Behind the Scenes at SchoolX Series Part 1

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Behind the Scenes at SchoolX Series Part 1

Abdurrahman is the Pilot Project Coordinator in SchoolX. Besides his work at SchoolX, he is also a scholar at the Arab World’s largest education foundation (Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education)  and studying for a master degree at Koc University. At the same time, he is working as a Technical Research Assistant. Despite all these commitments, he plays an important role in rolling out the Pilot Project in SchoolX. 

During this interview, we chatted with him to understand some of his motivations for joining SchoolX, and some of his reflections about the work that he does behind the scenes, and on the ground. We posted him several questions in our chat. 

First and foremost, Abdurrahman, why did you join SchoolX?

Initially, when I first came to Turkey, I had no knowledge of Turkish at all. However, I understand that knowing the Turkish language is a necessity here. In the beginning, I was not able to integrate into the society, or build new bridges with the local people, or even feel a sense of belonging until I master the Turkish Language.

After I learnt the language, everything changed for me. I was able to start exploring new opportunities, make new friends and I no longer feel a sense of loneliness in where I was living. 

As a result of my experience, I believe that Education is a significant and important key and everyone should have access to it, regardless of their nationality, gender or colour of skin. As I believe that SchoolX’s mission relates to mine, I want to be an active part of SchoolX.

So how does your work in SchoolX look like? What part do you play in SchoolX?

In SchoolX, I lead the Pilot Project, which is an important and main project in SchoolX as we test out our hypotheses and strategies. The outcomes of the Pilot Project also determine how we will pivot the direction of SchoolX.

While I lead the project, I will not consider myself as the Pilot Project Leader. Instead, I consider myself as the spokesperson. In SchoolX, we divide the tasks in a democratic manner so that everyone will work together as a team. This increases the quality of work.

Indeed, the Pilot Project is an important part of the SchoolX operations. I believe that the journey must not be easy for you. Can you describe some of the challenges that you face during your work?  

First and foremost, there are some initial difficulties with matching students with the required teachers due to the number of parameters that has to be adjusted. For example, it is difficult to match a female teacher with a male student and vice versa due to some cultural differences. We had an abdunancy in male students and female teachers on the other hand, and this is why we worked to neutralise this by recruiting a more diverse beneficiary.

There is also a need to match teachers with younger students, and ensuring an appropriate age difference. Through working in a team, we are able to organise many meetings to discuss these challenges and adjust these parameters together. These serious findings are reported to the technology team of SchoolX to make sure our technology and matching algorithms are inclusive to accommodate such differences. 

On the other hand, as I am also working and studying at the same time, it is sometimes difficult to balance my work at SchoolX as well. However, through my belief that I am helping people, I am empowered to do better both in my studies and my work. As the Pilot Project needs very close monitoring, I trained myself to change my schedule to cope with being an active part of SchoolX. I developed the skill of multi-tasking to manage this balance.

Given that you manage to resolve so many challenges, and roll out the Pilot Project, can you share about some of the learning points that you gained from being in SchoolX.

There are quite a number of things I gained from being part of SchoolX. Besides expanding my network, I am also able to meet up with new people from other parts of the world and improve my communication and organisational skills. Most importantly, I am also able to give back to the society.

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Behind the Scenes at Schoolx Series Part 2