Lava Deo Awasthi
Chairman - Language Commission
I have been closely connected to the British Council since the 1990s, when I was working with the Curriculum Development Center in the Ministry of Education. We worked very closely with the British Council team and started the development of the curriculum, particularly in English. This made a remarkable gain in a way that started a new approach to teaching English. From that perspective, my professional link with the British Council became very strong. Gradually we built a team and the whole British Council family was very closely connected to the Ministry of the Education.
British Council contributed in establishing the foundation of English language teaching in Nepal. From reshaping and developing materials to providing teacher training programs and working out how Nepal’s capacity could be enhanced in the education system.
Formally, the Government of Nepal got connected to the British Council system through an agreement with the British Council for our sector level collaboration. These basics that we built on went on to become visible indicators of our ties. The British Council became instrumental in strengthening our capability for enhancing English language teaching, and also providing support to the reform and agenda-setting process of the education sector.
In 1988-89, through the British Council’s scholarship scheme under the Colombo Plan, I obtained a Master’s degree at the University of Leicester in applied linguistics and TESOL. The British Government offered scholarships through the British Council; and provided assistance to the capacity building of government staff members. So besides completing my academic courses, it also opened doors for my further studies and connected me to the wider world. I was able to contact professional organizations which contributed to my PhD studies in language planning and other similar areas to widen my scope of academic enhancement.
We have to look at how the British Council remains a critical partner for the restructuring of education now because we are entering into the federal system. We are restructuring Nepal's education and the British Council holds the knowledge gained from other countries where similar transitions have been managed.
In addition to this support for the education system, we also utilized British Council expertise in the capacity building programs for skills and employment. Recognizing the employability and market-oriented school education we have to also see how our human workforce becomes more competent and skilled in the occupational fields. Since Nepal remains committed to enhancing the occupational features of our educational system; the British Council’s global knowledge and expertise have also been utilized for providing support to the CTEVT system. This is related to our post-earthquake support, the remittance market and poverty reduction activities. That is why our partnership is not only limited to English language teaching but has expanded from a more subject-specific system to encompass wider economic and poverty reduction activities.
Our work together shows how a successful partnership can demonstrate convincing results in the education sector. We cannot think of Nepal’s education system in the absence of the British Council’s collaboration. Its knowledge and technical support have played a huge role in enhancing the capacity of the government staff members such as myself and others.
On this special occasion of its 60th Anniversary, I wish to extend my gratitude to the team at the British Council who have shown a very strong commitment to developing Nepal’s capacity by enhancing our education system. I hope to see the same level of commitment in the future.