With UNIMENTA, TransformELT completed an external programme evaluation for the Asian University for Women. This involved looking at past, current and future course provision, and included reviewing pre-application, application, and entry procedures; the written curriculum; course progression; observing classes for a range of years and subjects; and analysing the administrative context and processes. Alan Mackenzie conducted and videoed observations, audio-recorded focus group and individual interviews with students and key staff members. The audio and video records were transcribed and analysed and an extensive list of achievement and recommendations for action were itemised.
The Asian University for Women is an extraordinary institution. The only international university in Bangladesh, it sources staff locally, but also from India, the US, UK, China and many other countries. Many of the students at the university are from underprivileged backgrounds in rural or migrant communities including Rohingya, displaced Afghans, Chinese Muslims, and workers from the garment industry. All of these places at the university are fully sponsored by local and international companies (including Microsoft, Nike, Adidas). Over twenty nationalities are represented at the campus in Chittagong where these highly motivated students thrive in a multilingual environment.
This institutional evaluation was fascinating because of the stunning quality of learning happening within the institution, the tremendous motivation of the learners to acquire skills and return to their communities as agents for social change, as well as the forthright way in which the school was willing to tackle its own issues constructively and systemically.