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Home2019 IssuesIssue 467 - Nov 2019India Rolls Out Training for Fifty Thousand Teachers

India Rolls Out Training for Fifty Thousand Teachers

More than 51,000 teachers in rural government schools in India are being trained as part of the Tejas project, which aims to improve the quality of English language teaching for 1.5 million students in the north Indian state of Maharashtra.

Speaking at the launch of the latest phase of the project, Minister of School Education, Ashish Shelar, said he was, “pleased with the positive impact of this unique partnership … in terms of enhancing teachers’ delivery capacity and improving student learning outcomes.”

The five-year initiative, which is aimed mostly at primary-level education, involves the British Council, the Tata Trusts and the government of Maharashtra. It is designed to improve ELT methods among teachers across 36 districts in the state, up from nine in 2016, when Tejas was started.

The project aims to move from ‘traditional’ models of teacher training to a more sustainable model.

Within the Tejas project, teachers are organised into 750 Teacher Activity Groups (TAGs) that meet both face-to-face and virtually. They are supported by 250 TAG coordinators, recruited and trained by the Regional Academic Authority (RAA), a state-level government body responsible for English language teaching.

At the state level, the British Council has selected and trained a team of around 30 master trainers with expertise in English. This team, knowns as state academic resource persons (SARPs), are based in the RAA. They are being put through a month of training in how to support not only Tejas but also future education initiatives.

The effectiveness of the project has been carefully evaluated with methods including classroom observations. Tejas Stories of Change, a book showcasing some of the project’s achievements to date. Has recently been published.

Commenting on classroom observation undertaken in 2018, Helen Silvester, British Council Director West India said, “Over 75 per cent of observed teachers used more English language and more interactive and learning-centred techniques than at the start of the project.”

An article on teachers being trained by Tejas has appeared in Horizons magazine, published by Tata Trusts. It included an interview with teacher Priyanka Dalvi, who described herself as having a working knowledge of English, though she confessed she didn’t have yet have the confidence to use it in class. Other teachers training at the government school reported they now have an “English day” one day a week where they speak only English in class.

Tata Trusts – a foundation of the Mumbai-based conglomerate Tata Group, whose holdings include Tata Steel and Jaguar Land Rover – dates back to the “endowment for the education of Indians,” which was started in 1892.

Image courtesy of ABHIJEET
Matt Salusbury
Matt Salusbury
MATT SALUSBURY, news editor and journalist, has worked for EL Gazette since 2007. He is also joint Chair of the London Freelance Branch of the National Union of Journalists and co-edits its newsletter, the Freelance. He taught English language for 15 years in the Netherlands, in Turkey, in a North London further education college and now as an English for Academic Purposes tutor, most recently at the London School of Economics. He is a native English speaker and is also fluent in Dutch.
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