I was sceptical about enrolling my daughter in a government school, but this was the only feasible option for us. Now, when I look at other children in our area who go to semi-English medium or private schools, my daughter speaks better English than them!
Satish, the father of a Class 5 student whose teacher attends TAGs in Aurangabad district, Maharashtra
Tata Trusts, Government of Maharashtra, India
TEJAS (Technology-enabled Education through Joint Action and Strategic initiatives) aims to improve the quality of students’ learning of English in government primary schools. This is achieved through capacity building of government agencies to support and manage large-scale teacher development programmes.
With advances in pedagogy, technology, and the demands of a changing learning environment, supporting teachers through professional development is more important than ever. TEJAS is a partnership between the Government of Maharashtra, Tata Trusts (a leading Indian philanthropical organisation) and the British Council. We bring our well-established expertise in English language teaching and teacher development to improve the quality of teaching in schools and build the capacity of the State Institute of English (SIE). This project has an innovative approach involving technology and communities of practice, rather than the cascade training method.
TEJAS promotes holistic professional development; face-to-face training, Teacher Activity Groups (TAG) and the creation of communities of practice - the first time a state government has established these communities on a large scale. TAGs are groups of 20 teachers that meet once a month to discuss their professional development and improve their English skills, facilitated by a British Council-trained TAG coordinator. 2000 localised communities of practice have been set up involving regular TAG meetings and dedicated WhatsApp groups.
The TEJAS Teacher Activity Groups (TAG) model of teacher development has been adopted in the states of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, as well as in Egypt, Palestine, Pakistan, Romania and Ukraine. This model represents an evolution in approaches to teacher education, which ultimately improves the quality of classroom teaching and learning.
TEJAS involves 70 government academics, 750 TAG coordinators and 40,000 teachers. The impact study for the TEJAS pilot (2016-19) revealed primary students have greater opportunities to use English in the classroom due to the improved language of teachers. 76 per cent of observed teachers used English language and learning-centred techniques according to agreed standards, up from 44 per cent before the project. In 2018 the project was scaled up at the request of the state government to cover a total of 27 districts involving a further 30,000 teachers, 700 TAG coordinators and 50 subject matter experts. After piloting in nine districts, lessons have been learnt around programme management, institutional support and monitoring and evaluation, all of which are being incorporated as it expands across Maharashtra.
TEJAS is part of our wider objective in India, Maharashtra in particular, to improve the quality of teaching and education in order to provide young people with the skills and qualifications for replication in other countries, leading to further opportunities for UK input. With successful deployment, the programme contributes to the development of the English language profession and the UK’s reputation as a world leader in the field. TEJAS has benefited from guidance from a UK monitoring and evaluation consultant. This in turn has showcased the UK’s research expertise in education and international development and seen the methodology replicated in other countries, leading to further opportunities for UK input.