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.
Our digital response – English for Teachers
With staying home the new reality for many of us, the British Council, in collaboration with the Directorate of Primary Education, has developed a creative and flexible online learning solution to engage our key audience (primary teachers). Starting soon, there will be two online learning courses delivered over the next few months focusing on improving the English language and teaching practice based on our principles of Teaching for Success.
Teachers that successfully completed or at least attempted to complete the English language assessment Aptis (see below) will be enrolled in one of the two online courses. The course offered will depend on the result of their test – those that scored A1, A2 or perhaps did not complete the test will be enrolled in a course concentrating on developing their English language, whilst those that scored B1 or B2 will be enrolled in a course focusing on improving their teaching practice. There will be no offer to those that scored C1 or above at this time.
Both of these courses are delivered by the British Council tutors through our online learning partner Future Learn, and will be offered at three different times over the coming months. There will be live online English lessons several times a week, with extra support provided to all participants through Zoom and Facebook. Once the course has been successfully completed, each participant will receive a certificate.
Aptis (English Language Assessment)
Over the last few weeks, we have administered almost a thousand English language proficiency tests – a computer-based assessment developed by the British Council which provides fast results thoroughly invigilated and reliably marked by our examiners. It is designed to establish language proficiency level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages across the four key language skills – speaking, listening, reading, writing.
The first round of testing has been a huge success with over 80% of those undertaking the test successfully completing at the first attempt, with 79% of those scoring B1 level or higher and almost half of those scoring at B2 level. The remaining 21% scored at A2 level or unfortunately did not complete the test within time, with not a single person scoring below A2.
A further two rounds of testing will be administered over the next several weeks, with the aim of reaching a further 2,000 primary teachers to assess their English language proficiency. This test is also a pre-requisite for selection onto the Training of Master Trainers in English (TMTE) programme, so completing the test is a must for those wanting to further improve their English skills and teaching practice.