The Tejas project is a joint initiative between the Government of Maharashtra, Tata Trusts and the British Council. It aims to improve the quality of English language learning in primary schools. Under this initiative, teachers form face-to-face and digital communities of practice in their local areas through Teacher Activity Groups (TAGs). This enables them to develop their language ability, teaching skills, knowledge and experience. Tejas also aims to revitalise the Regional Academic Authority, Aurangabad, so that is it better equipped to independently plan, manage and support English training initiatives across the state.
A fully functioning, equipped and resourced Regional Academic Authority plans, manages and supports teachers in their training and development. Teachers form face-to-face and digital communities of practice through TAGs in their local areas which enables them to develop their language learning and teaching skills, knowledge and experience. This results in more motivated teachers who take part in a culture of sharing and learning, resulting in improved quality of teaching and learning in the classroom.
Under the initial pilot beginning in 2016, Teacher Activity Groups were establised across nine districts in Maharashtra (Aurangabad, Beed, Hingoli, Nashik, Nandurbar, Nagpur, Gadchiroli, Amravati and Yavatmal). Altogether, 750 TAGs were established with the intention of meeting on a monthly basis. These TAGs were supported by 250 TAG Coordinators with approximately 18,000 teachers from across the nine districts in attendance. Thirty State Academic Resource Persons, based in the Regional Academic Authority, Aurangabad, are being trained to support this and future teacher education initiatives.
In 2018 the project has been scaled up at the request of the state government to cover a total of 27 districts. This will involve a further 30,000 teachers, 700 TAG Coordinators and 50 subject matter experts.
The success of Tejas is being measured based on three key aspects: participant engagement, evidence of participant learning and participant application of practice in the classroom. Baseline, midline and endline data is being collected for detailed analysis using classroom observations and focus group discussions as the primary sources of information.
At the end of Year 2, the following progress has been recorded:
- 65% of State Academic Resource Persons are working to agreed standards (Baseline=0%; Endline target=75%)
- 21% of TAG Coordinators meet facilitation standards (Baseline: 0 / Endline target: 75%)
- 28% of observed lessons delivered by teachers who attend TAGs meet agreed standards in the use of learner-centred classroom methodology (Baseline: 16% / Endline target: 60%)
- 54% of teachers who attend TAGs make use of digital technology and platforms purposefully for their professional development. (Baseline: N/A / Endline target: 50%)
- training of State Academic Resource Persons (SARPs) – face-to-face and online: orientation to the programme, English language teaching skills and development of ICT proficiency. SARPS complete 25 days of face-to-face training covering topics such as planning and designing workshops and monitoring and evaluating projects. SARPs also complete a three month online moderated course on English language teaching
- selection of Teacher Activity Group (TAG) Coordinators to facilitate the initial establishment of the groups in nine districts of Maharashtra. TAG Coordinators were selected through rigorous face-to-face or telephonic procedures
- training of TAG Coordinators – TAG Coordinators receive eight days of face-to-face training to orientate them to the Tejas programme and TAG coordination role. TAG Coordinators also complete a 30-hour online self-access English Language development course to build their English language proficiency
- establishment of Teacher Activity Groups and participation by teachers at monthly meetings in nine districts. TAGs are set up by the TAG Coordinators across the nine districts of Tejas during the pilot phase and will total 27 in the scale up phase
- establishment of WhatsApp groups for digital communities of practice to complement TAGs. WhatsApp groups are set up for SARPs and TAG Coordinators to provide on-going support, communication and access to professional development. In addition every TAG now has its own WhatsApp group for teachers to share their learning experiences
- training of Regional Academic Authority administrators and Block Resource Coordinators – face-to-face including orientation to the programme and development of project management and communication skills. A five-day course on project management and business communications has been delivered to over 120 officials to support them with the future planning and implementation of Tejas and other initiatives
- monitoring and evaluation including classroom and TAG observations focus group discussions and collection of Most Significant Change stories. All aspects of the project were monitored and evaluated using quality assured tools created specifically for Tejas with the support of an external consultant. Findings of TAG and classroom observations and feedback from all stakeholders are fed back into the project planning cycle
- symposium events are conducted to share learning and experiences and raise further awareness of the project.
Tejas: Stories of Change
To capture the stories behind these numbers, individual stakeholders were asked to share examples of how the project had impacted them and the teachers and learners they work with. The Tejas: Stories of Change publication contains 45 stories from nine districts, and features government officials, Teacher Activity Group Coordinators, teachers and parents.
The English and Marathi language versions of the publication were launched in Mumbai on 27 August 2019 by the Honourable Minister for School Education, Sports and Youth Welfare, Government of Maharashtra, Mr Ashish Shelar, Mr Satyajit Salian, Head Education, Tata Trusts, and Helen Silvester, Director West India, British Council. The publications can be downloaded below.