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The CDFE project is an EU-funded project under the TEMPUS stream. This provides for research and knowledge exchange between institutions in the EU and those in neighbouring regions. In the case of CDFE there are 14 partners (listed at bottom of page) of which the Open University is one.

Faculties of Education typically have an internal focus on the degrees and courses they offer students and an external focus on education sector in the country or countries in which they operate. This is manifested in working with schools and colleges and their teachers and in situating learning with the context of the workplace and the education system. This naturally leads to faculties working in partnership with schools and educational groups. It is in this area that the project is seeking to develop capacity.

The overarching domain for the project is that of teacher education and in developing the work of faculties in their work in this in partnership with schools, colleges and teachers. This can be broken down into three sub-domains – practicum, teacher professional development and action research.



Practicum is the main focus for pre-service education and is that part of teacher education that involves practice in the classroom. Teacher professional development (or CPD - continuous professional development) is then considered to be the focus for in-service education. Action research overlaps with both of these, as shown in the diagram. In pre-service work, student teachers may devise small scale enquiries to explore methods and approaches in the classroom. In in-service work, teachers, departments or whole schools may devise similar or wider-scale research. These are both examples of action research in the context of practicum and CPD respectively. Deeper study may be undertaken by teachers following doctoral courses.


The objectives of the project are to explore theses processes of action research, professional development and practicum in partnerships of faculties of education and schools and within the education systems of partner countries more widely. Methods include study visits from Middle East/North Africa (MENA) partners to EU institutions, exchange visits between MENA partners, and visits by EU partners to MENA institutions. The first of these has already happened, the second is about to happen (mid 2014) and the last takes place in early 2015.

Outputs from the project are a set of analytical reports on the current situation in each of the three processes (completed in Spring 2013 with OU leading on action research), agreed protocols for partnerships between HEIs and schools (OU leading this process), a training conference in Cairo in October 2014 (OU working with others on action research strand), a special issue of Compare for research publications, a set of reports, videos etc capturing the work of MENA partners and case studies of MENA partners.

The OU is leading on aspects of action research and has hosted visits from Lebanon and Egypt. It will be responsible for developing case studies of the Palestinian universities, in conjunction with staff there.


Pete Bradshaw

4 February 2014


The CDFE project, number 530614-TEMPUS-1-2012-1-EG-TEMPUS-JPHES, is funded by the European Union under the TEMPUS scheme.


  • UK (Open University, Institute of Education, University of Leicester)
  • University of Malta
  • Sweden (University of Stockholm)
  • Egypt (American University of Cairo, Universities of Helwan, Assiut and Alexandria, the Professional Academy of Teachers)
  • Lebanon (Université St Joseph,American University of Beirut)
  • Palestine (Al Najah National University, University of Birzeit)