Profiles of previously supervised students
Prof. Taro Komatsu
I have been working as a biology and science teacher in Croatia for a couple of years when I came to Japan as part of my professional development. There I developed an interest in education beyond teaching and I came across Professor Komatsu's work. I am particularly interested in the relationship between education and social issues such as gender equality, women's rights, and social justice.
During my time at Sophia University, I shaped my views on education and fostered a multidisciplinary approach. In addition to the courses at the Department of Education, I often took courses from other departments as well as from United Nations University in Tokyo which gave me a valuable insight into the work of the cardinal international organization and its perspectives on education. Moreover, I presented my research at the International Educational Development Forum in Tokyo and earned a Joint Diploma from Sophia University and United Nations University together with my Master's degree. Studying at Sophia has been a valuable experience also because of the multicultural environment and discussion-oriented approach in small groups where everybody was given the opportunity to speak out.
Unfortunately, due to the global pandemic during my 2nd year, the opportunities to become involved in practical work or internships were scarce, but luckily the classes at Sophia went on online uninterruptedly. At the moment, I am in Europe where I was offered a position at an international school.
My name is Flora from Myanmar (Burma). As I was stepping into the field of education, I wanted to learn about how our country can be developed through education. Being affected by internal conflict (both violent and non-violent), Myanmar needs education and educators that could bring peace. And I wanted to become one of such educators. Hence, I decided to pursue Master’s in Education at Sophia University, with the focus on educational development. In Sophia University’s education program, courses related to International Education and Educational development are offered in English. Wide range of elective courses conducted in English are also offered from other faculties. We had good opportunity to learn from professors who are not only academic scholars but also practitioners. This enhances our learning experiences beyond theories. Occasionally, we were also provided with opportunities to learn from visiting scholars, professors, and practitioners from abroad. Moreover, I was fortunate to study together with both Japanese and international students who come from different countries of Asia, Africa, America and Europe. That gave us opportunity to learn some educational and cultural practices from each other’s country. Having studied in Education program at Sophia University prepared me to share about how school education could impact peace and conflict, and consequently development with student teachers at a teacher training school in Myanmar where I will be teaching.
Fred Emmanuel Sato
My name is Fred Emmanuel Sato and I come from Malawi. When I decided to advance my academic knowledge on how education impacts development and came across Sophia University Department of Education’s curriculum, it fitted well into my ambition. Graduate studies at the department extensively cover content on education and development including education in emergencies, global citizenship education, inclusive education, comparative education and educational research. Sophia University is a truly international institution with a lot of English-speaking students, staff and, therefore, English support for international students. During seminars, professors gave us time and freedom to share content-related insights from our respective countries. This gave me rich knowledge on education in different contexts, developed and developing alike.
The department also offered me information and other opportunities through my supervisor Professor Taro Komatsu. I attended a conference organized by the Japan Society on African Education Research (JSAER) at the International Christian University in Tokyo, travelled on an research support trip to Cape Town, South Africa and had an internship opportunity with UNESCO in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Through a special academic arrangement that Sophia University has with the United Nations University (UNU) in Tokyo, I studied for a joint intensive Diploma in Sustainability Science alongside my MA. I learnt a lot about the UN System and sustainable development.
Sophia University’s Department of Education gave me the knowledge and experience I needed, and even more. I would not hesitate to urge anyone looking to study education and development to join the Department.
I had been volunteering and teaching in Thailand for four years, during which I became particularly interested in the use of educational aid as a means of cooperation between Asian countries. Following this, I discovered Prof. Komatsu's research direction and I believe it to be an excellent fit for me because of its emphasis on understanding how education affects social cohesion and peace, as well as international aid to education.
Through my studies in the fields of education and international development, I have gained a theoretical understanding of educational issues and their relationship with poverty, conflicts and diversity in developing countries. By exploring how these issues can be addressed from both domestic and international perspectives, I have become more aware of the importance of enhancing the quality of education through teacher capacity-building and by making improvements to curriculum design and assessment systems. As part of my master’s research, I conducted an independent study on Japan’s educational assistance to Thai universities.
During the summer break of 2019 I joined UNESCO Bangkok as the first intern from Sophia University. Thanks to this internship, I was able to acquire an in-depth understanding and the practical experience necessary for the coordination and organization of educational improvement activities. During the preparation of UNESCO’s regional seminars and meetings, I further developed my communication and writing skills as I was assigned to liaise with participants, engage in advocacy, and produce outreach materials. All the new skills, knowledge and information I gained from my internship with UNESCO will be very helpful in pursuing my study as well as in developing my future career. Currently, I am in the final stage of the hiring process with an EdTech company in Tokyo, but the situation has been significantly delayed because of COVID-19.