2011 TC Pressroom
Teachers College, Columbia University
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TC, Dominican Republic Set to Develop Partnership

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Paredes

Melanio Paredes, the Dominican Republic's Secretary of Education, and TC President Susan Fuhrman sign a letter of intent.

Teachers College has taken a major step in developing closer ties with the Dominican Republic. On December 2, President Susan Fuhrman signed a letter of intent with Melanio Paredes, the Dominican Republic’s Secretary of Education, which paves the way for TC and Dominican education officials to develop a partnership that will assist the Caribbean country in improving its educational system. 

The move comes just two months after Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernández visited Columbia University and met with TC Provost Thomas James and Director of International Affairs Portia Williams. During his visit, Fernández toured Columbia Secondary School, the new science-themed public school that Columbia University opened in 2007, to learn more about the school’s philosophy, which has been shaped by TC Professor Deanna Kuhn’s “Education for Thinking” model that emphasizes higher-order thinking and reasoning skills.

“[President Fernandez] was so interested in the Education for Thinking model at Teachers College … that he has asked me three times in the last month if I had come to Columbia to learn about the project and if I had met with Professor Deanna Kuhn,” Paredes said. “In fact, yesterday before I left for the United States, I met with the president and the first thing he asked me was: ‘Have you been to Columbia yet?’ I told him, ‘I leave this afternoon and tomorrow we sign the letter of intent.’

 “That is the great interest my government, the secretariat of education, and the academies and universities in my country have in this collaboration. We want to do something to change educational practice so that we have young people interested in pursuing their education, interested in their futures and who want to make education a lifelong endeavor.”

Fuhrman said that Kuhn’s work is an excellent foundation on which to base the collaboration, and added that the signing of the letter of intent signaled to her that “we see great potential in working with one another to achieve the goals that we share.”

“We’re excited by the opportunity to collaborate with you,” Fuhrman told Paredes. “It’s certainly fits into the broader agenda that I’ve pursued of making many partnerships and joint efforts around the world to further learning across cultures and further improvement of education for young people.”

Kuhn met with Paredes and other education officials before the signing ceremony at TC to begin the process of outlining the College’s involvement. Already, there is tentative agreement that the collaboration should focus on middle schools, she said, and that it should extend over a number of years. Kuhn will travel to the Dominican Republic in February for another round of discussions with ministry of education officials.

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