Bihar Language Initiative for Secondary Schools

The British Council, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) Bihar and the UK Department for International Development (DfID) established the Bihar Language Initiative for Secondary Schools (BLISS) project in January 2012.  Initially a two year project, BLISS has now been extended until 2017. 

BLISS aims to address the needs of teacher educators, teachers, learners and the wider community in Bihar by providing access to high quality teaching and learning materials as well as increased awareness of the value of English for employability.

The BLISS vision

The BLISS project aims to address the needs of the teacher educators, teachers, learners and the wider community in Bihar by providing access to high quality teaching and learning materials as well as increased awareness of the value of English for employability. It aims to aid the Bihar State Government in devising a coherent, high quality and sustainable model for teacher development which will improve the quality of instruction and ultimately raise the level of English proficiency among both teachers and learners in the state enabling the Bihar State Government to achieve its development agenda.

We will train a core group of 160 Teacher Educators, an average of four per district, supported by 40 Mentors, who will act as a support network, academic resource and teacher training cadre for school and district based teacher development. We will support the state government in ensuring that every secondary school in Bihar has a specialist English teacher with the necessary skills to achieve National Curriculum Framework (NCF 2005) and Bihar Curriculum Framework (BCF 2008) goals. Up to 3200 English teachers (Standards IX-X) will use English in their lessons and provide opportunities for their students to use English in a variety of interactive and meaningful ways that are relevant to their needs and context.

Workshops will be held for Head Teachers and District Education and Project Officers in the state to ensure that they understand the aims of the project and what is required of them in supporting teacher development. We will engage with local communities through the media and local events, which will discuss the link between English and employability and the rationale behind learner and learning centred teaching methodologies.

We will provide resources for learners and teachers at all levels through print, radio and web-based media. This will include TeachingEnglish Radio, a series featuring Indian teachers discussing learner centred and activity based teaching methodologies; locally set teacher development films and LearnEnglish Print, designed for low level learners, specific to the Bihar context and to be published in vernacular publications. British Council web-based resources mapped to the local curriculum will be made available to teachers and learners. 


‘There is strong evidence of the positive impact of BLISS training on teacher and student behaviour. This has been achieved through a combination of relationship building, sensitivity to local contexts and professionalism – all qualities which are at the heart of the British Council's work’. 
Dr Christopher Tribble, BLISS External Evaluation Report, April 2016

The programme has focused on the professional development of 200 teacher educators and almost 2000 teachers.

BLISS monitoring and evaluation systems have been described in two independent reports (2016) as ‘first-rate’ and ‘exemplary’


  • 99 per cent of participants assessed training as relevant and wanted to apply skills acquired in their classrooms.
  • 68 per cent of participants scored over 70 per cent in end of course assessments. 
  • Over 70 per cent of teacher educators were positive about support from head teachers, administrative personnel and the state.


  • Almost 60 per cent of teacher educators sampled increased their proficiency in grammar, reading and writing by at least one band on the CEFR scale. 
  • Almost 50 per cent of teacher educators sampled increased their oral proficiency by at least one band.


  • Significant increases in extent of lesson planning, use of English and classroom management by teachers and teacher educators following professional development.
  • Measurable wider use of pair work, group work and learner interaction, activities likely to interest learners, opportunities for learners to speak.
  • Substantial increases in the ability of teachers and teacher educators to reflect on their teaching.


  • 97 per cent of Block 1 teacher educators identified as well prepared, confident and committed.
  • At least 40 per cent of teacher educators meeting all standards.
  • Significantly higher numbers met standards including preparation, commitment, use of pair and group work and effective reflection on performance.


  • All teachers surveyed agreed the LearnEnglish Schools DVD was fun and would support learning.
  • 97 per cent of learners stated they had enjoyed using the LearnEnglish Schools DVD and 96 per cent that they had found the contents interesting. 
  • All teacher educators surveyed felt the Teacher Development Films resource was useful, well presented and appropriate for their school and district. 


Key activities


  • Support for the professional development of up to two hundred teacher educators (TEs) from all districts of Bihar focusing on classroom teaching skills, trainer skills and language proficiency. 
  • Delivery of BLISS training (Blocks 1, 2 and 3) by the TEs to teachers in their own districts, focusing on developing skills in English language teaching.  
  • Delivery of orientation workshops to District Project Officers, District Education Officers, Assistant Resource Persons (ARPs) and head teachers).


  • Development of three seven-day courses: English for all in Bihar (EfA) Blocks 1, 2 and 3 (total sixty hours’ training).


  • Initial project needs analysis identifying pressing needs for improvements in teacher language proficiency and teaching skills and recommending development of teacher educators.
  • Development of comprehensive and rigorous monitoring and evaluation tools: observation of teachers prior to and following project professional development, and of teacher educators in classrooms and training contexts.
  • External evaluation identifying project impact and suggesting initiatives to support the future sustainability of the project. 


  • Participation by teacher educators and Bihar government officials including State Project Officers in national conferences (Teacher Educator Conference, Hyderabad, AINET International Conference, Nagpur) and international events (IATEFL), and by teacher educators in British Council Hornby School (Nepal).
  • Development of films:  English for all in Bihar and BLISS Teacher Development films, with orientation sessions in Bihar.
  • Support for development of clubs for learners by teacher educators.
  • Competitions: lesson planning, poster design and club activities.
  • Installation of the British Council LearnEnglish Schools DVD in more than fifty schools in Bihar, followed by orientations and monitoring and evaluation.


  • 'English in Education: Bihar Profile’: available in the downloads section below
  • Social Attitudes to English in Bihar’ [forthcoming]


Working with Teacher Educators and British Council local Training Consultants, we have developed three blocks of face to face teacher training materials focused on classroom management, teaching reading and teaching speaking.

  • A 20 minute film has been produced explaining the BLISS project and issues around English in Bihar which will be broadcast on local TV in early 2015. The film is in Hindi, with an English language version available on YouTube.
  • BLISS incorporates a number of British Council India resources for both teachers and learners. This includes the TeachingEnglish Radio India series and LearnEnglish Schools, an off-line package of materials taken from the LearnEnglish website which have been mapped to the local curriculum.
  • The BLISS English for All (EfA) project has developed a series of Teacher Development films, which show English secondary school teachers at work in different locations in Bihar. The films provide a self-access learning resource for teachers in Bihar who may not be able to attend face to face training. A workbook to accompany the films is available in the downloads section at the bottom of this page.
  • LearnEnglish Schools: LearnEnglish DVD is a compilation of resources available online on the British Council LearnEnglish website. The aim of the DVD is to provide resources for English language teaching and learning purpose in contexts where access to internet is a challenge. The DVD has resources on receptive skills, vocabulary and grammar for grades 1 to 10. The BLISS LearnEnglish DVD orientation took place in Patna on 5 August 2015.  Participants not only included English and IT teachers but also head teachers and district coordinators from IL&FS and Pearson of Patna and Bhojpur. The training provided the participants with an understanding of the use of the DVD, its link with the school curriculum, planning and setting up DVD practice lesson and ensuring the safety of the learners.
  • BLISS poster competition: a poster competition was organised as a continuing professional development activity under BLISS and was open for participation to all English teachers in Bihar. Entries were invited for top tips for speaking and reading skills and presenting and practising vocabulary. Six of the seven winning entries received full sponsorship from British Council to attend the Teacher Educator Conference 2015 (TEC15) from 27 February to 1 March 2015 at Hyderabad. The winners are:
    Name School Name District
    Deepak Kumar Choudhary Nishan Singh Smarak 10+2 School Rohtas
    Sheetal Deva Mount Litera Public School Begusarai
    Dhananjay Pandey Higher Secondary School, Kharari Rohtas
    Ardhendu Bhushan Sinha Sri Baldeo High School Saran
    Anupam Kumari L.B.S.K High School Munger
    Mukund Murari Ram Plus 2 Uchcha Madyamik Vidyalaya West Champaran
    Tanushree Chowdhury D.A.V. Public School Nalanda

    You can see the winning posters in the downloads section.

What the stakeholders say

‘After BLISS, I started the first English club in my school. I share all the ideas with teachers in the school. They asked me if they should go to BLISS. I said go if they noticed a positive change in me. All of them went to training!’  - Nand Kishore, Teacher Educator

‘The Bihar government thought students of secondary level should learn English for their futures … BLISS has the best model for Bihar.’  - State Programme Officer, Bihar

‘The new techniques have helped in engaging the students. All these activities help the students learn better … we want to implement the techniques for other subjects too.’  - Teacher, Dwariknagar High School, Muzaffarpur

English in Education: Bihar Profile (2016)

English in Education: Bihar Profile (2016) has been produced by British Council East India working in cooperation with Pratham. It provides a comprehensive reference document on the teaching and learning of English and education in general in the state and a ‘snapshot’ of current systems and practices at one specific moment in time, late November 2015. It describes systems and current practices, summarises existing research and presents data gathered through the BLISS project. It aims to serve as a foundation for decision-making and a source of information for researchers, organisations and individuals planning to work in Bihar. It will also be of interest to head teachers, teacher educators and teachers working in the contexts it describes.