Author Archives: British Council India

About British Council India

The British Council is the United Kingdom's international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide.

British Council launches ELIPS 2 with Government of Maharashtra and Tata Trust

 

In March 2016 British Council signed a tri partite contract with the Government of Maharashtra and Tata Trust to launch an innovative teacher training project, English Language Initiative for Primary Schools – 2 (ELIPS 2) for primary school teachers in Maharashtra, India. ELIPS 2 represents a transition from more traditional model of teacher training to a more sustainable internally-supported approach which promotes holistic professional development through local communities of practice.

ELIPS2 will focus on primary teachers in government schools in Maharashtra and will take place over three years. In the first year, the project will cover nine districts in Maharashtra and in the second year the project will be scaled up to include the rest of the state. Following discussions with the government, it was agreed that the project would include initiatives for capacity building of the State Institute of English (SIE), establishment of Teacher Activity Groups (TAGs) at cluster level for the nine districts and exploring the potential of online training programmes and social networking applications including WhatsApp to support teacher training and mentoring.

Building the capacity of the SIE through the development of a core team of English experts is central to this intervention and its sustainability. In addition, a teacher training and development model focussing on building the capacity of the state to provide appropriate Continuing Professional Development (CPD) opportunities for teachers will be developed.  This will be achieved through a combination of face-to-face training, online learning through e-moderated and self-access courses, Teacher Activity Groups (TAGs) at the cluster level, the creation of online communities through popular social networking platforms and a teacher mentoring programme. All of these elements of the project aim to put the teacher at the centre of his/her own development.

Master Trainers, and later selected Teacher Facilitators, will be supported with British Council resources to facilitate TAGs. Existing Kendra Pramukhs (KPs) will be responsible for administrative aspects of these groups. The project will therefore build the state’s institutional capacity to support and implement large-scale, long-term in-service teacher training programmes which do not rely solely on cascade training as the medium of delivery.

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To be or not to be creative

The winning entry of the Shakespeare in India drawing competition in the 8-10 year old category

The winning entry of the drawing competition for children in the 8-10 year old category

Last week, curtains came down on the Summer School 2016 with Shakespeare at British Council Kolkata. Children dressed as Titania, Ophelia, Shylock, Bassanio, Puck and a host of other characters regaled their parents with lines from Shakespeare’s famous plays. For three weeks, classes hummed with ‘To thine own self be true’ and ‘Romeo Romeo, where art thou Romeo!’ as children experimented with the bard’s sonnets, comedies and tragedies. Children were so eager to show what they had learnt and prepared for, that one little Hamlet forgot to die! Students were both happy and sad. One child summed up her feelings with “Heavy lightness”, an oxymoron she learnt on the course. Another student commented, “Why can’t classes at school be like British Council classes?” Parents said how much the children loved the experience. One mother said that her child had hardly ever spoken English before but has now been the narrator for a Shakespeare play. Prizes were awarded for costumes and for competitions, including art and favourite words, both real and invented: scrumplicious – a mixture of delicious and scrumptious, melancholy – described as a tricky word describing both sadness and happiness, synopsis, gargantuan, solicitious, and  soliloquy – a word that a 12 year old student felt described him.

When asked to write about ‘My favourite actor’ one child wrote “My little brother is an awesome actor because whenever we have a fight and my parents rush in to stop us, he acts like he is the one who is hurt more!” Given below are the two winning entries:

A Day in the Life of Me
by Utsa Mohana Mukherjee, (13-15 years category)

I tap my foot restlessly on the polished airport floor, looking at the clock hanging above the boarding gate. Around me, lost souls rush about, trying to reach their gates on time while I wait, because I am too early. The nervousness, lurking in the pit of my stomach makes me feel nauseous as I think of the people I will have to face when I reach my destination. The place I ran away from years ago with a vow to be a better man. I have learnt lots of things, and the time has come for me to return. I am going home. Fear, that my parents won’t be forgiving, exists within me, but hope dwells too, and I hope that their love for me is enough. I hope this day in my life won’t end with disappointment but rather with the happiness of a long overdue, familiar reunion.

The Magic of Shakespeare
by Risha Sharma, (13-15 years category)

Sculptor of literary wonders
He who was a wise fool
Taught us lessons by depicting blunders
Kindled warmth in millions of hearts.
Ecstasy, violence, tragic plunders
Stories that over our hearts rule
Patient teachings that strike like thunder
Ever loyal heroes and their loving sweethearts
Admired by people everywhere
Respected by moral good
Enthralling millions, the magic of Shakespeare is beyond compare!

 

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Education UK Alumni Awards 2016 winners meet the Royal Couple

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meeting the winners of EdUk Alumni Awards 2016 in Delhi

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meeting the winners of EdUk Alumni Awards 2016 in Delhi

The British Council had recently organised the Education UK Alumni Awards 2016 on March 19 in New Delhi to honour outstanding success in Entrepreneurship, Professional Achievement, and Social Impact by Indians who have graduated from UK higher education institutions.

The winners were Ankit Mehrotra for the Entrepreneurial Category who graduated from University of Essex and founded Dineout, a premier table reservation service in India; Nishad Chaughule for the Professional Achievement category who had studied at Leeds Beckett University and had made a name for himself as a filmmaker and student Academy award winner; the Social Impact award was won by Ria Sharma, an alumnus of Leeds College of Art for her initiative Make Love Not Scars, an organisation that has helped over 60 survivors of acid attacks medically, legally and financially.

The three winners were invited for the Queen’s Birthday Party celebrations that were held at the British High Commissioner’s residence. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton were the guests of honour for the evening. The winners individually got the opportunity to interact with the Royal Couple.

Ankit Mehrotra, winner of the Entrepreneurial Award, shared his views on meeting the couple; he said “My first impression was “What a beautiful couple”. I was introduced to them as the winner of the Education UK Award for Entrepreneurship. They congratulated me for winning the award and highlighted how important entrepreneurs were for creation of new jobs in any economy. Both of them were very keen to know more about my venture. As I started explaining more to them, the Duke interrupted me and asked me if my business was similar to Opentable in the UK. As I said yes, he immediately mentioned that he exactly knew what Dineout was all about and what a great idea it was as he and The Duchess always had problems reserving tables in London and used similar services. We also spoke about my time in the UK and when I mentioned that I had lived in London for 10 years, and worked as an Investment Banker and then returned back to India to start Dineout, he mentioned that the next decade of business growth will be fuelled by entrepreneurs such as myself creating value for the society. They congratulated me once again, wished me for my continued success and then proceeded towards the stage.”

Writing about her experience, Ria Sharma, winner of the Social Impact Award said “I was ecstatic when I first received an invitation to the queen’s 90th birthday party to be held in Delhi and I was completely overwhelmed when I received a second email saying I would personally get to meet the Royal Couple. The experience in itself was a roller coaster of emotions, ranging from very happy to beyond elated. I had the opportunity to talk to Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cambridge about the issue of acid attacks. We spoke about numbers, how frequently acid attacks happen and also about why they happen. The high number of cases stunned the Duchess, even though she had heard that acid attacks were very frequent in India. In the end she congratulated me, shook my hand and made her way towards the stage for the cake cutting. All in all, it was an experience I will never forget, I actually got to represent my survivors in front of the royal couple and it was an absolute honour.”

Nishad Chaughule, winner of the Professional Achievement Award said “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity given to me by the British Council to meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. It was an extremely surreal experience to meet the future King and Queen of England. I was delighted to be invited to such an event and feel that I am extremely lucky to be one of the few people to actually interact with their Royal Highnesses. They asked me about my work, and they both seemed genuinely interested in the kind of films I am working on or involved with which in itself was a great validation for me to continue doing what I am doing.

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International Women’s day: Does it make a real difference to women’s lives?

We have been celebrating International Women’s Day for more than a century. Back in 1909 it was all about fighting for the rights for working women. It has over the years broadened to include all women.

Of course, as a woman, it feels good to have a day dedicated to us, but is it enough? In an ideal world, surely, we wouldn’t need to have this one day set aside every year? Women’s rights and their contribution to society would be understood and appreciated every day of the year.

The reality is that for almost half the population of the world every day is a constant struggle. In many countries women still don’t have even basic rights. They don’t have the right to vote or to education. At an even more basic level, they are not safe in the streets, or even at home. Their own bodies are not their own. Even in the most developed countries the battle for equal wages and equal rights in the workplace goes on.

In a world like this, simply setting aside a day to “celebrate” women seems like tokenism to me. We have to create a future where we don’t need women’s day anymore because we are all equally empowered.

Till then, a woman can dream….

What do you think?

Post by - Mahananda Bohidar

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India and the UK are ideal partners for employment skills and English language collaboration

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Anil Subramanian was in London the week of 19 January as part of a high-level delegation from India that took part in the second UK-India English Partnerships Forum and study tour to several UK institutions. He shares his thoughts and take-aways from the week.

India is going through interesting times. It has the world’s largest young population and yet employers are constantly searching for the ‘right talent’. India is expected to add over 100 million young adults ready and waiting for work in the next 15 years. Further, due to technology infusion, most of the job requirement has changed vastly in favour of skilled personnel. With a view to enable India to utilize its resources optimally, the Government of India has launched five important initiatives, all of equal importance:

  1. Clean India
  2. Digital India
  3. Make in India
  4. Housing for all
  5. Skill India

Sustained success of the first four initiatives hinges significantly on the availability of quality manpower. The answer therefore lies in skilling the youth in India. As is well known, there is a large rural population waiting for skills training for either increasing agricultural productivity or to enable them to join as productive workforce in the manufacturing and service sectors. The latter not only requires quality technical skilling but also English language skills. The government’s DDU-GKY skill development programme recognizes this and has made English skill a mandatory part of its training.

Against this backdrop, the focus of UK-India English Partnerships Forum in London on 20 January this year was on English Skills for Employability, especially as part of skill training outside formal education. The Indian delegation consisted of State Government Ministers, Government officials representing the Centre and States, skills agencies, assessment bodies and Sector Skills Councils from India. The Indian delegation got an opportunity to interact and share views with their counterparts in the UK. Several key discussions revolved around identification of academic, strategic and commercial opportunities in English skills in vocational training.

The Forum also paved the way for scoping possibilities of creating opportunities for using UK’s experience in enhancing the quality of skills training in India. One of the key areas for partnerships includes assessment and certification for employable skills which may require international certification. The possibility of Training Partners from the UK getting involved in skills development in India for the global market came as an idea whose time has come and the relationships the Indian delegation established in the UK now need to be nurtured diligently.

UK-India English Partnerships Forum could not have come at a better time.

Anil Subramanian is Deputy Secretary in the Ministry of Rural Development. He currently handles subjects related to policy, planning and operations in implementation of DDU-GKY, a placement -linked skills development programme for rural youth in India.

Mr Subramanian has a background in the humanities. He has been working with Government of India for the past 18 years. During this tenure he has also handled portfolios in public service selection, environment and forest regulations, information broadcasting policy and mining regulations.

To find out more about the DDU-GKY programme click here

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Live Webcast: Teacher Educator Conference 2015 (Main Hall)

Follow the sessions and tweet using #TEC15

Day 1: Friday 27 February

09.30 – 10.00 Inauguration by by His Excellency Shri E.S.L. Narasimhan, the Governor of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana; Sunaina Singh, Vice-Chancellor English and Foreign Languages University(EFL-U), Hyderabad; S Mohanraj, Dean, School of English Language Education, English and Foreign Languages University (EFL-U); Chris Brandwood, Director English – South Asia, British Council; Andrew McAllister British Deputy High Commissioner, Hyderabad; George Pickering, Trustee, International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL)Chair: Michael Connolly, Assistant Director, English Partnerships, British Council India
10.00 – 11.15 Keynote address: The ingredients of quality in teacher education, RodBolitho
11.45 – 12.15 Rethinking teacher motivation for professional development,Amol Padwad
12.30 – 13.00 Streaming of students: how to promote social justice and inclusivity,Jayagowri Shivakumar
14.00 – 15.00 Evaluation in teacher education programmes: a critical appraisal,Geetha Durairajan (Cambridge University Press)
15.45 – 16.40 Moving from quantity to quality – implications for teacher educationPanel: Colin Bangay (DfiD), Maya Menon (The Teacher Foundation),Lina Mukhopadhyay (EFLU) and Amol Padwad (AINET)Chair: Rittika Chanda Parruck (British Council)
16.40 – 16.50 Continuing Professional Development Framework: going global
17.00 – 18.00 Blissfully developing teacher education materials, Huma Riaz andRosie Tanner
18.15 – 19.15 Moving away from traditional methodologies in language education – thebaby has been thrown out with the bath waterChair: Chris Brandwood 

Day 2: Saturday 28 February

09.00 – 10.00 Plenary:Learning to read in India: challenges and opportunities for enhancingquality in teacher education, Rukmini Banerji
10.15 – 11.15 Frameworks – they might look dull but actually they’re really useful for all sorts of things, John Shackleton and Tim Phillips
12.00 – 13.00 Are we supporting teachers to address student diversity in the classroom? Dilemmas and solutions, Renu Singh
14.00 – 15.00 Video cameras in English language teaching, Jamie Keddie
15.30 – 16.30 Evaluating the quality of teacher education programmes – whatworks?Panel: David Hayes (Brock University, Canada), Rama Mathew (DelhiUniversity), John Simpson (British Council), Renu Singh (Young LivesIndia),Chair: Sara Pierson (British Council)

Day 3: Sunday 1 March

09.00 – 10.00 Plenary: A fine balance: English language teacher education in21st-century India, Alison Barrett
10.15 – 11.15 Towards understanding teacher motivation for professional development, Krishna K Dixit 
12.00 – 13.00 Reviewing and improving quality in large-scale teacher education anddevelopment programmes, Sara Pierson and Duncan Wilson 
14.00 – 14.30 Curriculum change and innovation: insiders’ perspectives, RavinarayanChakrakodi
14.45 – 15.45 Plenary: Teacher education and quality assurance, Paul Gunashekar
15.45 – 16.15 Main Hall Valedictory

Download the Teacher Educator Conference 2014 paper publication – Innovation in English Language Teacher Education: http://t.co/BxFK6mKYum

 

 

 

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Live webcast: Teacher Educator Conference 2015, G01/02

Follow the sessions and tweet using #TEC15

Day 1: Friday 27 February

11.45 – 12.45 Learning to test or testing to learn? Washback and the learner,Stephen Carey (IELTS)
14.00 – 15.00 Paradigms of enrichment in language and teacher education,Elka Todeva (Regional English Language Office – U.S. Embassy)
17.00 – 18.00 Collins English language quiz

Day 2: Saturday 28 February

10.15 – 11.15 Assessing young learners: challenges and possible solutions,Gwendydd Caudwell (Aptis)
12.00 – 13.00 How to help teachers find, create, recycle and adapt good-qualityteaching materials, Katherine Bilsborough 
14.00 – 15.00 The Survey of ELT Research in India: how can it help you?Paul Gunashekar, Lina Mukhopadhyay and Richard Smith 
16.45 – 17.45 Dictionaries and corpus workshop, Elaine Higgleton

Day 3: Sunday 1 March

10.15 – 11.15 Why is English so difficult? Empowering teachers through a betterunderstanding of the history of the English language, Elaine Higgleton(Collins)
12.00 – 13.00 Enabling customized teacher education to maximize its effectiveness,Balasubrahmanian S. 
14.00 – 14.30 Integrating English with content learning in wet weather conditions inIndia, Mike Scholey 
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Book Launch: India’s Risks: Democratizing the Management of Threats to Environment, Health and Values

Synopsis of the Book : A prospective superpower, India is still grappling with a host of risks that threaten to hamper its progress. These range from environmental threats caused by GM crops and pollution; dangers to health from HIV/AIDS and maternal mortality; safety concerns about natural hazards, nuclear power, and industrial disasters; and challenges to livelihoods and values.

Some of the issues that this volume explores are: what counts as an ‘acceptable’ risk, and who decides? How should divergent perceptions of risks be reconciled? And, where is the line between science and politics? Advocating a more multidimensional approach to managing risks, the authors challenge many of the dominant perspectives in India.

The field of risk research, which has emerged over the last 40 years in the West, has been relatively unexplored in India. In an effort to bridge this gap, this volume brings together Indian and Western scholars and practitioners across the fields of psychology, anthropology, law, politics, sociology, public health, philosophy, science, and architecture, who offer insights on the theory of risk.

The book edited by Raphaelle Moor and M.V. Rajeev Gowda will feature experts such as Prof Shiv Visvanathan, Professor and Vice Dean Centre for the Study of Science, Society and Sustainability Jindal School of Government and Public Policy O.P Jindal University, Mr.Keshav Desiraju Secretary GOI Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distributionand and Dr.Nafees Meah, Director, Research Council UK (RCUK) along with Prof. Rajeev Gowda and Prof Ian Scoones, Director Steps Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex.

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GED: Women and Leadership ‘The Absent Revolution’

KEY ISSUES FOR DEVELOPMENT IN HIGHER EDUCATION AND SKILLS FOR SOUTH ASIA

This dialogue will:

  • Present the research findings from “Women in Higher Education Leadership in South Asia”, a British Council report in collaboration with the Centre for Higher Education and Equity Research (CHEER), University of Sussex.
  • Draw upon knowledge from the global academy and other sectors on how women have succeeded in overcoming barriers to leadership.
  • Discuss the importance of networks as a key to success – and why they fail.
  • Discuss enabling inclusivity and diversity within leadership as a key element of institutional culture change.
  • Identify specific actions and interventions for change.

The under-representation of women in influential and senior leadership positions in the global academy is a global challenge. A key question is whether women are being rejected as leaders or are refusing and resisting leadership positions in higher education.

Participation in Education for women is now approaching parity with men at both secondary and undergraduate level (and in some countries surpassing men). Yet this has not translated into senior appointments and leadership positions in education institutions globally.

In Higher Education for example, only 3 per cent of women are Vice-Chancellors in South Asia and in the UK only 17%. This inequity of access and opportunity is mirrored across the leadership spectrum from young researchers, senior administrators, professorships, Vice Chancellors and Chancellorships.

Whilst women are beginning to break the glass ceilings in all sectors of industry (even those in traditionally male preserves of manufacturing, IT and engineering), scaling the ivory towers is still seen as precarious and the preserve of men.

The social and economic benefits of a more inclusive and diverse leadership team have been well articulated. South Asia is experiencing a large sector expansion, which requires a new generation of academics and leaders, without perpetuating and reproducing the present inequalities, absences and exclusions.

You can download the report and programme schedule from this link

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World Voice Project: Workshop and Showcase

With a frosty breeze & a brilliant sun peeking out, at the same time, Kullu is the quintessential hill station; a small town set in the heart of Himachal Pradesh. Kullu provided great promise as the venue for a World Voice Project (WVP) Workshop and Showcase with the WVP India Champion, Mohit Chauhan! Complementing the WVP Workshop was an introduction to the Drama in Classroom Project (DCP).

The workshop saw 120 teachers attend sessions conducted by British Council trainers and the state-level-master trainers. The teachers were introduced to an arts-integrated learning approach through music & drama and took to the program quite enthusiastically. The trainers also had the opportunity to train a large group of children and give the teachers insight and a hands-on approach on using music & drama as additional pedagogical tools in their resource kit. The beauty of the concept was that Indian students were learning traditional folk songs from Senegal & England, giving them a brilliant taste of different cultures.

The icing on the cake was the WVP showcase on the final day with the WVP India Champion, Mohit Chauhan, held at the historic Kala Kendra. Mr. Chauhan, who hails from Himachal Pradesh, walked out to an explosive round of applause by a whopping 1,400 strong audience and the local band playing his best numbers. The showcase included him singing along with the trained children, exhibiting WVP in the truest form possible. It also saw Ms. Shaguna Gahilote, the State Project Director for SSA, Mr Ghanshyam Chand & the Himachal Pradesh State Pedagogy Coordinator, Ms Manjula Sharma, deliver talks on Arts Education. The showcase ended with a press conference where Mr Chauhan was happy to share his views, candid and in-the-flesh.

The Kullu locals, teachers & students alike were fascinated and intrigued with the education-through-arts approach and showed promise for inculcating this approach into their curriculum and teaching methods. With a fruitful tour in Kullu, ending with a cracker of a showcase, WVP & DCP left Kullu yearning for more.

Until next time!

Post by: Kshitij Sahney

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