British Council

I found two grade three pupils who made a toy car in a shape of a frog – they were playing with the car and shouting in English calling it “car frog!” This is the first time I have seen young pupils using English outside the classroom.


SMILE series  teacher, Elobeid state, Sudan


Life cycle





European Union


To increase access to quality basic education in Sudan and enable school teachers to support students to play an active role in the global economy, particularly in the most vulnerable groups. 


Sudan’s national Poverty Reduction Strategy prioritises education as a key factor in addressing the root causes of poverty and tribal conflict. However, the country remains far from achieving Universal Primary Education as there are still three million children between the ages of 5-13 out of school. ISTEP aims to build the capacity of teachers to access and implement the new English, Maths and Science curricula for basic education across seven states in Sudan, and highly populated with internally displaced people and refugees. Our extensive track record in delivering bespoke teacher training programmes means we are well-placed to address the education needs of the country.


A needs analysis for the project and a baseline study of English, Maths and Science training has been completed, including training for data collectors, to help set benchmarksk from which to measure progress. From this we have established a bespoke continuing professional development (CPD) framework for teachers, increasing capacity of the federal and state Ministries of Education to efficiently monitor and administer in-service training. So far, 185 trainers, 185 supervisors and 4500 teachers have been trained across seven states. To help pupils become confident using the English language as a tool of communication, teachers are being trained in the new curriculum, known as Sudan Modern Integrated Learning of English (SMILE), a student-centred and a topic-based syllabus.


Over time ISTEP will improve curriculum development and teaching through the provision of high quality in-service teacher education. Our teacher training has reached the programme target of 185 qualified teacher trainers across the seven states, 6,500 basic school qualified teachers of English, Maths and Science to teach the new curriculum and 185 qualified school inspectors. The CPD framework established for teachers to continue their professional development is measured to agreed benchmarks. Over time we have learnt the most effective way to introduce new concepts to teachers is through planned and continuous reinforcement. Through this, teachers have greatly developed their personal and professional qualities.

Improvements in teacher capacity is making an impact on students already - so far there are 200,000 indirect student beneficiaries, which will rise to 330,000 pupils across the seven states in Grades 1 to 6 by the end of the programme. For example, seven classroom books for grades 3-9 have been developed, which now reach five million students per year across all 16,500 primary schools in Sudan. 

Mutual benefit

The In-Service Teacher Education Project (ISTEP) in Sudan is one component of the wider Education Quality Improvement Project (EQUIP) funded by the European Union Trust Fund (EUTF), which seeks to build resilience and tackle exclusion by strengthening basic education services. Part of our wider work in Sudan, this seeks to support the next generation by applying UK expertise in skill development and confidence for employability. Without which, young people have fewer opportunities to participate in decisions which affect their lives.  

By capacity building we share UK and international best practice in Sudan, creating stronger bilateral relations at institutional and governmental level, working closely with the country’s federal and state ministries. We are helping position the UK as a trusted partner to the Sudanese government, especially in education.