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Case Study

Anna Fahim and Youanna Awad

Cairo, Egypt

MA Education

Anna and Youanna were both working as headteachers within a primary school in their home country of Egypt when they decided they wanted to further their skills and broaden their understanding within the education sector to improve the experience for those they teach. They enrolled onto the MA Education where they’ve found the modules around mentoring and leadership particularly beneficial and praise the teaching staff for all the support they received during their studying.

Serving as headteachers for a primary school in Egypt, the school administration actively supported and encouraged our professional development, recognising the importance of education as a cornerstone for representing a better life for people. In light of this, we embraced the opportunity to enhance our skills by enrolling onto the MA Education at the esteemed University of Sunderland, where we actively sought to acquire fresh theoretical insights and practical knowledge from an international standpoint in the educational domain. Sunderland also ended up being more affordable for us as international students.

Our goal was not only to broaden our understanding, but also to fortify our capabilities as educational leaders, recognising the transformative impact of quality education. We’ve developed a firm belief in continuous improvement across multiple aspects of education. The course helps us to explore creative solutions that go beyond traditional approaches, with the genuine hope of providing equal opportunities for the development of students, teachers, and the entire school community.

Studying for the MA, overall, has been a rewarding experience, but two modules have stood out prominently for us – the module around mentoring and coaching, and the module focusing on leadership. This marked our initial exposure to the concepts of mentoring and coaching, leaving a profound impact on our perspective. We’re firmly convinced that both novice and veteran teachers would greatly benefit from the guidance of a coach or mentor, serving as a compass to steer them in the right direction and fostering the advancement of their careers.

The leadership module also proved particularly beneficial to us, given our previous roles. The module has been instrumental in uncovering blind spots in our leadership style, providing a framework for improvement. It’s also enriched our understanding through numerous case studies drawn from diverse educational settings, illustrating challenges faced by leaders and effective strategies for overcoming them. This has emphasised the importance of constructing a comprehensive plan for the leader, the institution, and the community.

We strongly recommend that learners seize the opportunity to study at the University of Sunderland, which has shaped and changed our personalities and our thoughts. The support and guidance offered by the tutors has been not only comprehensive, but also characterised by their cooperative, knowledgeable, and humble approach. Engaging with such dedicated educators significantly alleviates the challenges often associated with the educational journey, and they were all so warm from the very beginning. The team also helped us to transform our knowledge from a theoretical to a practical approach. We got to spend a few weeks in a fantastic school in Sunderland, where we’ve learned several valuable skills and teaching strategies from the UK education system.

To summarise our journey at the University of Sunderland, it’s been a transformative experience that’s specifically enriched our critical thinking skills and equipped us with tangible tools to foster an engaging and enjoyable educational environment.”

Published 6 February 2024

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