Latin America and the Caribbean
In Latin America and the Caribbean we deepen engagement with the UK by contributing to national agendas in education, English language teaching and national responses to the global climate change agenda. Increasingly, our projects are large in scale and delivered across a number of countries. Our challenge is to increase the visibility and impact of the UK in all that we do.
Tens of thousands of school-children in South America and the UK are benefiting from the British Council’s new regional education project. The School Leadership and New Tools for Learning project (SLANT) was launched in response to the desire of governments in Latin America and the Caribbean to develop and improve school education.
The project was launched in 2006 and runs in all of the nine countries in which the British Council has a presence.
In 2007–08, 190 head teachers from across the region and the UK were involved in the project, which aims to transform their leadership skills through an exchange of good practice and recent innovations. The project has already brought benefits to thousands of schoolchildren in the region and in the UK. Over the coming year this will increase to over one million students.
The project enjoys the enthusiastic commitment and participation of ministries of education in all nine countries as well as head teachers from the region and the four countries of the UK. From its conception, SLANT has demonstrated a collaborative approach, demonstrating the active engagement of our partners at all levels. For example, directors of school education in national ministries of education are responsible for the strategic direction of the project, ensuring that its activities are in tune with national needs and agendas. Project implementation at state, regional and municipal levels of government is the responsibility of directors of school education, heads of teacher training faculties, school inspectors and ICT advisers. Head teachers from schools in the UK and Latin America are the major project participants, developing ideas, methodologies and materials in a series of workshops, meetings, training and exchanges.
This is the British Council’s first large-scale regional project in Latin America and, as a result of its impact, we have strengthened our profile in the region. The disseminating effect of our approach has been welcomed enthusiastically by our project partners. In the past year, the participation of head teachers in the region has attracted the interest of more than 850 fellow head teachers from other schools and, in Brazil, the project is being extended to 500 more schools. According to Maria Auxiliadora Seabra Rezende, President of the National Council of State Secretaries of Education, Brazil: ‘The project is of considerable importance because it contributes to a clear perspective of leadership in school management and the role of head teachers, through sharing of experiences. The fresh approach that is brought to the project by UK head teachers enables critical analysis of Brazilian practices.’
Feedback to date has already indicated the valuable role of the UK, with head teacher standards and school self-evaluation processes improving and participants and partners viewing us as an authority on the international dimensions of education.
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