Graduating class of the second cohort of primary teachers under TMTE project, Dhaka
Primary teachers training institute, Dhaka ©

British Council

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 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. 

And the training begins!

Almost a year after we were to originally start delivery of training, 88 participants selected by DPE have commenced their learning journey in two PTIs – Dhaka and Gazipur.  This first batch of training is small-scale to ensure that face-to-face training can be safely and securely delivered in this new world be find ourselves in. They are now on the home stretch with only a few weeks left until they graduate on 17 June 2021, timing nicely with the hopeful reopening of schools.  There have been numerous highlights during this cohort, rich with experiences from the perspective of both participant and trainer.  A key highlight has been how engaged and motivated the participants have been with all that is happening around them – the sacrifice of time with family and friends to better themselves as teachers. We will highlight some of these stories next month.  

As this cohort draws to a close, we turn to the next which is not due to start until later this year.  In the coming months, we will update you on what is happening moving forward with the training including confirming dates and PTIs where the training will be delivered.

Cohort 1 Graduation

After more than a year delay due to the pandemic, our first cohort of primary teachers completed the TMTE training programme on 17 June 2021. For some, this journey started back in November and December last year when a small group participated in the online trialling of the learning materials. Then in late January this year, we held the official launch of TMTE at the InterContinental Hotel, chaired by Mr Alamgir Mohammed Monsurul Alam, Director General, Directorate of Primary Education with chief guest Dr Dipu Moni MP, Honourable Minister, Ministry of Education.

Our first cohort of eager teachers started their learning journey on 31 January 2021; originally scheduled for 14 weeks in two PTIs – Dhaka and Gazipur. However, the ongoing pandemic posed some challenges during this time, most notably when the government introduced lockdown restrictions and we were required to leave the PTIs for over a month. Despite this, we continued to work with our teacher family remotely, offering guided English proficiency self-study, supporting teaching practice preparation, and delivering several live webinars each week. We also continued our strong work and engagement with our growing Bangladeshi primary teacher community of practice.

Finally, we were able to return to the PTIs and complete delivery of the training programme. It was concluded by administering post-course language assessment using invigilated Aptis General, with more than 25% of teachers from this first cohort improving a solid CEFR level – a remarkable achievement. The majority of the other teachers also showed measurable improvement across the four language skills (particularly speaking and listening). There was also marked improvement in their teaching practice, despite schools remaining closed since early last year.

TMTE Cohort 1 graduates
TMTE Cohort 1 graduation ceremony

The graduation ceremony for these teachers was held at Dhaka PTI on 17 June 2021 and chaired by Mr Alamgir Mohammed Monsurul Alam, Director General, Directorate of Primary Education with chief guest Mr Md Zakir Hossen, Honourable Minister of State, Ministry of Primary and Mass Education. Given pandemic restrictions, the event was live-streamed to over a hundred government officials attending remotely, as well as live on our project Facebook page reaching almost two thousand teachers. Teachers based at Gazipur PTI also attended remotely with several live crosses to them ensuring they were part of this special and unique event.

What started out as a 14-week course ended up extending out to a whooping 20-weeks, yet despite the delays, pauses, and uncertainty presented by the pandemic, each and every primary teacher maintained focus, enthusiasm and commitment to their learning and professional development. The feedback from the primary teachers was overwhelmingly positive with several commenting that the trainers were really amazing and caring.’ Others stated that ‘it [TMTE] is the best opportunity to do something for our students and ourselves also, there are many opportunities to update and upgrade, to learn many things and help students to learn and access quality education.’ It is clear that this training programme has made a significant impact and is key to the improvement of English language proficiency and teaching practice in Bangladesh for years to come.

Overall, the programme was a resounding success and evidences the enormous benefit this training has on the quality improvement of primary teachers of English in Bangladesh. We look forward to scaling this project up in the near future and strengthening the relationship between Bangladesh, British Council and the United Kingdom.

Cohort 2 Start

October 2021 sees the second cohort of eager primary teachers start their 14-week learning journey across six PTIs – Dhaka, Gazipur, Barishal, Jessore, Gopalganj, and Sherpur. Again, the focus will be on improving English language proficiency and teaching practice including for the first time working in the experimental primary schools. At the end of the training, we will be administering post-course language assessment using invigilated Aptis General with the aim of seeing at least 25% of teachers improve a solid CEFR level. We will also be looking to demonstrate measurable improvement in their teaching practice - helped greatly by the reopening of schools last month.

The first cohort was a resounding success with overwhelming positive feedback from the teachers, several commenting that the trainers were really amazing and caring’ and that ‘it [TMTE] is the best opportunity to do something for our students and ourselves also, there are many opportunities to update and upgrade, to learn many things and help students to learn and access quality education.’ It is clear that this training programme has already made a significant impact and evidences the enormous benefit this training has on the quality improvement of primary teachers of English in Bangladesh.

Cohort 3 – Graduation

A few weeks ago, another batch of primary teachers from across Bangladesh finished their training on the TMTE course. In this cohort, we expanded our reach to Rangpur, Rajshahi, Dinajpur, and Moulvibazar engaging with 440 teachers. And like last cohort, this group continued with teaching practice in local schools allowing them to implement what they have learned over the preceding weeks. This is where teachers gain the most benefit and experience from their training!

All teachers were assessed at various times throughout their training, concluding with post-course language assessment using Aptis General Secure. Results have been very positive with a number improving one proficiency level, and the majority showing clear and marked improvement across multiple language skills. Similarly, there was pronounced improvement in their teaching practice as observed in the local schools and through their microteaching sessions.  

The impact this training has had on those primary teachers participating is enormous, and we are starting to see the results in action as we begin our post-training field observations. This is where we go out to graduates schools, observe them delivering a lesson to their own students, and evaluate whether they are implementing what they have learned. It is also an opportunity for us to provide further feedback and for them to reflect on their teaching practice. The video below beautifully showcases the impact this training is having.

Cohort 4 – Start

Last week, we commenced the fourth cohort of the TMTE training programme with another 440 primary teachers embarking on their 14-week learning journey. In the near future, we will also be looking to again expand our reach to include Chittagong, Comilla, and Joypurhat. This will allow us to engage up to a further 150 primary teachers, giving them the opportunity to improve their English and teaching practice. 

What next?

Over the coming months, we will update on what is happening in each of the PTIs including hearing from some of the primary teacher participants about the training.

Teaching for Success

Teaching for Success helps transform the quality of teaching in primary and secondary schools. It exemplifies the British Council’s vision that all teachers in the world have high quality continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities that improve their own professional understanding and practice and their learners’ success. The approach is underpinned by the British Council Frameworks of Continuing Professional Development for teachers and teacher educators.

Our Frameworks

Our frameworks of Continuing Professional Development for teachers and teacher educators are the organising principles for our approach to teacher education and development: Teaching for Success.  These frameworks represent our global understanding of, and expertise in, teaching and teacher development. Our services and resources for the teaching of the English language and other school subjects are all mapped to our CPD Frameworks and provide clear pathways for the development of teaching professionals.

Download our frameworks linked below.