HEP-TED combines expertise and professional experience of Rwandan and Finnish higher education institutions. Learn more about the project members and their backgrounds below.
Project administrators

Text about who administrates the project and who to contact

University of Helsinki | Faculty of Educational Sciences
Project coordinators at the University of Helsinki

Role in HEP-TED

Hanna Kontio is the HEP-TED project lead at the University of Helsinki and a key expert in the pedagogy team.

Background and experience

She holds a PhD and title of Docent at the Faculty of Educational Sciences at University of Helsinki. Hanna has a long experience in international academic collaboration particularly in African countries. Her current research interests are related to international higher education, North-South partnerships and higher education pedagogies. She contributes to the leads & coordinators team and the pedagogical team of the HEP-TED project.

Role in HEP-TED

Aino Okinyo works as a project coordinator at the HEP-TED project. 

Background and experience

She holds a master degree in global development from the University of Helsinki, and has experience in global development projects as well as project management and communications.

Key experts at the University of Helsinki

Role in HEP-TED

Elizabeth Eta is a key expert in pedagogical team. 

Background and experience

Elizabeth holds a PhD in Educational Sciences from the University of Turku. Her research interests include higher education policy, comparative and international education, North-South academic partnerships, and global-local dynamics in education development, especially focusing on the diffusion, reception, and translation of global education policies at local levels.


Role in HEP-TED

Päivi Kinnunen is a key expert in HEP-TED and is part of the pedagogical team. She works together with others to provide the pedagogical training units for teaching staff members. 

Background and experience

Working as a Senior University Lecturer at the University of Helsinki, Päivi has a long work experience in higher education pedagogy research and higher education teacher training. She is working at the Centre for University Teaching and Learning (HYPE) at University of Helsinki which is an active research group that also provides the pedagogical training for all staff members at the University of Helsinki. 

Role in HEP-TED

Nico Stockmann is a key expert in the management team. 

Background and experience


Role in HEP-TED

Sai Väyrynen is a key expert in the pedagogical team. She works together with the University of Rwanda, College of Education and Rwanda Polytechnic in reviewing existing institutional policies related to inclusion, in particular in aspects of disability, gender, and language(s). She will also be involved in evaluating what kind of baseline studies would be useful to capture the essential aspects for inclusion in higher education.

Background and experience

Sai’s research background in solidly grounded on inclusive education since the early 1990s, which is complemented by her working experience from many countries on the African continent. For HEP-TED, Sai has been facilitating the initial negotiations between different stakeholders at the governmental level, up to contributing to the HEP-TED project proposal.

Jamk University of Applied Sciences
Project coordinators at Jamk University of Applied Sciences

Role in HEP-TED

As part of the HEP-TED project, Eila Burns' role is multifaceted, encompassing two distinct yet interconnected tasks. Firstly, she is the Institutional Team Leader at Jamk, supporting and enhancing smooth progress of all project-related tasks. Secondly, she works as a Key Expert, collaborating with other experts to drive specific project activities. 

Background and experience

Her professional journey leading up to this project has been rich and diverse. As a teacher educator, Eila has accumulated extensive experience in facilitating adult learning within multicultural environments. Additionally, her research focuses on innovative learning approaches, including work-oriented learning and participatory digital pedagogy. 

Role in HEP-TED

Kirsi Kesänen is the project coordinator of the Jamk University of Applied Sciences. 

Role in HEP-TED

Heidi Oikari works as a financial coordinator for HEP-TED at Jamk's School of Professional Teacher Education. Her role is mainly to administer the financial coordination of the project within Jamk, but also to collaborate and strengthen the cross-institutional network of the higher education institutions participating in the project.

Background and experience

Heidi's background in relation to HEP-TED is that she has worked as a project coordinator in Jamk School of Professional Teacher Education since 2022. She has coordinated many international projects, also the Higher Education Institutions Institutional Cooperation Instrument projects referred as “HEI ICI”, which are funded and administrated by the same organisations as HEP-TED, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and and the Finnish National Agency for Education (EDUFI).

Key experts from Jamk University of Applied Sciences

Role in HEP-TED

Siru Lehto is a principal lecturer at Jamk and a key expert in the HEP-TED project. 

Background and experience

Siru’s areas of expertise include planning and implementation of competence-based teacher education programmes, competence-based curriculum development work (and related research) and development of competence-based and criterion-referenced assessment culture and practices. Additionally, she is an expert in developing teacher education, professional pedagogy, student-centered pedagogy and learning design, learning at work and cooperation with working life. Besides her experience on teaching (over 15 years) both at the secondary and tertiary levels, she has extensive experience of educational administration and HR from the Finnish Ministry of Education and the Finnish Ministry of Finance (years 2001-2009).

Role in HEP-TED

Mari Petäjä is a key expert in HEP-TED, especially focused on the use of diversified pedagogies for digital learning in teacher education. 

Background and experience

Mari has been working as a senior lecturer in higher education for over 15 years. Her background is in health studies, and she is currently working as a teacher educator in professional teacher education. Mari's experience is in developing new pedagogical solutions, and learning designs, as well as facilitating and guiding learning processes using different methods. She has applied online environments for learning, working, and collaborating with both student groups and professionals from different fields. Additionally, she has been working as a researcher in the field of health sciences.

Role in HEP-TED

In the HEP-TED project, Hanna Pernu is a key expert and focues especially on the activities related to the use of diversified pedagogies for digital learning in teacher education.

Background and experience

Currently Hanna works as a senior lecturer at Jamk. She holds a Master of Science in Health Science and her expertise is in teaching and learning in digital environments, learning design, competence-based learning, curriculum development, and student-centered learning. At the moment Hanna is responsible for initial and in-service teacher training. Additionally, she has over 10 years of experience in the field of vocational education and training (VET) and competence-based qualifications (rehabilitation), knowledge in VET teacher education and pedagogical development.

Rwanda Polytechnic
Project coordinators at Rwanda Polytechnic

Role in HEP-TED

Parfait Yongabo is the HEP-TED project leader at Rwanda Polytechnic.

Background and experience

Parfait holds a PhD in Research Policy from Lund University, Sweden. His research interest is on innovation studies, science policy studies, science diplomacy, knowledge systems analysis, institutional management, and research impact evaluation.

He has performed international research and projects with institutions such as Mastercard Foundation, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the Belgian Federal Public Planning Service Science Policy (Belspo), the Dutch Organisation for Internationalisation in Education (Nuffic), the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (EU-JRC).

Parfait is currently the division manager in charge of institutional development, applied research and consultancy at Rwanda Polytechnic.

Role in HEP-TED


Background and experience


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Key experts from Rwanda Polytechnic

Role in HEP-TED

Alice Ikuzwe is a key expert in the pedagogical team.


Joseph Mfinanga is a key expert in the management team. 

Role in HEP-TED

Noel Mporananayo  is a key expert in HEP-TED's pedagogical team. His focus consists of applying training to existing courses, and capacity building for thesis supervision. He participates in the collaboration between the Rwanda Polyteachnic Rwanda TVET Trainer Institute (RTTI) and the University of Rwanda's College of Education to develop professional development programmes in higher education pedagogies, and support to integrating competency-based curriculum (CBC) approaches into selected existing courses in the partner institutions.

Background and experience

Noel Mporananayo holds a PhD in Educational Foundations - Instructional Methods, and a Master in Educational Planning, Management, and Administration. He participated in the development of different programmes in Rwanda, for example at the Rwanda Education Board (REB), where he participated in the special programme materials development and training of trainers of uncertified pre-primary and primary teachers.

Jean de Dieu Murindahabi is a key expert in the management team. 

Daton Eric Ngirinshuti is a key expert in the pedagogical team. 

Michael Rudahusha is a key expert in the cross-institutional collaboration team. 

University of Rwanda | College of Education
Institutional coordinators at the University of Rwanda

Prof. Wenceslas Nzabalirwa BA (Educational Sciences) MA (Educational Sciences) PhD (Teacher Education). Full Professor of Teacher Education, University of Rwanda-College of Education (UR-CE), School of Education, Department of Foundations, Management and Curriculum Studies.

Experienced teacher educator and curriculum developer with a focus on contextualizing teaching, learning, and assessment in Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly Rwanda. Published papers on learner-centered pedagogy, competency-based curriculum, and social practice approach, adapting these for Rwandan education. Over 30 years of university experience in teaching, research, and academic management, including leadership roles and coordination of funded research projects. Supervised doctoral theses at national and international universities, served as an external examiner for Masters and PhD theses.

Eugene Ndabaga is Associate Professor of Education in Policy and Planning, and the Director of Research and Innovation at the University of Rwanda-College of Education. He obtained his master and PhD at the University of Bath, UK, and has vast experience collaborating with international and local consultancies. Assoc. Prof Ndabaga is the institutional lead of Higher Education Pedagogies for Teacher Education (HEP-TED) project, UR-CoE.

Key experts from the University of Rwanda

Delphine Mukingambeho is the management and quality assurance key expert in the HEP-TED project, Rwanda. She is a lecturer at University of Rwanda, College of Education (UR-CE). She holds a PhD in Education (Curriculum and Instruction), a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction; a postgraduate Certificate of Teaching and Leaning in Higher Education (PGDTLHE) and a bachelor’s degree of Arts with Education in History- Geography- Education from UR-CE. Delphine is the author of a number of publications in Education. Currently, she is interested in conducting research on contemporary issues in Basic Education and quality teaching and learning in higher education.

Alphonse Uworwabayeho is a Professor of Mathematics Education at the University of Rwanda-College of Education. He obtained his PhD in Education from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, where his research focused on enhancing teachers' pedagogical skills using information technology tools in mathematics classrooms. Prior to join higher learning education, he was mathematics secondary school teacher. He has extensive experience in developing academic programs for pre-service and in-service professional educators. Within the HEP-TED project, he will primarily be involved in activities related to the pedagogy component, educational policies, and developing or reviewing academic programs such as the Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education. His selected  publications can be found at .

Gabriel Nizeyimana is an expert of Quality Assurance for Higher Education Pedagogies for Teacher Education (HEP-TED) project. He holds a PhD in Education (Teacher Education) from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (South Africa). He holds also a Masters’ degree in Education (Curriculum Development) from the University of Natal (South Africa), a B. Ed (Hon) in Educational Psychology and a Diploma in Psychopedagogy, both from the National University of Rwanda. He is currently Associate Professor of Education at University of Rwanda – College of Education (UR-CE). With 25 years of teaching and research experience in Higher Education, his research work focuses on student engagement in Teacher Education, teacher beliefs, teacher training, and assessment. He has authored and co-authored book chapters and many articles published in national and international peer reviewed accredited journals.

My name is Dr. Bizimana Barthelemy, and I serve as a Lecturer at the University of Rwanda College of Education where I teach Philosophy of Education and Educational Psychology. Additionally, I am actively involved in the HEP-TED (Higher Education Pedagogy for Teacher Education) project, where I contribute as a Pedagogy expert. My areas of expertise also extend to digital pedagogy, reflecting my interest in integrating technology into educational practices.

Dr Pascasie Nyirahabimana holds a master’s degree in Physics and a PhD degree in physics education. She is an adept professional educator with 17 years in academia, skilled in teacher education and training, curriculum development, and educational quality assurance across primary, secondary, and university levels. Her commitment is extending to effective implementation of CBC at all levels of education and addressing gender disparity in STEM fields. Her research work focuses on improving the quality of STEM education, especially Physics education, refining assessment practices, and integrating ICT, inclusive and gender education, with a focus on capacity building for educators at both secondary school and university levels. Her Publications are available on Dr Nyirahabimana is a pedagogical key expert of the Higher Education Pedagogies for Teacher Education (HEP-TED) project, UR-CoE

Dr Jean Leonard Buhigiro is a team member of Quality Assurance for Higher Education Pedagogies for Teacher Education (HEP-TED) Project. He holds a PhD in History Education from the University of KwaZulu Natal (South Africa). He also holds a Masters’ degree in Arts (History) from the University of Stellenbosh (South Africa).

With 25 years of experience in academia, his research work focuses on teaching sensitive and controversial issues. He has published a series of articles on the genocide against the Tutsi and historical sites in central Rwanda. 

Tampere University | Faculty of Management and Business
Institutional coordinators at Tampere University

Docent, Dr. Elias Pekkola is a vice-dean for education and university lecturer of the Faculty of Management and Business. Pekkola has published mainly in the field of public administration, higher education policy and academic profession. Pekkola has experience from several capacity development projects and he has worked as a consultant for World Bank in the field of higher education. He is a member of national Development Policy Committee. Pekkola is also a research associate at Ali Mazrui Centre for Higher Education Studies at University of Johannesburg, South Africa.

Dr Íris Santos is a postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Management and Business at Tampere University. Íris has expertise in education policy, evaluation and practice and as well as development cooperation and the role of international organisations in the education sector. She has also been involved in projects on the use of evidence and expertise in the Nordic countries and related with the politics of quality in education in three BRICS countries: Brazil, Russia and China.

Key experts from Tampere University

Dr Rediet Abebe is a specialist in higher education quality management at Aalto University in Finland. He is engaged in strategy foresight, evaluation, and planning processes. Rediet has experience in strategy management, quality system development, and institutional quality audits. He has undertaken self-evaluation at universities and served as a member of peer review panels for external evaluations. Rediet explores effective and agile mechanisms for linking strategy management to quality systems in higher education institutions. His research interests include higher education policy, governance, and quality assurance. Previously, Rediet was a member of the Higher Education Group (HEG) at Tampere University in Finland. There, he completed his doctoral studies, participated in higher education leadership capacity-building projects, and performed teaching duties. Rediet also coordinated a data analysis team in the Course Quality Advisory Board of the Erasmus Mundus Association. There, he participated in assessing the quality of student support services in the Erasmus Mundus joint master's degree programs. Rediet holds a doctoral degree in Administrative Sciences with a focus on higher education management, a master's degree in research and innovation in higher education, as well as a bachelor's degree in sociology and social work.

Professor, Dr. Jussi Kivistö has an experience of teaching and researching higher education administration, management and policy for over 20 years. He holds a position of full professor and as serves as the Unit Head of Administrative Studies Unit, Faculty of Management and Business, Tampere University, Finland. During the past years, Dr. Kivistö has served as a consultant for the World Bank and as Principal Investigator/researcher in several national and international research and development projects, and he has been a frequent keynote speaker or invited expert in events and projects related to Finnish higher education policy. Kivistö has authored over 130 publications, mainly in the field of higher education management and policy.

Yohannes Mehari is a higher education consultant and specialist in development cooperation within the education sector.  Holding a doctoral degree in Administrative Science and higher education studies from Tampere University, Finland, Dr. Mehari has extensive expertise in capacity development, development corporation, organisational development, educational planning, education equity, and quality enhancement.

Previously, he held positions as a university lecturer and researcher at the Faculty of Management and Business, Tampere University, Finland. Additionally, he served as a university teacher and institutional coordinator for the Erasmus Master in Research and Innovation in Higher Education programme. Dr. Mehari has also fulfilled roles as a coordinator for international projects such as “Building Institutional Capacity in Leadership and Management of Ethiopian Universities (LMEU), and “Responsible Research and Innovation Learning (RRIL).

Dr. Mehari has authored numerous academic publications and has presented papers at several international conferences focusing on higher education. He has also contributed as a reviewer for esteemed journal articles within the realm of higher education. Notably, Dr. Mehari was honoured with the best dissertation award in 2017 by the Finnish Association of Administrative Studies.

Tampere University of Applied Sciences
Institutional coordinators at Tampere University of Applied Sciences

I am a Project lead of Tampere University of Applied Science (TAMK) in HEP-TED project. I lead the work of our Lead Experts and collaborate with our project coordinator and with the other stakeholders of the project.

I have over 25 years of experience on teachers pedagogical in-sevice training in Finland and abroad and development projects. Latest teacher training projects have been in Albania, Chile and Brazil. In Albania we trained over 340 teaches to be trainers of their colleagues. I am interested in everyday learning activities in schools and classrooms, to support teachers to find ways to support active learning. My main focus is in active and collaborative learning, collaboration in schools and outside of school, learning at the workplace, learning community and community development.

I work as a Project Coordinator at the Tampere University of Applied Sciences, TAMK.

I have more than 10 years of experience in TAMK RDI as a Project Coordinator. I also have experience in co-creation and user-centered design of services and technologies. Have gone into the topic in learning environment development and by working in different Living Labs. Has a Master Degree on Biomedical Engineering (Tampere University of Technology, 2008). Qualified as a teacher from Tampere University of Applied Sciences, 2017. Currently supports and coaches TAMK´s project teams in project management and implementation. Works also in different projects as an administrative manager or specialist.

Key experts from Tampere University of Applied Sciences

I work at Tampere University of Applied Sciences as a key expert on competence-oriented higher education and competence-based learning processes.

I have more than 20 years of experience as a teacher trainer and RDI operator. My doctoral dissertation in 2019 was the first to address digital open badges and badge-driven learning. As a postdoctoral researcher, I explore digital pedagogy, competence-oriented continuous learning, and digital transformation in the world of work. My current research on motivation and competence-based professional development is positioning future theoretical and practical development efforts in these areas. The European Union and European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training has appointed me as external expert to provide opinions and advice.

I am a key expert in pedagogy: Specialization in STEM pedagogy, development and implementation of activating learning methods, learning analytics and pedagogical perspective to learning management systems.

Currently I am working as a principal lecturer at Applied Research Center in TAMK where I focus on pedagogy in education, communities and organizations. I have over 20 years of experience in teaching, in various RDI projects and in developing engineering and STEM education and pedagogy, engaging learning methods, materials and learning analytics. I have also worked as a “digimentor” to help my colleagues with challenging aspects related to digitalization of education, e-tools, online learning etc. Together with my team, we have produced around 2500 educational videos.

Expert of University-Industry collaboration, especially in engineering education and technical competencies.

On going applied reseach and education collaboration with wide range of companies. More than 10 years of experience in RDI and more than 10 years experince in construction project management. Worked in projects of many fields being responsible of both project management and implementation.Has experience in co-creation and user-centered design in learning environment retrofit development projects. Has a doctor of science (tech) degree in civil engineering. Qualified as a teacher from Tampere University of Applied Sciences.