Research

My research interests are in the area of identity construction and education and the ways this impacts on social relations, cohesion and conflict. Theoretically, this is approached through ‘identity and difference’. In my theoretical framing, I am interested in the intersection of identities, in particular, gender, religion (Islam), ethnicity and age (youth). Given this broader focus on the role of education in the construction of individuals, groups and societies, I'm interested in education policy and curriculum texts, and teachers and their education. I have researched these areas using qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods.

Research Projects

My doctoral research (2004-2007) was an exploration of citizenship education in Pakistan using an ‘identity and difference’ lens. The study investigated the interaction of Pakistani national identity with religion, gender and ethnicity and looked at the implications of these interactions for social cohesion, tolerance for diversity, and gender relations in Pakistan.

Current projects: 

Higher education and youth citizenship in Pakistan - PI - funded by the University of Sussex

ESRC/DFID funded project (2014-2016; £453,000.00), Engaging teachers in peacebuilding in postconflict contexts: evaluating education interventions in Rwanda and South Africa.

 

Completed Projects

UNICEF funded Consortium Research Consortium on Education and Peacebuilding in Pakistan, Uganda, Myanmar, Rwanda and South Africa (July 2014-June 2016) PI - Professor Mario Novelli). I lead the research team in Pakistan. 

Research for EDOREN (Education Data, Research and Evaluation In Nigeria) (Feb 2013 - May 2014) funded by DFID/Oxfor Policy Management. This operational research project focused directly on the Female Teacher Trainee Scholarship Scheme (FTTSS) funded by the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID) (Joint PI with Professor Mairead Dunne). 

A rigorous review on 'Pedagogy, Curriculum, Teaching Practices and Teacher Education in Low- and Middle-income Countries’ (with Dr Jo Westbrook - PI, Rhona Brown, Dr David Orr, Dr John Pryor and Dr Janet Boddy), funded by DFID (Jan 2013-Oct 2013).

‘Youth as Active Citizens (YAC) for their Rights to Education and Sexual And Reproductive Health Rights’. This two-phase study was commissioned by Oxfam Novib (2011-2012) to inform, shape and strengthen their work with Oxfam country offices, local partner organisations and youth. 

I have worked on a ‘Systematic review on the impacts and cost effectiveness of strategies to improve the performance of untrained and under-trained teachers in the classroom in developing countries’ (2011-2012;  funded by the Australian Agency for International Development).

My post-doctoral research project (2008-2010) at the University of Central Lancashire was entitled ‘Every Student Counts: Promoting Numeracy and Enhancing Employability’ and was funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England. 

I have worked on evaluating the impact of social norms intervention on under-age sexual activity and alcohol use in secondary school students in the North East. The project was funded by the  NHS North East through their Workforce Development Innovation funding stream and was led by Anne McNall (Northumbria University).

 

Doctoral supervision

I welcome inquiries and applications from potential research students who share any of my research interests. I have supervised the following students:

Susan Berdie Facilitation of adult literacy: a case within the Ghana National Functional Literacy Programme (completed 2017)

Tsuyoshi Fukao - Teacher Motivation and Incentives in Cambodia (completed 2016)

Evelyn Oduro - Assessment in mathematics classrooms in Ghana: a study of teachers' practices (completed 2015)

Peter Wright Teaching mathematics for social justice: translating theories into practice (completed 2015)

Jane Jerrard  - What does “quality” look like for post-2015 education provision in low-income countries? An exploration of stakeholders’ perspectives of school benefits in village LEAP schools, rural Sindh, Pakistan (Completed 2014)

Kathleen Moriarty Cultural hegemony or transformation: (un)contested assumptions and ideas in the post-2015 global education Policy

Akiko Hanaya - Teacher education quality assurance policy making in India: construction of policy of accreditation of teacher education institutions

James D Williams - Teachers' understanding of the nature of science.

Albert Tarmo - Secondary science school teachers engagement with constructivist pedagogies in Tanzania

Gunjan Wadhwa - Children’s access to education in areas of civil unrest in India

 

Papers presented at international conferences

Dynamics of gender justice conflict and social cohesion: Analysing educational reform in Pakistan. 14th UKFIET (United Kingdom Forum for International Education and Training) Conference Learning and Teaching for Sustainable Development: Curriculum, Cognition and Context, University of Oxford,  5 – 7 September, 2017.

Curriculum texts for social cohesion in post-conflict contexts: insights from Rwanda and South Africa 14th UKFIET (United Kingdom Forum for International Education and Training) Conference Learning and Teaching for Sustainable Development: Curriculum, Cognition and Context, University of Oxford,  5 – 7 September, 2017.

Understanding agency differently: female youth’s Muslim identities, BSA Annual Conference 2017 Recovering the Social: Personal Troubles and Public Issues, University of Manchester, 4-6 April 2017

Official knowledge, citizenship identities and social cohesion in Pakistan. 4th International Conference on Research in Education (ICORE 2016), Institute of Education and Research, University of the Punjab, Lahore-Pakistan November 23-25, 2016 (Invited keynote).

Educational decentralisation and social cohesion in Pakistan from the lens of sustainable peacebuilding, The XVI World Congress of Comparative Education Societies Conference: Dialectics of Education: Comparative Perspectives, 22-26 August, 2016,  Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China.

Teacher agency for social cohesion in Pakistan,  4th International Conference on ‘Education in Pakistan: Connecting Research and Practice across Context’, 24th – 26th March 2016, University of Education, Lahore (Invited keynote).

Fracturing the nation: Muslim youth accounts of belonging in Nigeria, Pakistan, and Senegal, Presentation within Sociology of Youth thematic group on Muslim Youth, Contemporary Challenges and Future Prospects, Third International Sociology Association Forum on Sociology. Vienna, 10-14 July (with M. Dunne & B. Crossouard)

Engaging teachers in peacebuilding in conflict affected contexts: insights from Pakistan. Comparative International Education Society Conference 2016, Six Decades of Comparative and International Education: Taking Stock and Looking Forward, Vancouver, Canada, 6th – 10th March 2016 (with Anjum Halai)

Shifting Youth Identities? Nation building and education in Pakistan, Comparative and International Education Society 2016, Six Decades of Comparative and International Education: Taking Stock and Looking Forward, Vancouver, Canada, 6th – 10th March 2016 (with L. Kadiwal)

 Establishing national citizens: distinguishing the nation, 13th UKFIET (United Kingdom Forum for International Education and Training) International Conference on “Learning for Sustainable Futures – Making the Connections” , University of Oxford, 15-17 September 2015.

Methodological framework: the role of education for youth agency in relation to building sustainable peaceful futures in Pakistan/Myanmar, 13th UKFIET (United Kingdom Forum for International Education and Training) International Conference on “Learning for Sustainable Futures – Making the Connections” , University of Oxford, 15-17 September 2015 (with Lopez Cardozo, M. A., Higgins, S. and Kadiwal, L.

Youth narratives of ‘us’ and ‘them’ in Pakistan: the intersection of gender, religion and ethnicity, The British Sociological Association Annual Conference (BSA) 2015, Glasgow Caledonian University, 15-17 April 2015

Recasting teachers’ pedagogy and practices in developing countries: a rigorous literature review of ‘what works’ post 2015, The British Association of International and Comparative Education (BAICE) 2014 Conference, “Power, Politics and Priorities for Comparative and International Education”, University of Bath, 8th - 10th September 2015 (with Westbrook, J.)

 Seeking a fit between teachers’ practice, curricular aspiration and students’ learning in low- income countries: Insights from extensive literature reviews, British Educational Research Association Annual Conference (BERA), University of Sussex, Brighton,  3rd -5th September   2013.

Shaping citizenship in Pakistan: curriculum spaces and contextual constraints, XV Comparative Education World Congress WCCES2013 held at the Facultad de Ciencias Económicas de la Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina, June 24 - 28, 2013 (With M Dunne).

A review of strategies to improve performance of untrained and under-trained teachers in low and middle income countries?, The 57th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Society (CIES), University at Albany, New Orleans, 10-15 March 2013 (With John Pryor, Jo Westbrook and David Orr).

Telecare services in the North East of England: current provision and preliminary findings, Complexity and Multidiscipline: New Approaches to Health, Instituto de Ciencias Nucleares, UNA, Mexico City, 16 -19 April 2012, Mexico.

Curriculum and the construction of national identities in Pakistan, Impact or Impasse: Postgraduate Research Beyond Academia, The Eighth Annual College of Arts and Social Sciences Postgraduate Conference, University of Aberdeen, 20-21 July 2011, Aberdeen(invited talk).

Youth and competing narratives of national belonging: exploration of citizenship in three Muslim contexts, The Third International Education Conference on Education and Citizenship in a Globalising World,19-20 November 2010, Institute of Education, London (with K. Fincham and M. Dunne).

Curriculum and national identity: exploring the links between religion and nation in Pakistan, paper presented at the session, “Historical Consciousness and Cultural Identities in a Globalizing World: Changing Roles of School History?”,  21st International Congress of HistoricalSciences, 22-28 August 2010, Amsterdam (with M. Dunne).

Campus-wide: comparing undergraduates’ conceptions of mathematics and their attitudes and approaches to developing numeracy skills, The CETL-MSOR (Continuing Excellence in the Teaching & Learning of Mathematics, Statistics & Operational Research) Conference 2009, 7-8 September 2009, The Open University, Milton Keynes (with V. Tariq).

Relationships between undergraduates’ mathematics anxiety and their attitudes towards developing numeracy skills and perceptions of numerical competence, ICERI 2009 International Conference of Education Research and Innovation, 16-18 November 2009, Madrid, Spain (with V. Tariq).

Identity wars and the Pakistani Curriculum. The British Association for International and Comparative Education (BAICE) Annual Conference on Internationalisation in Education: Culture, Context and Difference, University of Glasgow, 4-6 September 2008 (with M. Dunne).

Employers’ and students’ perspectives on the importance of numeracy skills in the context of graduate employability. CETL-MSOR  Annual Conference 2008, Lancaster University, 8-9 September 2008 (with V. Tariq).

Educating the ‘other’: representation of gender and national identities in Pakistani curriculum texts. 9th International UK Forum for International Education and Training (UKFIET) Conference on Education and Development, University of Oxford, 11-13 September 2007.

Forging identities through schooling: tensions and contradictions between religious and national identities in Pakistan. The Seventh International Conference on Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Amsterdam, 03-06 July.