The ground breaking English for Education College Trainers (EfECT) project emerged from a request from the Burmese Government to UK Prime Minister for support with its process of educational reform. Started in August 2014, the first phase of EfECT finished in July 2017. It has been hugely successful in supporting the Burmese Ministry of Education in developing the Burmese education system.
The project, co-funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the British Council, has improved the quality of education across primary, secondary and tertiary sectors of Burma’s state education system by upgrading the teaching and training competence and English language proficiency of approximately 2200 Burmese teacher educators (TEs). Fifty expatriate teacher trainers have been embedded in twenty Education Colleges, two Universities of Education, the University for the Development of the National Races and The National Centre for English Language.
EfECT has gone through three phases, each building on the previous one through building capacity of teacher educators enabling them to support the national whole sector educational reforms in Myanmar and become key agents of change. The first, two year, phase focussed on developing English Language skills and Teacher Training methodology. The project created and utilised its own teacher training methodology product ‘Foundation in Teaching (FiT) specifically designed for the Myanmar context, for the needs of teachers and teacher educators of a whole range of subject and age specialisms. In just the first year, an overwhelming 97% of teacher educators had already improved their English proficiency as measured by British Council’s Aptis test, 75% of which by at least a CEFR level. The second year which focused on methodology training to develop classroom practice, also saw outstanding results with 77% of the individual TEs improving their observed teaching on at least four out of six teaching competencies with another 92.6% improving in ‘questioning skills’ and ‘teaching interactively’.
The second six month phase aimed at developing teacher educators as trainer trainers and Primary English Language teacher trainers, able to pass on teacher training methodology and Primary Young Learner English Language Teaching skills and knowledge in the future to other teacher educators and basic education teachers. This phase provided the English Teacher Educators the chance for teaching practice in primary practice schools.
The final phase, further promoted sustainability by seeing teacher educators assume more responsibility and autonomy in planning and delivering multi subject trainer training, English language teacher training and English language teaching in their Education Colleges, with EfECT trainers moving from trainer to mentor.
Speaking about the legacy of EfECT, the project director, Vanessa Komiliades said ‘...The dedication and commitment Teacher educators have demonstrated to their continuing professional development over the three years of EfECT has been inspirational and their exceptional achievements are certain to have lasting impact. I have every faith that teachers and teacher educators in Myanmar will continue to develop and share their skills in order to make valuable contributions to the education of the vast numbers of teachers and pupils that their work reaches during this important time of educational reform.’
The EfECT Project has laid the foundation for the British Council’s future involvement in Burmese educational reform, in its co-operation with the Burmese Ministry of Education to strengthen the education system, including, the teaching and training capabilities of teacher educators at education colleges.