In 2018 the Bangladeshi Government approved a multibillion-dollar five-year reform programme for primary education – Primary Education Development Programme 4 (PEDP4) - the largest ever project in the country’s primary education sector. The British Council was awarded a large training programme – English for Primary Teachers (EPT) – worth 230 Crore BDT (approx. £21 million) as part of this reform. The Honourable Prime Minister of Government of People's Republic of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina personally approved the project, stressing the need for giving the utmost priority to children to learn English proficiently at the primary level. The British Council has been recognised as the best partner to engage in helping Bangladesh achieve this goal. The project aligns with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, specifically around Sustainable Development Goal 4 - Quality education.
In 2019 the government-approved TMTE as the first British Council intervention – a 47 Crore BDT (£4.5 million) country-wide primary school teacher development project – as the first phase of this ambitious national education reform initiative. This intervention is a 13-month long English training project with the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education (MoPME) working initially in 15 Primary Training Institutes (PTI’s) across Bangladesh. The objective of TMTE, working in partnership with the Directorate of Primary Education, is to enhance primary-level in-service English teacher education through the development of over 2,000 primary teachers into Master Trainers in English and English-language teaching practices. Our focus will be on developing Master Trainers who will be proficient and skilled in English, have a clear understanding of effective teaching practice at the primary level, and the skills necessary to support the development of almost 130,000 English teachers in primary schools.
Ultimately, this cohort of Master Trainers will contribute to improving the English language skills (reading, writing, listening, speaking, and presentation) and understanding of effective language teaching practices among primary teachers, and therefore indirectly support the learning of their students.
The project has provided us with the opportunity to create a positive national impact by changing the systems that govern teacher education for English in Bangladesh.
The official launch of TMTE
After much delay due to Covid-19, the TMTE project was officially launched by chief guest the Honourable Minister, Ministry of Education, Dr Dipu Moni MP at the prestigious InterContinental Hotel on Sunday 31 January 2021. The Honourable Minister delivered an inspiring vision of the future of education in Bangladesh and the enormous impact that TMTE will have on those primary teachers participating. It is clear that TMTE has long term future in Bangladesh beyond the current cohort of activity.
The wonderful launch was also attended by a number of special government officials including the Honourable Minister of State, MoPME, Mr Md Zakia Hossen MP, Secretary, MoPME, Mr GM Hashibul, and Director General, DPE, Mr Alamgir Md Monsurul Alam. Mr Javed Patel, Deputy High Commissioner, British High Commission and Mr Tom Miscioscia, Country Director, British Council also spoke to those in attendance, highlighting the longstanding special relationship that exists between the UK and Bangladesh, especially around education.
There were also a number of training participants from Dhaka PTI in attendance, who are at the heart of what TMTE is all about, with one or two speaking eloquently about their excitement to begin their learning journey on TMTE. For them, to hear the words of those that spoke at the launch has been really motivating as they embark on their learning journey over the next 14 weeks.
Our first cohort
The first group of Bangladeshi primary teachers started their 14-week professional development journey on 31 January 2021 in Dhaka and Gazipur PTI. However, due to the introduction of lockdown restrictions and a pause of face-to-face activity for over a month, this has extended out to a whooping 20-weeks. Notwithstanding these challenges and the need to continue their learning remotely during the pause, each and everyone has maintained focus and enthusiasm remaining on track to complete the course.