Background 

Nepal is in the middle of a time of great transition.  Devolution of power to provincial and local levels in the new federal republic structure will have significant impact on the education system(s).  Key decisions regarding the extent of these devolved powers are still to be finalized but teacher professional development and management, and language of instruction will undoubtedly remain priorities at local level.  

In terms of language of instruction there is a significant policy-practice gap.  At a policy level, the School Sector Development Plan (SSDP) advocates a Mother-tongue based multilingual education (MTB-MLE) approach.  Although this is in line with international evidence on learning outcomes and would have a perfect fit in Nepal’s context, it isn’t necessarily seen in practice. There is a huge demand, especially by parents for English Medium Instruction (EMI) as proficiency in English carries a high status and is linked to increased opportunities for further studies and employment both in Nepal and abroad. As parents, even from middle and low income families, increasingly aspire for their children to be good in English the demand for EMI only gets stronger.  This is allegedly compelling government to meet these demands by transitioning into EMI without any skilled teachers, resources or adequate English proficiency levels of teachers and students. 

Although a national system isn’t in place to assess English levels of teachers, it has been documented, as part of our past projects, that the capacity of many teachers (including English teachers) to deliver the curriculum at primary and secondary levels in English is inadequate. The potential for students to develop knowledge and skills is therefore compromised as they struggle to learn in an unfamiliar language, one which they often have little exposure to outside school. It therefore becomes increasingly important for students to be taught in a familiar language by teachers who have the content, linguistic and pedagogical knowledge to enable learning.  

However, parental demand for English is legitimate and cannot be ignored. Evidence from our past projects has also shown that English as a subject isn’t necessarily taught well in school Nepal which can be attributed to both to teachers’ lack of content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge. This project aims to address this gap by firstly supporting English teachers to improve their English language knowledge and skills and secondly to strengthen their pedagogical skills i.e. how to teach English effectively.  

 

Project Aims

Drawing on both international evidence and recommendations from our past projects, EL-TEP has the following broad aims:

  • to demonstrate that student learning outcomes in English can be improved in a MTB-MLE context, without the need for EMI
  • to demonstrate the strengths of a blended, collaborative approach to in-service teacher professional development
  • to highlight the benefits of including parents, head teachers and other key stakeholders in teacher education interventions

 

Project details

Project EL-TEP is a two year pilot project implemented by the National Centre for Educational Development (NCED) and British Council. The project focuses on developing both content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge of English language teachers from government schools teaching grades 4-8. 

The project follows the government’s Teacher Professional Development (TPD) Programme – 10 days of face-to-face training followed by 5 days of classroom projects. This is done in two phases over a period of 2-5 years. Acknowledging the fact that 45 hours of face-to-face input will not be effective, monthly Teacher Activity Group’s (TAGs) are planned where teachers come together to access materials for self-development once a month. These TAGs will be equipped with print, digital and mobile self-access resources for teachers to use and will be facilitated by Resource Persons and trainers at the local level. After teachers submit their classroom projects as part of the TPD programme, they will be observed by skilled trainers who will provide one-to-one feedback on their classroom practice. 

 

Project materials

  • English Language Teacher Training curriculum for grades 4 – 8 (focusing on teachers’ own language improvement as well as pedagogical skills)
  • Teacher and trainer manuals for English language and ELT pedagogy for face to face training ( 2 x 10 days) with follow up school-based projects (2 x 5 days)
  • In-service teacher education resources to trial, revise and embed into national TPD system.  There will be additional monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) and capacity building activities wrapped around these core outputs
  • ELT CPD resources (print, digital and mobile) to be used in TAGs and for self-access learning

 

Project Objectives

  • To build teacher competence and confidence in their own knowledge and use of English in the classroom
  • to consolidate knowledge and use of the skills and aspects of English Language 
  • to enhance the pedagogical content knowledge and skills of English Language teaching
  • to enhance the training, classroom observation, supporting and mentoring skills of English language teacher educators  
  • to develop the knowledge and skills of ELT teachers and teacher educators to take more responsibility for their own CPD