MA student awarded academic excellence prize

Karima Enajah’s research focused on education and democracy and she is now putting her learning into practice

By Dr Namrata Rao

The School of Education Prize for ‘Academic Excellence on a Taught Postgraduate Programme’ was awarded on 23rd January to MA Education student, Karima Enajah for achieving the highest overall mark on the Masters programmes offered by School of Education.

Karima’s dissertation, entitled ‘What are we really teaching when teaching to the test?’, completed under the supervision of Dr Naomi Hodgson, was driven by her interest in the role of education in shaping democratic identities.  Having experienced the damaging effects of teaching to the test culture in schools in North Africa and the UK, both as a student and later as a teacher, Karima in her Masters research, was keen to establish the practices associated with teaching to the test as well as locating them within the broader context of policies. Her research confirmed the detrimental impact the testing culture can have on the intellectual and democratic development of pupils. Her research highlighted that the practice is possibly a deliberate attempt to shape intellectually incompetent citizens, which helps to maintain and reproduce the status quo.

Karima was accompanied by her son and grandmother on the day to receive this award. Speaking of her experience on the Masters’ programme, she emphasised the value the degree had offered in deepening her knowledge, opening her up to multiple perspectives, strengthening her resolve to stand up for what she believed in and, most importantly, giving her the confidence to take on challenges she had previously avoided.

During my first term at Hope I began to seriously doubt my decision to pursue a Masters degree. I was forced to reconsider and question the opinions I had and practices I used, which left me feeling like I was unlearning all I knew. Despite this leaving me confused and frustrated at times, I can now appreciate this journey and am very thankful to my tutors who forced me in to that position. I can now say that I am much more certain in all decisions I make.

Karima Enajah, MA Education, 2019/20

Karima is now working as a teacher in an international school in Istanbul.  Drawing on her learning from the Masters programme, she has been instrumental in creating the first ever positive behaviour policy for the school and is now looking to develop a more culturally appropriate curriculum that is better suited to the school’s diverse student body.

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