Benin minister explores partnership with Oswego

An educational delegation from Benin visits OswegoRafiatou Karimou, Benin’s minister of primary and secondary education, met with SUNY Oswego administrators and School of Education faculty recently during a weeklong visit to begin establishing a partnership with the college.

Karimou, Babiau Yolou, second vice minister, and Benoit Ahle, an inspector of education, joined her on the trip to the area, which included stops at schools in Fulton and Syracuse.

Dr. Alfred Frederick, professor of education, and Dr. Walter Opello, director of international education and programs, coordinated the visit.

Frederick previously met with Karimou in Benin in connection with his study of that country’s educational system and recommendations stemming from it. He has visited the West African country repeatedly on Fulbright grants.

The Benin delegation met with Dean of Education Linda Rae Markert, Provost Susan Coultrap-McQuin, President Deborah F. Stanley and several faculty in the School of Education, Frederick said. Discussions involved creating a teacher-training program linking SUNY Oswego with Benin’s education ministry to provide teachers there with a stronger foundation in teaching methods.

“Seventy percent of teachers in Benin have no training in pedagogy,” Opello said.

The minister and Oswego administrators discussed establishing an ongoing training partnership, he said. “We would send our faculty to Benin for a set of courses that we would give, and they would send some school inspectors here for a summer program so that they could go back and serve as teacher trainers,” Opello explained.

“This would be different from most of our partnerships” in that it would not involve students studying abroad, he said. He noted that it would meet one of his office’s objectives by exposing more Oswego faculty to international experience. “We’ll start looking for grant money to support it,” he added.

Karimou and her team also visited Lanigan Elementary School in Fulton and Henninger High School in Syracuse. Frederick organized a Friday evening reception for them at the Everson Museum in Syracuse complete with a number of performing artists who presented African and American music and dance, from traditional to classically inspired contemporary styles.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Benin delegation—Rafiatou Karimou (center), Benin’s minister of primary and secondary education, met with SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley and other Oswego faculty and administrators recently during a weeklong visit to begin establishing a partnership with the college. Second Vice Minister Babiau Yolou (left) and Benoit Ahle (second from right), an inspector of education, joined her in the visit, which was coordinated by Dr. Alfred Frederick (right), professor of education at Oswego.

(Posted: Oct 19, 2005)

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