West African nation's education system benefiting from professor's book

Dr. Alfred Frederick, a professor of curriculum and instruction at SUNY Oswego, is the author of a book that will be used by the West African nation of Benin to train teachers and improve its educational system.

The book was recently published in French and English by the Centre National de Production de Manuels Scolaire in association with Benin’s Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. Its English title is “The Integration of Language, School, and Community: Bridging the Gap Between Home and School.”

“The importance of this book is that it’s going to be used,” said Frederick. “The results of this research with suggestions and recommendations for improving the schooling process is being disseminated to 7,500 school inspectors, head teachers and pedagogic counselors throughout Benin,” he said.

“The school inspectors are going to use the framework for monitoring, assessing and improving the schooling process in their faculty development activities,” he explained. “It is the school inspectors who organize teacher training activities.”

The U.S. Agency for International Development purchased the book, and Frederick used the proceeds to establish the Sallie Frederick Foundation for Teacher Training in Benin, in honor of his late mother.

The Oswego professor conducted research on Benin’s educational system over several years as a Fulbright Scholar and Fulbright Visiting Specialist. The country’s current minister of education, Evelyne Sossouhounto-Kaneho, was his research assistant from 1999 to 2002.

He initiated Project CLIMB—Collaborative Link for Instructor Mentoring in Benin—as a group effort involving educators in Benin and SUNY Oswego.

Six professors from SUNY Oswego’s School of Education traveled to Benin in July to deliver workshops and training, and another group expects to go next summer.

Next on Frederick’s agenda is transporting his Benin work to Brazil. The assessment instruments developed in the West African nation have been translated into Portuguese, he said, and he plans to use them in three regions of the South American nation to improve its public school system and teacher practice.

The Federal University of Santa Maria in Brazil has invited him to conduct this work there next year, he said. He taught there for seven years before he joined SUNY Oswego in 1985.

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(Posted: Nov 29, 2006)