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Studying for my Bath master's in the Middle East

MA Education alumnus, Chris Jenkinson, talks about studying remotely at Bath and how it enabled him to further his career in the United Arab Emirates.

Chris Jenkinson graduated from the Master of Arts (MA) Education (Educational Leadership and Management).

Learning remotely

I did some research into studying remotely at a variety of universities. Bath was a little more expensive than some other master's courses, but I felt it would be worth spending the extra money. Bath offered an MA qualification which would be internationally recognised and the course aligned well with my study needs.

I was in full-time employment in the Middle East so studying on campus was not economically viable, as I would have had to take a career break. Studying remotely was a manageable option that offered a balance between my work and MA research commitments.

In order to get the most out of the MA course, I dedicated several evenings every week to research and worked long into the night. Studying remotely over a four year period while working full-time had its challenges and required self-motivation. Ultimately, I found the freedom of self-study rewarding at both a personal and professional level.

Why I chose Bath

I chose an MA in Education Leadership and Management because it would enhance my international career prospects.

When working in an international education environment, having an MA from an internationally recognised university is valuable. I had worked in both Singapore and Abu Dhabi in the Middle East, and there was an expectation that those in a position of leadership in education would have a master's or a PhD.

My employer at the time was Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC). In terms of career development, I felt that it was the right stage of my career to study a master's. There was an alignment between my work in education and research. Bath offered a study pathway that aligned well with my education specialisation.

Applying my skills to my career

Studying at Bath enabled me to further develop my skills as a researcher. In particular, correlating the literature against the development of reliable standardised assessment instruments which capture data about literacy standards in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

My MA at Bath enabled me to develop skills as a research writer. Specifically, in the presentation of complex data and findings in a format which is accessible to educators in the field.

Enjoying my career

My current job title is 'Expert' at the Ministry of Education in Dubai, working in the International Assessment Division.

What I love about my job is that I get to do research every day. I continue to specialise in reading literacy and conduct data analysis based on previous administrations of international tests such as PISA and PIRLS. No two days are the same and I get to work with internationally renowned research organisations.

Recently, I attended international conferences by the Institute of Economic Affairs and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. This focussed on constructing standardised research instruments to gather data on reading literacy, digital literacy, and critical thinking.

I continue to conduct research at a personal level and I'm presenting a white paper at the International Research Conference 2021 on digital reading literacy in the UAE.

My long-term goals

In the near future, the UAE will be administering further international tests to gather data on reading literacy, digital literacy, and creative thinking. My long-term career plans are to stay in the UAE and do further research on the results and to identify trends to inform system-level improvement.

My advice for prospective students

Educational research will allow you to develop both professionally and personally. I would advise prospective students to choose an education pathway which aligns well with their chosen career. Choose a study pathway which is of educational significance, where there is potential for system or school level improvement and which will help you develop professionally.

As a mature student, developing skills through a research-based approach requires commitment. Combining studying an MA and a career can present challenges, but the personal and professional rewards more than compensate for working late into the night!

Find out more about Master of Arts (MA) Education at Bath

MA Education