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
We are now over halfway in delivering our online courses – one focusing on improving English language, the other on teaching practice – with over 1,200 primary teachers having completed or currently undertaking one of the courses on offer.
Across both courses to date, we have seen over 90% reach completion with some learners continuing their learning post-course to ensure they finish and receive their certificate. When compared to the global completion rate of 12%, this is a massive achievement and credit to the hard work put in by those participating learners. It is also clear evidence that online learning delivered to a large audience can be successfully delivered in Bangladesh.
Engagement with our Facebook page by learners continues to grow. We now have almost 1,500 members and over 167,000 posts and comments, not to mention countless likes and shares. It has now firmly established itself as a community of practice for Bangladeshi primary teachers and expect it will continue to grow over the coming weeks and months as more primary teachers are engaged with the training programme.
Feedback from learners remains overwhelmingly positive with many commenting on how invaluable the experience has been for developing both their English language skills and teaching practice. A majority have also commented they feel their language proficiency and teaching practice has improved as a result of participating in the online training, and each of them looks forward to implementing what they have learned in the classroom.
We are nearing the end of our second course run with the next starting in early September 2020. This final course run will see another 500 or so primary teachers invited to enrol and further their professional development.
Aptis (English Language Assessment)
Of those that have successfully completed the test, 95% have scored above the required minimum level of A2, with almost 58% having a result of B2 or higher. There is a very small number that have recorded a result of A2 (less than 5% of total) with still no results recorded at A1 level. We expect this resulting trend to continue for this current testing round.
Once the final round of testing has finished, we will evaluate all results before summarising proficiency levels attained and completion rates next month.