McDaniel global partnership offers students from India teacher preparation

November 16, 2009

Graduate and Professional Studies of McDaniel College and Mar Athanasios College For Advanced Studies (MACFAST) in Kerala, India, have undertaken a collaborative educational effort that will offer students from MACFAST and other fully accredited universities in India opportunities to pursue graduate education culminating in initial teaching certification in science and math, two critical components of the educational initiative known as STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). Established in 2001, the post-graduate institution of MACFAST is one of the premier educational centers in Kerala, in the southwest corner of India.

The primary focus of the partnership between McDaniel and MACFAST will be to establish cohorts of Indian students with undergraduate and/or graduate degrees in math and science education to enter the College’s Better Educators for Students of Tomorrow (BEST) program, which offers Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) initial certification and the M.S. in Education.

Cohorts are usually in the 15 to 25 student range, with the expectation to produce two or more cohorts each year. These students will have met the content requirements in math or the sciences so that their BEST program focuses on the secondary education requirements only. Participants who successfully complete the 12-month program will receive the M.S. and MSDE secondary certification (grades 7-12) in their respective science and math areas of concentration.

The partnership responds to an identified critical need in teacher preparation. School systems in Maryland and elsewhere have begun to recruit teachers from other countries. A significant advantage of the McDaniel-MACFAST partnership is that it offers a complete teacher training program in Maryland, not only providing the students with a first-rate educational experience but allowing them to acculturate to American schools and American culture in general. Because of the critical need for science and math teachers, successful completion of the program increases the likelihood that the Indian students will be able to find teaching employment in Maryland and many other states.

MACFAST is already in the process of identifying and recruiting qualified candidates to study at McDaniel’s graduate program. At MACFAST, the selected candidates will be given the necessary preparatory training in language skills (fluency in American English) as well as remedial work in the core subject areas, if necessary, to meet the prerequisites of subject area competency for admission to the BEST graduate program.

“We are expecting the first cohort of 15-25 students to begin the BEST program at McDaniel as early as January,” said Graduate Dean Henry Reiff, who traveled to India last month to meet with educators there. “Clearly, there is a myriad of tasks and challenges that face us. Nevertheless, we are optimistic and enthusiastic to proceed with our goal of preparing science and math teachers in this newly established global partnership.”