IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


A school in Madagascar by Milijaona Randrianarivelojisoa


More than Knowledge Transfer?

The wider benefits of postgraduate taught programmes for international development.

Syrian children learning

This project ran from 2017 to 2018.

The Sustainable Development Goals emphasise the potential value of international participation in higher education noting that by 2020, there should be a substantial global expansion in the number of scholarship programmes available to students from low income countries (Target 4b). There is also a growing literature evidencing the benefits to individual students of taking part in postgraduate education.

Much less is known about whether, and in what ways, students make use of their learning and whether or how they go on to support the wellbeing of others upon completion of their studies.

This small-scale exploratory study was undertaken to enhance institutional understanding about the influence or impact of IOE alumni on international development, particularly with regard to promoting sustainable lifestyles, gender equity, quality education, and health and wellbeing.

Project team

Principle Investigators

Project Research Team


The survey and interview data suggest former students who studied on an EID-cluster programme benefitted from the programmes in a number of ways.

Knowledge gained about content and topics related to education and international development was of clear value to most former students.

As important, however, were other elements of the programmes such as:

  • the values which informed teaching
  • a critical awareness of development issues
  • learning alongside co-students (from a range of country contexts)
  • the networking and career development opportunities offered.
Research questions

The research sought to answer the following questions:

  • What do former students value about their experience of studying an MA programme in education and international development in London?
  • How (if at all) do they consider their experiences to have affected their own personal and professional development?
  • How do they feel that their experiences on the MA have influenced the extent to which they have been able to support the wellbeing of others?
  • What factors affect the extent to which former students are able to draw on their experiences of the MA in order to bring about positive change to the lives of others?

Image: Russel Watkins/UK Department of International Development via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)