The Ministry of Primary and Mass Education (MoPME) in Bangladesh has undertaken a major new sector wide reform programme in primary education through the Training of Master Trainers in English (TMTE) project. This quality initiative aims to upgrade the English language proficiency and teaching skills of teachers of English at primary level throughout Bangladesh. The British Council was selected as the best partner to engage in helping Bangladesh achieve this goal.

As a part of this project, the British Council planned to administer the Aptis test in face-to-face sessions for approximately 3,000 teachers to assess their level of English proficiency. The original plan was to organise 3,000 tests in 15 Primary Teacher Training Institutes situated across the divisions of Bangladesh. Based on the outcome of this test and other selection criteria, 1,980 candidates would be selected for face-to-face training.

However, due to the Covid-19 outbreak the British Council had to reassess this plan and look at a digital solution to the problem presented. With the immense support from MoPME, DPE, and the Global Assessments Operations team, the British Council resolved to administer the tests entirely online. In this new delivery model, we piloted an entirely remote delivery of Aptis for the TMTE project. During this pilot, 100 teachers took Aptis remotely, with 60 per cent successfully completing the test and a further ten per cent took it at a later date. This enabled candidates to take the Aptis General test (assessing four skills) from the comfort of their home and on their own devices. The test was remotely administered and supported live via Zoom by local invigilators using the Janison platform. As the candidates proceeded with their tests, all their answers and attempts were stored in real-time. Once completed, it took 48 hours to receive the results.

As a result of the successful pilot, the British Council upscaled for the next phase and in the following months, successfully conducted online Aptis tests among 3,000 primary school teachers remotely across Bangladesh.

With training and support from the Global Assessments Operations team, the British Council Examination team were able to plan, schedule, monitor and carry out the test sessions successfully. All candidates were provided with the necessary support guides, practice resources and other required assistance to prepare themselves for the test. A 24/7 support channel was also set up to provide and respond to any questions and provide help as and when needed.

The British Council Exams team had to face and overcome several challenges. This included contacting each of the candidates personally to confirm their contact details and advise them of the testing procedure Poor internet connectivity, disrupted power supply, incompatible device, low digital literacy were and continue to be some of the major challenges faced. The team provided every possible support through the established mechanisms to ensure successful administration and delivery of the tests during the pilot phase.

The TMTE project will allow more than 2,000 primary school teachers to improve their language proficiency and teaching skills all-together.