Since its inception in 2005, the Council for Business with Britain’s (CBB) vision of ‘Prosperity through English’ has led to the establishment of a partnership with the British Council Sri Lanka and the launch of the CBB’s English Language Teacher Training Project. Designed to address the key factors of English teacher confidence and classroom teaching ability, the programme targets specific teachers in rural areas who are unable to access the training opportunities and resources of their Colombo peers.
Speaking on the programme and its impact on the standard of English in rural schools, ELT Project Chairperson Tania Polonnowita explained, “The ELT programme is designed to improve the quality of English education in rural Sri Lanka. Our belief is that each student should receive the best possible language training in order to make it possible for them to excel as they grow. The teachers we train utilise this new knowledge and inspiration to deliver more motivational lessons, with a communicative focus so that pupils’ real language skills are improved.”
The programme also offers corporates the opportunity to sponsor a teacher from any of the 29 Regional English Support Centres (RESC) and has seen HSBC come in as its main sponsor for this year too, in order to further the programme’s goal of upgrading the English skills of pupils across Sri Lanka. Former HSBC Sri Lanka and Maldives CEO Patrick Gallagher said, “HSBC has long supported the Council for Business with Britain with the English Language Teacher Training programme, which has greater benefits for the community.”
The project has trained a cadre of mentors from the Education Ministry’s Regional English Support Centres (RESCs) ensuring a wide geographical coverage across Sri Lanka. The mentors deliver in-service teacher training to teachers in their areas using the CBB distance training course, which leads to the internationally recognised University of Cambridge Teaching Knowledge Test (TKT).
Teachers following the training also receive a CBB/British Council certificate. The programme has currently trained close to 1886 teachers and benefited an estimated 238,000 students. The programme plans to deliver training to 207 teachers in 2016/2017, which will benefit 33,000 students at an estimated Rs.6.5 million – an investment in gearing the future generation to be global citizens, conversant with the English language.