The Tejas project is a joint initiative delivered through a partnership between the Government of Maharashtra, Tata Trusts and the British Council. It aims to improve the quality of English language learning in primary schools across Maharashtra. Under this initiative, the main focus is capacity building of the State so that it can provide appropriate Continuing Professional Development (CPD) opportunities to teachers. This will be achieved by a blend of activities such as face-to-face training, online learning through e-moderated and self-access courses and Teacher Activity Groups (TAGs) at cluster level. The creation of online communities through popular social networking platforms and a teacher mentoring program will further enable the state to further develop their capacity building objective.
Maharashtra: Technology Enabled Joint Action and Strategic Initiatives (TEJAS)
This initiative broadly aims at capacity building of the Institutions of Govt of Maharashtra involved in teacher training; the objectives include:
- enabling the RAA to plan, manage and support local communities to practice independently as an alternative to traditional cascade models of training.
- enabling teachers to organise, form and implement local communities to practice, both digitally and face-to-face to improve their quality of teaching and, build on their continuing professional development
- At the end of the project, the TAG coordinators and teachers will have gained more confidence in their ability to communicate effectively in English, especially in the classroom and the training room. The teachers will also have developed skills in facilitating CPD activities.
The Project started as a pilot in nine districts of Maharashtra in 2016 and later was scaled up in 27 other districts; these include Ahmednagar, Akola, Amravati, Bhandara, Buldhana, Chandrapur, Dhule, Gondia, Jalgaon, Jalna, Kolhapur, Latur, Mumbai, Nanded, Osmanabad, Palghar, Parbhani, Pune, Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sangli, Satara, Sindhudurg, Solapur, Thane, Wardha and Washi
- Selection of Teacher Activity Group (TAG) Coordinators: to facilitate the initial establishment of TAGs in Maharashtra; TAG Coordinators have been selected through rigorous selection procedures which required the potential candidates to fill an online application form that was scrutinized at several levels. As a part of the selection process, the candidates were also interviewed telephonically on their performance for final selection.
- Training of 850 TAG Coordinators: A cadre of 850 TAG Coordinators, who can facilitate peer-support groups and form a sustainable resource for future initiatives, has been developed. The TAG Coordinators have been through 19 days of face-to-face training with a focus on Teacher Activity Groups (TAGs) and how these should be conducted. In addition, TAG Coordinators have accessed the British Council online self-access course and experienced online learning and developed language proficiency. A TAG Coordinator is responsible for conducting TAG meetings in three clusters in each district. These meetings are conducted once a month and the TAG Coordinator is responsible for uploading the attendance data and the monthly report on the Tejas App.
- Digital Communities of practice: WhatsApp, Facebook groups for TAG Coordinators have been established for digital communities of practice so that they have access to resources linked to continuing professional development (CPD). These engagement forums complement TAG Coordinator training and provide on-going support, communication and access to professional development.
- Training of English Subject Assistants (ESAs): A cadre of 20 State Academic Resource Persons (SARPs) and 50 English Subject Assistants across the state has been established to support TAG Coordinators. SARPs and ESAs’ face-to-face training includes orientation to the programme and development of project management and communication skills. They received 40 days of face-to-face training in teacher training skills, ELT theory and practice, ELT project management, monitoring and evaluation and material development. They receive further support in anchoring and coordination of the core group and will have access to an eight-week online e-moderated course that will develop their English ability.
- Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL): This includes classroom and TAG observations, focus group discussions and collection of Most Significant Change stories from ESAs, TAG Coordinators, teachers, students and parents. All aspects of the project will be monitored and evaluated using quality assured tools created specifically for Tejas with the support of an external consultant. The findings from TAG and classroom observations and feedback from all stakeholders will feed back into the project planning cycle.
- 775 Teacher Activity Coordinators (TAGCs)
- 2130 Teacher Activity Groups (TAGs)
- 65 State Academic Resource Persons (SARPs) & English Subject Assistants (ESAs)
- 240 Kendra Pramukhs
- 51000 Teachers
- 14 Lac Learners
- 1300 Digital courses
- 55000 annual publication Reach
- 95% - Teachers try out new ideas from the TAG in their lessons each month
- 84% - Teachers find their TAG WhatsApp group useful
- 95% - Teachers feel their English has improved since joining their TAG
- 93% - Teachers feel their learners are making progress in their English
- 95% - Teachers like to share their experiences and ideas about teaching during the TAG meeting
- 89% - TAG Coordinators use English appropriately during the TAG meeting
Dr. Subhash Kamble, Director, Regional Academic Authority English Expertise, Aurangabad - The Tejas project, as its name suggests, has spread the ‘light’ of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in the lives of many teachers in Maharashtra. The uniqueness of the project is the ownership the teachers have of all the activities and the success with their learners. Its effect will therefore be a long lasting one.
Swati Sawai, Teacher, Amravati - During my English lessons I conduct activities and games I learned during our TAG meetings. I share these on my YouTube channel. When parents and other teachers see these videos and praise my students. It is also encouraging to see the progress my students have made by comparing the early videos with the recent ones. This motivates students to participate more and enjoy interactive activities.
Nirguna Somde, Parent - Recently I have noticed a vast change in Rutu’s attitude towards learning English and using it. She now uses English to name all the vegetables, fruits and pulses grown in our farm. I have started learning English too so that I can speak to her. I’ve bought a vocabulary book and try very hard to learn new words. I hope someday I’m able to speak to my daughter in English and surprise her!
Pratiksha Gaikwad, TAG Coordinator, Zilla Parishad School, Dikshi, Nashik -Through the Tejas project, I learned many new activities and ideas on how to adapt those for my students. Now students are finding English easier and aren’t afraid of it anymore!
Pundlik Deshmukh, TAG Co-Ordinator, Gadchiroli - TAGs have been a platform to develop my language skills and confidence. I have seen an improvement in my own vocabulary, grammar and spoken fluency. Now I have started applying innovative and student- centred methods which we learned from the TAG Resource Book and have seen an improvement in my students’ speaking and listening skills too.