International Cooperation in Education: in-service teacher training in East Timor

Type Working Paper - Research Centre for Didactics and Technology in Trainers Education, University of Aveiro, Portugal
Title International Cooperation in Education: in-service teacher training in East Timor
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
East Timor is a sovereign nation since 2002. Previously East Timor was a Portuguese colony for
450 years and in 1974 Indonesia illegally occupied the territory. In 1999, after a referendum
where the Timorese expressed their will to become independent, there was a period of severe
violence. Consequently, the country was almost ruined, and lost its qualified workforce in all
sectors, including education. To ensure national independence it is necessary to reconstruct
and build the basic infrastructures for all sectors, and mainly, prepare a technical and
professional elite expected to ensure the autonomy of the society and the sovereignty of the
state. In this context, education plays a key role. The transformation of an outdated and fragile
education system in East Timor is a critical factor required for ensuring the building of an
economically, culturally and politically sustainable future. The Timorese Government has
embarked upon several approaches to empower the national education, namely through
teacher education. Due to the lack of skilled professionals in education, East Timor has
resorted to the support of international cooperation with institutions such as the Aveiro
University, in Portugal. In this paper we describe and discuss how a module of a bachelor’s
course carried out in East Timor was designed and implemented by Portuguese teachers.
Moreover, we reflect upon the singularities of such experience, stressing the challenges and
the barriers found by the Portuguese trainers and the Timorese trainees. Opportunities for
future development strategies considering Timorese science education are also highlighted.

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