... represent awarding bodies as key stakeholders in a world in which high quality vocational education and qualifications are actively supported and valued

Qualifications come in all shapes and sizes and transform people’s lives. They operate like a currency. Currencies, like qualifications, enable us to do things and they are interchangeable.

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Tom echoes this sentiment, “Firstly we need a foundation education system that delivers qualifications that are good for individuals and employers. That’s why GCSE and A Levels in the UK are important, and so are other vocational qualifications.

I often put my failure at school down to the fact that I didn’t like the way they taught me; learning in the classroom just didn’t work for me. But then I went to university and now hold a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. It was a different style of learning in the university; it was all about education giving you tools and you mixing the tools to learn with a passion about the subject. I don’t think schools always do that for the students. There’s a difference between schooling and education. In terms of post-compulsory education, we’re in an exciting phase where there’s a coherent vision going forward; 16 to 18 year-olds will have three high quality choices when it comes to qualifications and further study or work.

The role of the Federation in representing awarding bodies isn’t without its challenges:

“Apart from the conventional GCSE and A Level, there’s the new Technical levels (T Level). This qualification provides applied learning, equipping learners with technical and employable skills. There’s also the ‘learner earn’ model, where people can join apprenticeships at 18. “We live in a world where learning and skills need to be an interchangeable concept. Back in the old days, learning denoted an academic path and skills were for those who didn’t do well in learning and were getting ready for manual work. “The world is a lot more complex now. Employers do still check subject knowledge, but what they really look for are the skills around applying that knowledge in an environment where you’re stretched to be engaged in teams. In this case, communication is important.” Engaging with policy makers and raising awareness of the importance of qualifications is at the forefront of Tom’s priorities: “We must educate policy makers and the public about the importance of qualifications.

The challenges we face are the ones our members face.

Equally, we have an innovative and flexible industry which can fit programs around various lifestyles, regardless of the location and time. That’s what makes the whole industry dynamic. “I see my job clearly as making the qualification industry more relevant and influential and making the public and policy makers know what we’re doing. “As a membership body, we need to be inclusive and engage all our full members for consultation, rather than just have a few members decide on things. “It’s very much a team effort, working with a board elected by our members. We aim to build a strong and robust trade body without being bureaucratic and too processdriven; because people want to see progress after all.”

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There’s always a push-back questioning the purpose of a qualification. “Policy makers will always seek justification for signing students up for any qualifications. Our members always need to be responsive and engaging in this kind of debate. Criticism from policy makers is a direct challenge to the industry. “For example, the new T Level coming about is exciting, people think it’s a great idea. But, potentially, awarding bodies could have a key role to play in it or not so much. “It’s my job to work with regulators and senior officials to make sure the health and vibrancy of the industry continue.” Tom’s passion for his role is evident: “Working as a team towards a vision is my main source of satisfaction. It’s the sense that we’re trying to make this country the best place in the world to study and work in.” “Whenever I think about what I’m doing, representing the awarding sector, I feel privileged and honoured to be involved in this work.” ■

feature Increases in world trade, interaction and integration has resulted in an increasingly globalised and interconnected world. With economic, social, cultural and political relations becoming more intensified, the demand for English as a second language is at an all-time high.

r e h t o M Tongue Why teachers should take a local approach

Dean Roberts,

author and co-author of various Oxford University Press teaching publications specialising in English and English as a second language now operates the SWAN Education Group in Thailand after spending two decades as an English teacher. He shares his experiences with Kerry Voellner and Lydia Wang and discusses how to teach effective English, modern teaching should have emphasis on the mother tongue.

Teacher training is one element of Dean’s journey which he feels brings about a certain principle; “I’ve been to many countries over 20 years with very different cultural expectations of the purpose of education. I think right at the top, there is the agreement that education should serve the needs of the learners.

In Thailand, they are catching up on this idea. While there is still some rote learning going on, there is also experimentation with active learning. For this to be effective, the learners are expected to become the owner of the learning [process].

Dean feels that establishing the needs of the learners is of the utmost importance, “It’s almost like an agreement between the teacher and the learners – an agreement on the expected outcome of the lessons. “When I did my PGCE we were told about the idea that the teaching and learning process is an exchange and should not be one-way.” Taking on a more theoretical approach to learning outcomes with modern teaching concepts is a viewpoint that Dean is passionate about, “At the theory end of it, I like the work of people like John Hattie – “Visible Learning” and also Carol Dweck’s work on the “Growth Mindset.” “It’s a bit like shutting your mouth more as a teacher and just looking at the visible signs of learning. Less teachertalk please!”

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feature “This is where I’m sitting with education: One needs to be contemporary with the theory. I still see oldfashioned notions of what teaching theories should be used in some parts of the world. But I also see some places adopting active research on teaching theories over the last five, ten years.” Throughout his career, Dean has made a significant contribution to publications with regards to English teaching and English as a second language. His philosophy on teaching is to have a vernacular approach, “Having been a principal examiner of teaching and learning in bilingual context, I am a strong advocate of the use of mother tongue in learning any language.

“I think it’s important to use some of the mother tongue to teach a target language; I don’t concur with the approach that you walk into my classroom and [there is] no English. I believe some use of the local language in teaching English is a great way to go. It’s going to help the learner hugely as they get more confidence in that language.” More and more evidence is showing that if you promote the use of the first language, while the learner gets more competent in the second language, no damage would be done to the first language. “But, when you do the opposite, we’ve seen cases of people losing their effectiveness of mother tongue at advanced levels because there has been too much emphasis on the second language ■

What I can see in the future

is that languages are morphing into each other. Singapore is already using this method. I think currently the British way is still a bit too traditional; when we walk into a classroom, we should see less grammar and more communicative activities taking place.



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What contributed by Kerry Voellner


EDUCATION SUPERPOWERS DO DIFFERENTLY? Interview with Lucy Crehan; education explorer, researcher and best-selling author

Incensed by continuous policy changes effecting education systems around the world,

British schoolteacher Lucy Crehan embarked on a onewoman mission to discover what was happening in the classrooms where core subjects such as reading, maths and science were topranking globally. Taking a radical approach to research, the innercity primary school teacher packed her bags and travelled to over five countries with highperforming education systems, into the heart of primary and secondary schools to witness first-hand what it was they were doing differently. By experiencing education delivery in classrooms across Canada, Finland, Japan, Shanghai, Singapore and New Zealand, Lucy’s observations and interviews with teachers, students and parents became the groundwork

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behind her bestselling book, Cleverlands: The Secrets Behind the Success of the World’s Education Superpowers. Described by British Educationist Sir Michael Barber as: ‘A major breakthrough in research’ and named as one of the Economist’s Books of the Year 2016, the phenomenal success of Cleverlands propelled Lucy to become one of the world’s most prominent speakers in international education. Describing herself as an education explorer, Lucy explains: “By this I mean I’ve spent a lot of time in schools, learning about education in different countries, but I haven’t taken a very typical approach. That’s why I don’t call myself an academic researcher. “I got to the end of my master’s degree, where I studied education policy and I thought about doing a PhD, but my interest was more in being a generalist. I wanted to get a big-picture overview of what makes a successful education system, rather than become a specialist in one niche area.” “I thought the best way of doing that is to probably not do a PhD, but to go and have a look for myself, talk to as many people as possible, interview people, sometimes formal interviews, sometimes informal chats on the way to school and try to understand the perspectives of teachers in Finland or parents in Singapore.”

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Becoming generally dissatisfied with the English education system, Lucy decided to embark on the research challenge of a lifetime and develop her own broader understanding of education policy: “I was working in a school in a disadvantaged area, putting in a huge amount of work and so were my colleagues. A lot of the work we were doing was not helpful for the students.”

We were just doing it because that was what the system required, and it wasn’t beneficial for the students, so that got me thinking about education policy and wanting to understand how different countries did it better. “I had read a lot about different systems and how they worked, but I couldn’t really get a proper understanding because you can read about lots of different policies, but a single policy never works in isolation.

in her life at the time, “It was the point in my life I was at. I was in my mid-twenties, I didn’t have another job lined up, I didn’t have a mortgage or children or anything to keep me in the country, so I recognised I had great freedom at that time. “I had some savings, so I thought why not make this into something that’s beautiful? My understanding of education was fun – so what better way to understand the culture than to go into schools and to live with teachers?” Social media had a huge impact on the way Lucy befriended potential supporters of her mission: “My approach was to contact teachers out of the blue. I used Facebook and CouchSurfing (a website for people who are happy to have travellers stay on their couch or in their spare room) and searched for teachers on there.

“A single approach is always going to depend on all the other policies and practices and the contexts, so I wanted to see what it looked like in real life.”

“I searched for terms such as ‘Finnish teacher, English speaking’ and emailed the people who came up, so it was very sporadic. I think in terms of how I initially approached teachers and then found schools, it was preferable to what people often do – which is contact the government or NGOs in a particular country and ask them to be put in touch with schools.

Lucy’s decision to conduct her research in such an unconventional way was inspired by personal factors

Lucy’s proactive approach resulted in a less than conventional outcome: “I do a lot of conferences and lots

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of study tours. What usually happens is the schools you are directed to are the best ones or the ones which are particularly innovative at unusual things. “And, within that – you get a tour around the school by the head teacher in which you’re shown certain things and not others and you don’t get a representative understanding of what is going on in that country. “By contacting teachers directly, I was making sure I was going to more ‘normal’ schools. I did have a look at the schools and their demographic background and the areas they were in and try and make sure I got a balance of schools that were in less well-off areas. I went to about four schools per country for about a week each, varying a little depending on each country. “That was helpful from the perspective of an ‘on-theground’ understanding and seeing a little bit more representation perhaps than your usual edu-tourism.” Some surprising observations throughout the research, Lucy recalls was: “The similarity in pedagogical approaches in different systems. “If you believe what you read in the press; Finland has a very different approach to Singapore or Japan. For example, in Singapore, the students are all mainly working in projects by themselves, they’re

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multidisciplinary, they don’t have subjects, the teachers are just working with these individual groups. “And, in Japan and in Singapore, they’re all sitting in rows and the teachers are just talking from the front and the students are being tested. “Neither of them stereotypes are true. In fact, there were remarkable similarities between those countries. In my observation, during my visit to schools there, instead of numerous students doing individualised learning, it was the whole class attempting the same subject. Teachers put students in groups- each with members with various abilitiesand conduct interactive questioning. Contrasts were also noted in the research: “The big differences were in terms of formality of education. For example, children in Finland wear their own clothes; schools are very casual. But in Japan, high school and middle school students are all in neat uniforms, sitting in rows and well-behaved.

“Assessments are another major difference. National assessments in east Asia are very high-states and happen at different ages. In Singapore for instance, it happens at the age of 12 while in China and Japan, the first one usually happens at the age of 15 or 16. “That derives a considerable amount of tuition and homework leading to exams. But in Finland, there isn’t any national exams to determine students’ fate. Instead, upon high school graduation (about the age 15), the teachers will award students’ grades based on their performance and test results over the past couple of years. “Canada is in the middle of the spectrum with typically two or three national assessments throughout primary school just to see how they are doing. On the secondary level, there are a few examinations while other subjects are completed through coursework, which is a bit of a balance.”

In Cleverlands, Lucy mentions the Confucian mindset and how this is applied in some countries, “Confucius was a Chinese philosopher and statesman whose ideology has had a tremendous impact on east Asian culture in general, reaching multiple countries around China, including Japan and Singapore. “His idea of learning is that education is a virtue. While today we try to teach ¬-morality to children, he believed that a good individual can achieve selfperfection through learning. He also said learning doesn’t privilege anyone, i.e. everyone can learn. “People from various cultures around the world have different perceptions of the world and intelligence. We can find studies showing the differences between the East and the West in terms of one’s chance to be successful and what leads to that success. Lucy notes the differences in the top-performing education systems and how it affects the expectation of teachers: “They have

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a considerable impact on how well children do academically. Another factor is how they recruit, train, and treat teachers in schools. “These places share a common feature of treating teachers as professionals; they acknowledge that teachers have access to certain specialities and make sure they invest in their training. “In some countries, a teacher is just anyone with a good degree and a winning smile. What they teach is what they’ve learned; there’s no need for any knowledge outside their field of speciality. “But in Finland, for example, anyone aspiring to teach in primary schools has to learn everything that’s covered within the years and the method of teaching. Teaching itself is regarded as a science; teachers need to understand how pupils perceive knowledge in every field.” ■ *Cleverlands can be purchased on Amazon and other book sellers


TO DO AFTER YOUR BACHELOR’S DEGREE You may want to go straight into employment, or you may want to further your study and if you do, one option you may consider is a Level 7 Diploma.

You may not have heard of this option, but it is becoming increasing popular with students who are looking to build on their professional skills. Here are the most common questions we get asked about the Level 7 Diploma:

What is a Level 7 Diploma?

In short, a Level 7 Diploma is a globally-recognised certification at Level 7 equivalent, but not a full master’s; however, it allows you to advance your knowledge and skills gained from your first degree to postgraduate level. So, whilst the Level 7 is the same level as studying at master’s level, it only becomes a master’s when you have undertaken the dissertation. So, what does that mean? This means you can bridge the study between Level 6 (a bachelor’s degree) and the full master’s degree.

Why would I want to do that?

That’s simple! Many employers and higher education institutes recognise a Level 7 Diploma as a highlevel demonstration of professional knowledge and skills. For many managers and senior professionals, a Level 7 shows that you are at the level of postgraduate study.

Also, some students may want to wait to commit to their dissertation, so in the meantime, this qualification helps them to keep up-to-date with their learning, gain new skills and show employers they are at a high-level of education, with the relevant business management skills essential in today’s modern workplace.

What are the entry requirements?

You will need to hold an honours degree in a related subject, a UK Level 6 diploma or an equivalent overseas qualification. If you are applying for a Level 7 Diploma in the UK and are not from a majority English-speaking country, you will need to provide evidence of English language proficiency. The criteria are subject to the course of your choice. A Level 7 Diploma is a vocational certification focused on professional skills and suitable for those seeking managerial roles in the industry of their choice. Therefore, entry to a Level 7 Diploma course sometimes requires relevant work experience.


How many credits is a Level 7 Diploma? To complete a Level 7 Diploma, you will need to attain a minimum of 120 credits. This could be part of your study towards a master’s degree at a university or a certificate showing your level of study.

How is it different from a master’s degree?

While a master’s degree is commonly attained from a university, a level 7 diploma is usually achieved at an accredited training or specialist vocational centre. You need a minimum of 180 credits to achieve a master’s degree but only 120 to complete a Level 7 Diploma. Completion of a Level 7 Diploma depends on how you choose to study; it usually takes a year full-time or two years part-time.

What other benefits are there to studying a Level7?

This flexibility of the diploma allows students to work or continue with other commitments as they study. We find this is suitable for mature students, parents, people already in managerial roles or those who wish to further their career. Students will explore an extensive range of contemporary issues and develop the critical, analytical and practical skills to succeed as managers and leaders. They will develop and refine their academic skills at master’s level. A level 7 diploma doesn’t cost as much as a master’s degree. Thus, it’s no surprise why Level 7 Diplomas are gradually becoming a

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popular option for those who seek advanced level of study. NCC Education offers Level 7 Diploma in Business Management, which allows you that flexibility and the advantage you need in further study or career progression. A Level 7 diploma in Business Management is widely recognised and provides the learner with skills adapted to today’s ever-evolving business needs. The diploma has been developed by senior academics in the business space to co-incide with the contemporary practice of modern business. For example, the Level 7 diploma in Business Management now includes entrepreneurship and leadership as elective modules, highly sought after by start-ups and established businesses ■   To find out more, visit http://www.nccedu. com/qualification/level7-diploma-businessmanagement-l7dbm/ or contact  customer.service Follow us on social media: @NCCEducation ncc_education

@NCCEducation NCC Education

NCC Education


A wife first, mother, esteemed scholar and educator, Dr. Seema Tatwawadi PhD drives her values, knowledge and kindness, by manoeuvring through her diverse roles with finesse and compassion. It is clear to see why the Director of Corporate Relations of Mumbai Educational Trust (MET) has been recently bestowed with a Women Achiever’s Award for her exemplary work as an educationist and psychologist guiding students and providing jobs to young Indians. Receiving the award on International Women’s Day 2019, Dr. Seema says, “I’m happy about it and my husband and children are proud of me.” She also gave a speech titled ‘Be the Architect of Your Life’ to college students which reflects her everyday beliefs through her work with young men and women, who are seeking success and progression in their lives. Dr. Seema’s journey has been an uplifting one filled with ambition and the motivation to consistently pursue her many ambitions. By the time she had gained her PhD, she had already built a career and a family: “I completed my postgraduate study in psychology and had a brilliant academic career. “After that, I got married and was busy with my family and children while teaching psychology in various postgraduate and undergraduate colleges and

counselling different people and their families. “Then my husband would move on to his next duty station (he was in the Indian Army), so I went on to pursue my PhD.” Being clear about her objectives, she continues: “I always wanted to set my career in education and wanted to help the

working in three to four different places.” Dr. Seema’s approach and ethos is that people from different age groups and in different stages in life require help:

Helping others and making them happy is my motto; I do whatever I can to help people and spread happiness.

International Women’s Day

RECOGNITION FOR ESTEEMED EDUCATOR AND PSYCHOLOGIST society and underprivileged children. Therefore, I did my doctorate with underprivileged children.

By Kerry Voellner and Lydia Wang

“When I was working towards my PhD, I was also running a child-guidance clinic while tending to my family, career and assignments for the course. “My idea was to help children from the beginning to be trained citizens, instead of training them as grown-ups or as college students, which is difficult. “Back then I was doing sessions on parenting and child guidance, worked with parents and people with addictions to help with their rehabilitation. I was Connected issue three • TWOZERO1NINE / 22


I have developed many contacts and through them and my networking I can resolve their problems which gives me happiness. “People often ask me how I am so energetic and motivated; I say I’m connected to several people and I derive my energy from my interactions. I’m always willing to make it work.” Dr. Seema built her career and network from scratch when she moved to Mumbai with her family and has devoted herself to helping people ever since: “When we moved to Mumbai, we saw it as a new opportunity, we shifted all our businesses and started again from zero. “Then gradually my career took a change. I started working as a professor in the Management Institute. After five years as a professor, I became the director of another Management Institute. There I was implementing new ideas and motivating students.” A degree or a certificate is just the entry ticket in the job market says Dr. Seema: “My plan is to motivate youngsters with a focus on skills development and making them employable. I want to help youngsters develop the competencies and skill-sets crucial to secure jobs. Through her work at the business schools Dr. Seema has helped place hundreds of budding managers in the job market: “We provide job opportunities for students, so I got connected to various organisations and

companies. I must have helped and placed hundreds of students so far and I’m still going strong. “The institutes are always encouraging and welcome new ideas. With the support from management, I am always ready to initiate something new. That is how I got connected with NCC Education, and started International courses at MET. With a family and many responsibilities at work, good time management is of essence to Dr. Seema:

“My programme is dedicated to the women - especially housewives - in their forties who feel that at this age their children are grown up, husband is busy in his work and they have plenty of time to themselves and wonder what to do. The Zee Group of Channels had televised a serial on my ideas and advice to such women. Many of them lose their confidence at this age and think they can’t do anything. But I always motivate them with my own example; I started my fulltime career after 45.” ■

If you are a well-planned and well-managed person, you have plenty of time. Getting support and inspiration from her family and the people she has crossed paths with, Dr. Seema says: “The success stories of women; their happiness, confidence and independence inspire me. We exchange ideas and support each other to develop business ideas and entrepreneurship.” Another project she is involved in is helping ladies who want to get back to work after their children have grown up: “Generally, in India, girls neglect or don’t give priority to their careers to take care for their families and children. But, when these children grow up and get busy with college and careers, mothers feel lonely and get into negativity.

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I believe that with the right attitude, passion and willingness to work hard, one can achieve their goal and can start a career at any age.


High Achievers The High Achiever Awards are dedicated to students who have attained the highest global marks in their field of study. Each of our 2018 High Achievers received an award to recognise their outstanding academic achievements. Congratulations to all 33 students!

Turki Hamad Alhomoud from WE Bridge Academy in England. Turki received 1st place in the world for his academic achievement in the Level 3 International Foundation Diploma (L3IFD).

Amaya Maliduwapathirana from Gateway Graduate School in Sri Lanka. Amaya received 2nd in the world for her academic achievement in the Level 4 Diploma in Business (L4DB).

Sanjula Madurapperuma from Gateway Graduate School in Sri Lanka. Sanjula received 1st place in the world for his academic achievement in the Level 4 Diploma in Computing (L4DC).

Dulith Perera from Gateway Graduate School in Sri Lanka. Dulith received 1st place in the world for his academic achievement in the Level 5 Diploma in Business (L5DB).

Sonali Abeysinghe from Gateway Graduate School in Sri Lanka. Sonali received 3rd in the world for her academic achievement in the Level 4 Diploma in Business IT (L4DBIT).

Luka Pace Bonello from STC Higher Education in Malta. Luka received 2nd place in the world for his academic achievement in the Level 4 Diploma in Computing (L4DC).

Jeremy John Scalpello from STC Higher Education in Malta. Jeremy received 3rd place in the world for his academic achievement in the Level 4 Diploma in Computing (L4DC).

Olansile John Ajisafe from STC Higher Education in Malta. Olansile received 3rd place in the world for his academic achievement in the Level 5 Diploma in Business (L5DB).

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Computer Pride Sitah Lango came a long way from preparing tea and bread along a river to now being the Regional Country ManagerEast Africa at The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), a global provider of secure financial messaging services. Sitah graduated in 2012 from Computer Pride, one of our long-standing Accredited Partner Centres in Kenya. She enjoyed her study there, especially the interactive approach of the programme: We engaged with fellow classmates on several sessions through group projects. “The various assignments I completed were thoughtprovoking. The higher education course helped broaden my perspective in my field of interest.”

Reflecting on the journey she’s taken ever since graduation, Sitah has no regrets. When asked to give advice to herself when starting out, she says:

You are on the right track, keep doing what you are doing and don’t allow the setbacks to weigh you down. Use every experience as a stepping stone to the next level, bad or good. Looking into the future, Sitah plans to reach out to more lives: “I’m working on the fundamentals to start a charity organisation in Kenya. “My future dream is to work with community-based programmes to help uplift women and girls.” ■

About Computer Pride

Ever since its establishment in 1990, Computer Pride has been offering training solutions in Information and Communication Technology. Computer Pride has been offering NCC Education qualifications for over 16 years, seeing over 550 graduates pursuing their advancement with a British qualification. Computer Pride offers the following services:

• Diploma and Degree programmes • Project and Process Management Training • IT Technical Training • Online Testing Solutions • Business and Personal Effectiveness Training • Software Solutions

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interview and written by Lydia Wang

Before the catastrophes The contingency plans for natural disasters An earthquake with a shattering magnitude of 7.3, at the top end of the Richter Scale caused more than 2,400 deaths, injured over 11,000 and destroyed the Island of Taiwan in 1999.

since left people thinking about what they could do to avoid reliving them when the next natural hazard hits. Since the launch of the Disaster Risk Reduction Project at National Science and Technology Centre for Disaster Reduction in Taiwan in 2001, Gloria Liu, the leading scientist of the project has led her team to change the life of over 14 communities across the island and collaborate with non-profit organisations overseas.

With the epicentre located underneath Jiji Town, the tragedy became known as the notorious “Jiji Earthquake.”

Lydia Wang talks to her about the project and how it has benefited communities that have suffered great loss.

In 2009, another devastating disaster, Typhoon Morakot hit Taiwan with aggressive wind and torrential rain, triggering destructive flooding and debris flow that killed nearly 700 people.

Taiwan is frequently hit by overwhelming types of natural disasters. This puts many residents, especially the 160,000 living in the mountains, under high risk of losing their homes and families.

These natural disasters left the citizens of Taiwan with loss, devastation and heartache as the communities tried to rebuild their lives after. These occurrences have

The government used to take charge of rescue missions when a disaster occurred. But, it could fail to reach all the disaster-struck regions instantly. And, when it did,

residents within a community had to help each other to get out of dangerous situations because they would know best who was missing and who needed help. Gloria says: “This idea really caught up after the devastating 1999 Jiji Earthquake. We realised that disaster response wasn’t enough and started looking at ways for communities to assess the hazards and working out a plan to minimize possible casualty.

This is how the concept came about: Reducing risks beforehand rather than responding to the damage afterwards. But initiating a project aiming to change minds cannot go forward without its challenges. Gloria explains: “Those who have fallen victim still relied on the government for rescue, while those who

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haven’t would rather think that they’d never be that unlucky.” To tackle this, Gloria and her team showed examples of communities helping themselves through a catastrophe: “We used true stories to convince them that they could be their own rescue.” The training also brought forth a side benefit. Gloria continues: “By taking part, the female residents started to see that saving people was not the men’s job; they shared the responsibility as much as the men within the community.

Participation gives them the skills, which motivates them to find solutions, and knowing the solutions encourages them to act proactively when disasters occur.


Structure of the disaster risk reduction training:

COMMUNICATE AND CLARIFY With the key informant of the community, the team figures out what they need from the training


The team investigates the history of disastrous occurrences as well as the existing response mechanism of that community

We believe in participatory training because it allows for an indepth view of the fundamentals of the project and breaks the participants’ misconception that they are powerless

ENVIRONMENTAL INVESTIGATION 1. The team patrols the neighbourhood with the community members searching for signs of risks in the surroundings 2. Take note of any vulnerable population within the community, such as elderly members living in solitude 3. Locate possible sources of supply during emergency like grocery shops etc


Taking the information gathered into consideration, the team guides community members through identifying the best gathering point and shelter when disasters occur Visualising all the information on a satellite map of the neighbourhood and its vicinity, community members then work out the best evacuation route and collaborative network for them

Jacob Hu

Head of Jia-Lan Community in Eastern Taiwan

It’s important that Gloria and her team sticks to the role of a ‘guide’, rather than a lecturer. When directing the project, Gloria avoids one-way communication: “We don’t tell members what to do; we let them do the planning through hands-on activities based on the key concepts they’ve just learned and only provide guidance when it’s needed.

Gloria adds: “Eventually we want to empower communities and turn the passive mindset of waiting for rescue into a proactive one that motivates them to keep themselves safe.” ■

We got involved in the Disaster Reduction Project because we suffered great loss after Typhoon Morakot and we didn’t want history to repeat for the community. It’s been eight years since we joined the training and we are still reviewing the drill annually and have been deemed as the role model in disaster response planning. We’ve seen major changes since we joined training; our residents have been more alert to alarming signs in the environment and natural hazards. The training has brought the residents together to serve the community proactively. This sense of cohesion has even extended from disaster risk reduction to education and caring for the elderly; our people now are proud to call it home here.

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Interview with Alumni

Adrian Higdon It’s great to catch up with our alumni, some of whom have been on incredible journeys since finishing their studies with NCC Education. Adrian Higdon, Head of Business Enablement EMEIA at Fujitsu is no different, in fact, he has had an impressive career with no signs of slowing down! Lydia Wang had the opportunity to catch up with him and find out more about his career, what it’s like working at a world class IT service and solutions provider and being part of a network of no less than 140,000 employees around the world.

You have been in various positions within Fujitsu, tell us more about your journey to where you are today. I wanted to get a very rounded view across a business. I wanted to be able to understand a business to a full level. Being a global company, Fujitsu gave me the opportunity to do that.

I joined them as an engineer, then I progressed quickly to a team manager. From there, I took more roles as the opportunity became available. Then I continued to move on to roles with much more global involvement. As Head of Business Enablement I have the opportunity to engage with our customers directly as well develop our business to support continued growth.

Does this mean that you directly deal with customers around the world?

Predominantly, the customers I work with are where English is spoken as the main language because I don’t speak any other

language. Actually, this is something that I’d like to develop if I get the chance to. I’ve been very lucky because English is generally spoken in most countries, so it doesn’t stop me from engaging when doing business. I have realised that from a customer’s perspective, they prefer to use their native language to explain and express themselves. And [if you speak their language] you can better understand what the client is really saying and looking for. As you’d probably recognise, when you’re not speaking your own language, you don’t put appropriate pauses and accents in the sentences. And when the client speaks English as their second language, the real meaning and emotions in what is being said can be lost.

What challenges do you face in your work at Fujitsu?

From a personal perspective, one of the biggest challenges was dealing with the pressure of a business that operates 24/7. And this being a global

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business, I truly mean 24/7, 365 days a year because of the different time zones we operate in. For example, when I work with our teams in North America and Australia and I want to set up a call with them; the former team will probably need to get up early to talk to me, and the latter are just getting ready for bed. You can imagine the scenario where they’ve finished a hard day of work and still had to get on this call for work; at this point, they probably don’t want to talk about work at all. As for the American team, they have just got out of bed. This is not only a challenge for productivity at work but also for keeping work-life balance because you end up having to work outside of your usual work hours. I always keep this in mind to ensure I avoid where possible work-life balance disruption. If this isn’t closely monitored as a manager this starts to effect employees. Any new person to the company can easily become part of this culture in which people work outside of work hours. Over time, they don’t feel like they can challenge the situation. Gradually work becomes very stressful without you even realising it.


I understand such stress because for a few years, I had to get up at four in the morning to travel to London and came home after seven in the evening five days a week and it takes its toll and starts to impact family life. It is important to recognise the impact of this kind of stress and help others to recognise it.

What other opportunities does Fujitsu bring?

I’ve had a diverse career within the company, I’ve gained a lot of advancement because of it. We have so many departments and thus so many opportunities for one to learn in different fields. It’s a case of not having to leave the company to learn new things or change career and you get to do so in a familiar environment.

Does Fujitsu encourage employees to challenge themselves by taking on different roles? Yes. But I’d say a lot of it really depends on the individual.

I believe if one seeks selfdevelopment, opportunity is there. But, I also believe that to develop your career, you need to own your development plan. If my employees come to me with development plans, I will support, guide and mentor them, but I won’t own their development plans for them.

You can’t chuck a load of seeds on some soil and expect them to grow and prosper; you need to provide the right environment for them and nurture them to develop and grow

As a business, I think you need to provide and prepare the right ground for your employees to develop.

Can you share your experience of studying with NCC Education?

It started when I decided not to keep up my own business; I wanted to find something else to do. Back then I knew very little about computers, apart from the one I used for book-keeping. Then I saw a job advertisement about a centre providing IT training by NCC Education. I signed up and studied for Diplomas in Programming and Systems Analysis & Design. At the end of the course I applied for a role with a national retail company as an IT help desk agent. It kickstarted my career in the IT industry.

Having the formal qualification enabled me to say that I knew about IT.

This helped align me for the role and demonstrated that I was interested in the field of IT and I liked to learn.

As a successful alumni, what advice would you give to our students, especially the ones who are about to graduate and start looking for a job?

My view has always been seeing the job market as a set of different ladders. You may have a route that you plan on climbing, but you should know that sometimes, [climbing] sideways or downwards isn’t necessarily a negative step. There are different ways to do things and your career plans change, so don’t be too set on a single agenda. Secondly, network as much as possible. You need to

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be visible and recognised for what you’re able to do. Also, don’t always expect an immediate return for what you do. When you start in an organisation, in the early days, you’ll work with a lot of people with similar positions. Be nice to everybody, and you won't find yourself in the position of “oh no, that colleague that I was dismissive of is now my boss!” If you help people when you can, they will be the ones that help you out next time. That’s why I try to help people develop their career progression, I am a Coach and Mentor in Fujitsu and a Business Mentor with Princes Trust; I consider success to be seeing the people I mentor develop, grow and be successful. Enabling someone to develop into a role senior to me has and will continue to measure as an ultimate achievement, especially if I continue making this happen ■



Screencasting can help your students perform better and reduce anxiety A key aspect of preparing international students for university in a foreign country is ensuring that they feel able to take part in their future studies. We need to ensure that the students at the end of their foundation year will be able to keep up with their native speaker classmates. They must understand lectures and research articles, write clear and accurate essays and speak confidently and coherently to their professors, tutors and other students. However, this is a tall order for students completing any university preparation programme in the UK or in their own country. How often have you gotten to the end of an academic year wondering why your class of EAP students cannot remember the difference between past simple and present perfect, or to use articles correctly?

There is seemingly an expectation that by the time a student achieves the required IELTS 6 or 6.5, all basic grammar issues will have disappeared or no longer need revision. However, this is not the case. Students at all levels of English learning have errors. That being said, there is only so much time that can be devoted to reexplaining issues like using third person present simple ‘s’, and this repetition wastes time that could be better used to cover new material needed for university. From my own experience working at universities in the UK, students are starting courses with basic grammar issues, that are often caused by bad habits or poor knowledge, and the sudden realisation that there is less support at university (Noteborn and Garcia, 2016).

One option for addressing this is the use of flipped classroom teaching to give students the ability to prepare and improve their own language. By teaming this teaching philosophy with screencasting technology, a single team of teachers can create a treasure trove of videos addressing all the small language problems that students often struggle with.

What is the flipped classroom?

The flipped classroom is a teaching technique, originally thought to have started in the USA by high school teachers, that literally seeks to ‘flip’ the classroom and its place in the learning process. Instead of the classroom being the origin of learning, that is then practised at home in homework tasks, the flipped classroom starts the learning at home and then moves the practical application activities to the classrooms after (Pierce and Fox, 2012).

Very basically, students ‘teach themselves’ at home using teacher-created activities, before practising the new knowledge in context in the next lesson.

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When using technology as suggested here, it becomes a type of blended learning. The primary aim is that it encourages the students to learn independently, and the teacher is used to encourage the student to extend their application of this knowledge. In terms of English language improvement, this means that the introduction of the language point, such as the present simple, would take place at home (maybe via a video lecture online) as well as some activities like gap fills or questions. This is an essential element of making this effective, as having interaction as part of this approach ensures students are getting practice of the language point, as opposed to passively observing a lecture (Zhang et al, 2006). In the next class, the teacher would introduce a free speaking activity, like a presentation or discussion, where the student’s ability to use this language point would be assessed.

The teacher is free to focus on correction and improving the whole utterance rather than just thinking about whichever small area of grammar is being focused on as would happen normally in a language lesson.

feature In turn, students are more motivated to work on this area of language as they are more focused on using it and feel more prepared to do so (Hsiesh et al, 2016).

What is screencasting?

Screencasting is the process of taking a video of your computer screen, with audio over the top. It is a great choice for cheap and easy video creation, as all that is required is a computer with audio and a webcam. As opposed to more traditional lecture video, the screencast allows the teacher to simply record over a PowerPoint or demonstration on the computer. This not only avoids the distraction of a person moving about in the video but means that the visual aspect (maybe the illustration of the grammar pattern, or image of the phonemic letter) is clearer. The teacher is then free to explain whatever they want, and for the student it becomes like a one-to-one explanation. Screencasts are easily made for free and watched anywhere, so teachers can add extra videos to react to reoccurring issues and errors, and students can use them whenever they need to revise something basic that is affecting their language use in the class. Websites such as allow anyone to set up a free account and take videos of less than 15 minutes.

How could these


work together on a foundation course?

Rather than using precious, limited teacher-facing time to revise content that will have been inevitably covered previously, having a database where this information is all available puts the impetus on the student to prepare themselves. It also recreates more accurately the expectation that these students will have at university, that they will prepare for assessments themselves and with minimal guidance. This would build up their selfawareness of their own language issues and give them something that they can use independently to improve this (Lee and Wallace, 2017).

Research shows that the flipped classroom produces better results, particularly in writing, than a traditional classroom

1. 2.

‘phrasal verbs’ in one screencast will be far too much, so aim for something more like ‘phrasal verbs about time’.

Keep screencasts short

and with lots of examples to illustrate the rules or language area you are explaining.

Consider adding separate worksheets that practice each


language area. As you would in a traditional language class, give some controlled practice to give students time to use the rules accurately but with support. Consider mini-memory tests to reduce mind-wandering during the screencasts and help with note-taking skills (Szpunar et al, 2013).

Create student guidance systems that will encourage them


to make the best use of this resource. When correcting written work, challenge them to watch a screencast on a particular error and then rewriting without this mistake. This can also be used to improve spoken grammar as well.

Use the screencasts as marketing materials and use

(Adnan, 2017).

Of course, during a foundation year, more guidance could and should be given by teachers than students will have at university. Set language improvement plans encouraging students to watch particular screencasts would help students to feel that they are in control, reduce anxiety and reduce the need of the teachers to cover this information

Make the topics as specific as possible. Trying to address


them to promote your brand. These useful study aids can also add extra value to your courses and either sold or given to students upon graduation.

You can even get students to make screencasts and


activities for each other! This is a great addition to a revision lesson and gives students ownership over the kinds of screencasts to research and create.

Connected issue three • TWOZERO1NINE / 31

feature in class. Classes for higher level language improvement, such as the EAP modules or AELS, could be far more focused on giving students opportunities to practice real communication tasks and structuring ideas. The benefit of screencasts is that they are clear, short and can make good use of PowerPoints that teachers are already likely using in classes every day. Rather than needing to invest in a complex and costly suite, blended classrooms can be achieved with a few free accounts and some time. Videos can be placed into an online Dropbox account for students to access, or they can have access to them on school computers. But how would this work to, say the title promises, help students perform better and experience less anxiety? This way of learning has been shown to reduce anxiety and help students achieve better results (Roshan, 2015). Simply, because students are focused less on grammar, they have more time to focus on expressing themselves fluently. However, outside the classroom, they are encouraged to use revision materials in a more systematic and purposeful way, so they are making better revision decisions (Gross et al, 2017). They feel like active participants

in their progress, and this helps students to feel more in control of their studies.

How to start this in your institute?

Once the practical side (how videos will be stored, how students will access them, how many videos students will have access to at any one time and so on) has been decided by the teaching managers, teachers are free to choose the areas that they feel students would most benefit from having video explanations of. Popular choices can be topics such as basic sentence structures in English or noun phrases, to explanations of specific grammar points like comparatives usage or the difference between present perfect and past simple. For each point, each teacher can make a short but detailed PowerPoint explanation set of slides, and then the screencast itself can be made once everything is approved. Finally, everything can be uploaded to whatever online storage will be used and students directed to find the most useful screencasts for them. I welcome you to start this idea with your teaching team and see how this works to support your students! ■

Daniela Prataviera is the Operations Manager at MDA College in Leeds, UK. She has been teaching English since 2012 and has an MA ELT and DELTA.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Adnan, M (2017) Perceptions of senior-year ELT students for flipped classroom: a materials development course, Computer Assisted Lan guage Learning, 30 (3-4), p.204-222: DOI: 10.1080/09588221.2017.1301958 Gross, D, Pietri, E, Anderson, G, Moyano-Camihort, K and Graham, M (2017) Increased Preclass Preparation Underlies Student Outcome Improvement in the Flipped Classroom: Hsiesh, J, Wu, W and Marek, M (2017) Using the flipped classroom to enhance EFL Learning, Computer Assisted Language Learning, 30 (1-2): p:1-21: DOI: 10.1080/09588221.2015.1111910 Lee, G and Wallace, A (2017) Flipped Learning in the English as a Foreign Language Classroom: Outcomes and Perceptions: DOI: https://doi. org/10.1002/tesq.372 Noteborn, G and Garcia, G (2016) Turning MOOCS Around: Increasing Undergraduate Academic Performance by Reducing Test-Anxiety in a Flipped Classroom Setting, Emotions, Technology, and Learning: DOI: https://doi. org/10.1016/B978-0-12-800649-8.00003-1 Pierce, R and Fox, J (2012) Vodcasts and Active-Learning Exercises in a “Flipped Classroom” Model of a Renal Pharmacotherapy Module, American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 76 (10): DOI: https://doi. org/10.5688/ajpe7610196 Roshan, S (2015) The Flipped Classroom: Touch Enabled, Academically Proven. In: Hammond, T, Valentine, S, Adler A and Payton, M (eds) The Impact of Pen and Touch Technology on Education. Human–Computer Interaction Series: Cham: Springer

To find out more about Leeds Language Academy, visit:

Szpunar, K, Khan, N and Schacter, D (2013) Remembering online lectures, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110 (16): p.6313-6317: DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1221764110 Zhang, D, Zhou, L, O’Briggs, R and Nunamaker Jr, J (2006) Instructional video in e-learning: Assessing the impact of interactive video on learning effectiveness, Information & Management, 43 (1): p.15-27: DOI: https://doi. org/10.1016/

Connected issue three • TWOZERO1NINE / 32

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Study Online Graduate from the University of Central Lancashire BSc (Hons) Business Computing & Information Systems • Final year of a degree, awarded by the University of Central Lancashire • Flexible online teaching • Study in your own time • Designed for students who have completed the NCC Education Level 5 Diploma in Computing/ Business IT or HND Computing (or equivalent)

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Started NCC Education Diploma at NACIT Malawi Blantyre campus


Taught computer lessons as a volunteer at a local secondary school in Lilongwe


Started studying Advanced Diploma from NCC Education at NACIT


Employed as an EOD operator (End Of Day) at First Capital Bank (FCB)


Employed by First Merchant Bank (FMB)


Promoted to Systems Administrator at FMB



Back to School for honors degree


Completed BSc (Hons) with University of Greenwich at NACIT Employed by FINCA Malawi, an international micro finance company as a Database Administrator


Employed by Nedbank Malawi as a Payment Channels and Core Banking specialist


Employed by New Finance Bank as IT Manager

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CONNECTED Magazine Third Edition 2019  

CONNECTED is a biannual, in-house publication produced by NCC Education for our students, centres and global connections.

CONNECTED Magazine Third Edition 2019  

CONNECTED is a biannual, in-house publication produced by NCC Education for our students, centres and global connections.

Profile for nccedu