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
To improve the quality of students’ learning of English in government primary schools.
Technology-enabled Education through Joint Action and Strategic Initiatives (TEJAS) was a partnership project with the Government of Maharashtra and Tata Trusts (a leading Indian philanthropical organisation). We shared 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 Regional Academic Authority (RAA). This project took an innovative approach involving technology and communities of practice, rather than adopting the traditional cascade training method.
Tejas promoted holistic professional development through face-to-face training, Teacher Activity Groups (TAGs) and the creation of communities of practice. This was the first time a state government has established these on such 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 our trained TAG coordinators. In total, 2000 localised communities of practice (involving regular TAG meetings and dedicated WhatsApp groups) were set up.
During the Covid-19 epidemic, Tejas was delivered online through synchronous and asynchronous input with facilitators and trainers developing their online moderation skills and teachers attending virtual TAGs.
From 2016-21, TEJAS involved 70 government academics, 800 TAG coordinators and 51,000 teachers. The impact study for the project pilot (2016-19) revealed primary students now have greater opportunities to use English in the classroom due to the improved language of teachers.
A total of 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 began. Due to the encouraging results of the pilot in nine districts, in 2018 the government requested a further roll-out to the remaining 27 districts. The end-line study revealed that over 93 per cent of the students of these teachers actively participated in English lessons.
The way in which the TEJAS model has successfully adapted to Covid-19 limitations is further evidence of its sustainability and robustness. The TEJAS TAG model of teacher development has been adopted in several states of India, 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 improves the quality of teaching and education in order to provide young people with the skills and qualifications for employment. The project 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, showcasing the UK’s research expertise in education and international development. This has resulted in the same methodology being used in other countries, leading to further opportunities for UK input.