Dr Ritesh Shah

PhD (Auckland), MA (1st Class Hons, Auckland), BSc (Stanford University, USA)

Biography

Born and raised in the United States to immigrant parents from India, Ritesh completed his undergraduate degree at Stanford University in Earth Systems (an interdisciplinary degree combining environmental science, policy and economics).  He then taught in primary and middle schools in Los Angeles for five years.  In 2005, he arrived in New Zealand as a Fulbright Graduate Student and completed his Masters in Development Studies in 2007.  In 2013, Ritesh joined the Faculty of Education and Social Work's academic staff after completing his doctorate.  

Most of his research occurs in international settings where changes in political, economic or social regimes driven by crises and/or conflict have lead to calls for significant reform to a nation’s education system. In the past decade, Ritesh has conducted research and consultancy work in Latin America, Southeast Asia, Oceania and the Middle East.  He has been contracted as an education and evaluation expert to a number of agencies including New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade's aid programme (formerly the NZ Aid Programme), Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade aid programme (Australian Aid), the World Bank, UNICEF, UNHCR, War Child, CARE, and Save the Children.   

Research | Current

My research is driven by the key global ambition, signalled in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), that all children inherit a world that is more just, equitable and peaceful than the one we inhabit today. I investigate how quality, relevant, inclusive education in conflict-affected contexts can contribute to this goal. Leading the Faculty’s work on Comparative and International Education (CIE) research, I bridge several disciplines—including sociology, politics, international relations, and anthropology—and two broad fields of study, education and development studies, to do so.  A significant aspect of my work involves bridging the academic-practice divide through applied research (commissioned reports and evaluations), which have demonstrable impact on communities of practice internationally.  The commendation for my Early Career Research Excellence Award awarded in 2017 notes, “he undertakes this innovative andgroundbreaking research and scholarship, not because it will further his career but because he wishes to make a difference to vulnerable populations caught up in the aftermath of international conflicts and disasters.

At present, I am working on a range of different research projects which include:

  • The role of teachers/supporting teachers well-being in times of conflict
  • Private philanthropy within education in emergency settings
  • The role of CIE coursework in shaping student identities
  • Consequences of school based management reforms in conflict-affected contexts
  • Alternative learning pathways for out of school children and youth in humanitarian settings
  • Multi-stakeholder partnerships in education (i.e. Education Cannot Wait, Global Partnership for Education)
  • Alternative paradigms to the "literacy crisis" in Oceania

Teaching | Current

My teaching is heavily influenced by constructivist and critical pedagogies. Several key attributes are part of this include:

  1. Learning must be relevant and contextualised in experiences of both the teacher and the learner;
  2. Good teaching is about passion and deep knowledge of content and the theoretical debates underpinning that content;
  3. Teaching practice needs to be reflexive and reflective through appropriate utilisation of student feedback, peer observation, and research on ones’ own teaching, as well as contemporary knowledge of research on teaching praxis;
  4. Good teaching needs to inspire students to ask critical and thoughtful questions of the world they live in, and to develop the skills to effectively explore such questions independently; and
  5. Good teaching is underpinned by appropriate scaffolding and support for all learners’ needs.

At present I teach on the following courses in the Faculty of Education and Social Work:

Postgraduate supervision

I believe that good supervision practice involves:

  1. Providing students with timely and ongoing feedback;
  2. Directing students to relevant resources, individuals, institutions and support networks;
  3. Fostering intellectual independence through a carefully scaffolded process by which the student gains increasing ownership of their research project; and
  4. Successful completion to high standards that affords students opportunities for further study and/or employment opportunities

Below are a list of the students and the range of topics I have and continue to supervise to date.  

 

Summary of completed supervisions

 

Name of student

Thesis topic

Degree earned

Completion year

Role in supervision

Hester Mostert

Challenges to accessing basic education in Papua New Guinea

M Ed

2013

Co supervisor

Maria Teresa Paz

Educational policies in Chile: The impact of decentralisation

M Prof Studies in Ed

2014

Main supervisor

Lily Manohoran

Conceptions of quality within tertiary education policy in NZ

M Ed

2014

Main supervisor

John Mackisack

Soft Power through Scholarships Provision in Aceh

M Arts (Development Studies)

2014

Main supervisor

Semahar Gebremarian

Ethiopian refugee families' experience of NZ education

M Ed

2015

Main supervisor

Farzana Noorzai

Representations of Islam in NZ Media

M Prof Studies in Ed

2015

Co supervisor

Jun Hong

Shadow Education in Korea: Challenges for equity

M Arts (Ed)

2016

Main supervisor

Roseanne Paterson

Gendered outcomes of TVET in Papua New Guinea

M Arts (Development Studies)

2016

Main supervisor

Lyda Hak

Outcomes and experiences of TVET students in two colleges in Cambodia

M Arts (Development Studies)

2016

Main supervisor

Donella Cobb

Promoting learner centred pedagogy through open-distance learning

PhD

2017

Co supervisor

Victoria O'Sullivan

Critical discourse analysis of SDG Target 4.7

M Ed

2017

Main supervisor

Jeffrey Sabour

Using participatory action research in South Auckland for community development

M Arts (Development Studies)

2017

Main supervisor

Summary of current supervisions

Name of student

Thesis topic

Degree

Enrolment date

Role in supervision

Tania Fu

Constructs of "citizenship" in global education policy

M Ed

2017

Main supervisor

Daniel Couch

The disassembly and assembly of Afghan Higher Education

PhD

2015

Co supervisor

Yagya Raj Pant

Disaster Risk Reduction Curriculum Implementation in Nepal

PhD

2015

Co supervisor

Lisa Dyson

School self-review processes and opportunities for evaluation capacity building

PhD

2014

Co supervisor

Teresinha Soares

Teaching scientific literacy in Timor-Leste pre-secondary schools

PhD

2015

Co supervisor

Yulida Pangastuti

Perspectives on early childhood education in Eastern Indonesia

PhD

2015

Main supervisor

Wendy Choo

The making of citizens in Myanmar: Perceptions of youth

PhD

2016

Main supervisor

 

 

Distinctions/Honours

  • 2017 Early Career Research Excellence Award: One of six academics across the University of Auckland recognised for excellence in research.
  • 2011 U21 Student Mobility Scholarship: Award granted by University of Auckland to undertake collaborative research with a colleague at the University of Amsterdam for ten days.
  • 2010 New Zealand Aid Postgraduate Research Grant: Award granted for costs incurred while conducting fieldwork.
  • 2009 TEC Bright Futures Scheme Top Achiever Doctoral Scholarship: A fully funded scholarship to complete doctoral study at The University of Auckland. This scholarship is awarded to the top 10% of all doctoral candidates in New Zealand.
  • 2005 Fulbright US Graduate Student Award: Awarded one of ten scholarships (out of a total of 250 applications) to study in New Zealand for one year as an American postgraduate scholar at The University of Auckland.

Responsibilities

  • Chair, CRSTIE Research Committee
  • Member, CRSTIE Senior Leadership Team
  • Member, Development Studies Programme Advisory Board
  • Member, Latin American Studies Programme Advisory Board
  • Member, Faculty Research Committee
  • Former member, CRSTIE Postgraduate Committee
  • Member, Research Unit for Pacific and International Education
  • Former member, Faculty of Education Postgraduate Research Approvals and Examinations Committee

Areas of expertise

  • Education and international development
  • Comparative and International Education
  • Education and globalsation
  • Governance of education
  • Education, peacebuilding and social justice
  • Educational policy studies
  • Monitoring and evaluation

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Shah, R. (2017). Improving children's wellbeing: An evaluation of NRC's better learning programme in Palestine. Oslo: Norwegian Refugee Council. Related URL.
  • Lopes Cardozo, M. T. A., & Shah, R. A. (2016). A conceptual framework to analyse the multiscalar politics of education for sustainable peacebuilding. Comparative Education: an international journal of comparative studies, 52 (4).10.1080/03050068.2016.1220144
  • Lopes Cardozo, M. T. A., & Shah, R. (2016). ‘The fruit caught between two stones’: the conflicted position of teachers within Aceh's independence struggle †. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 14 (3), 331-344. 10.1080/14767724.2016.1145572
  • Shah, R., Maber, E., Lopes Cardozo, M. T. A., & Paterson, R. (2016). Peacebuilding, education and advocacy in conflict-affected contexts programme: UNICEF programme report 2012-2016. New York, USA: United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Related URL.
  • Shah, R., & Cardozo, M. T. L. (2016). Transformative teachers or teachers to be transformed? The cases of Bolivia and Timor-Leste. Research in Comparative and International Education, 11 (2), 208-221. 10.1177/1745499916633314
  • Higgins, S., Maber, E., Lopes Cardozo, M. T. A., & Shah, R. (2016). The role of education in peacebuilding: Myanmar. University of Amsterdam: Research Consortium on Education and Peacebuilding. Related URL.
  • Shah, R. (2015). Protecting children in a situation of ongoing conflict: Is resilience sufficient as the end product?. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 14, 179-185. 10.1016/j.ijdrr.2015.06.003
  • Shah, R. A. (2015). Norwegian Refugee Council's Accelerated Education Responses: A meta-evaluation. Oslo: Norwegian Refugee Council. Related URL.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/27669

Contact details

Office hours

By appointment

Primary office location

N - BLOCK. EPSOM - Bldg 6EN
Level 3, Room 361
EPSOM CAMPUS 74 EPSOM AVE
EPSOM
AUCKLAND 1023
New Zealand

Web links