Maharashtra English Language Initiative in Secondary Schools

The English Language Initiative for Secondary Schools (ELISS) is a partnership project between the British Council and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyaan (RMSA). The project aims to reach 20,000 secondary school teachers (grades 9 and 10) of English from government and government-aided schools in the State of Maharashtra.

Project Objectives

The objectives for ELISS are based on the recommendations from the Needs Analysis conducted in June 2013.

  • To build the capacity of the RMSA to deliver high quality cascade training, and to move towards other more decentralised and sustainable models of in-service teacher development.
  • To enable teachers to understand the rationale behind personalised, student-centred approaches, and apply them to conducting activities aligned to their curriculum and/or textbooks.
  • To encourage and support teachers to take responsibility for their own Continuing Professional Development. This will contribute to teachers feeling greater professional satisfaction, considering their professional ambitions, and delivering classes using enhanced English language and pedagogical approaches. 


  • 400 Master Trainers will develop key trainer training techniques and skills so that they can effectively cascade their training to others.
  • 70 mentors will conduct classroom observations, give constructive feedback and develop teacher training sessions based on need ascertained during observations.
  • 15,000 teachers will develop their skills and knowledge in how to use communicative and skills-based teaching methodology to teach English and also understand the principles and practices underlying the National Curriculum Framework (2005).

Key Activities

The key activities of the project are as follows:

  • Needs analysis - The Needs Analysis was conducted in June 2013. The Needs Analysis report assessed the current levels, attitudes, teaching-learning practices and needs of 1049 key stakeholders, including teachers and learners in grades 9 and 10, Principals, parents and education officials. The report has been published online by the Government of Maharashtra here.
  • Master Trainer selection- based on language level, qualifications, teaching experience and levels of motivation.  
  • Face-to-face training - 6 days per academic year of training for three years for the selected Master Trainers. Master Trainers will then deliver training to 15,000 teachers for 5 days per academic year between 2013 – 2016, focussed on developing Grade 9 and 10 teachers’ ability to deliver student-centred classes based on the current curriculum and textbooks for English in Maharashtra.    
  • Monitoring and evaluation - To ensure learning and improvement in both the planning, management and academic components of the programme and to ensure opportunities for professional development are exploited.

What the Master Trainers say

Someone said that, 'many problems one solution' and that is ELISS. This ELISS has made me a confident teacher for my learners. ELISS is full of innovative, interesting, nice activities. These activities contain group activities, pair work and warmer activities. These are the keys to open the imaginative treasures of the learners.  Every teacher can implement these activities in their class rooms. When I use these activities in my classroom, what a change!

‘Before ELISS we were scattered. This project has made us a part of worldwide ELT community.’

‘I owe a lot to RMSA and British Council for introducing me to different techniques like pre-reading, post reading activities, controlled and free practice etc. This immensely helps me deal with students’ difficulties. I have also started reflecting on my work which has helped me to improve my performance.’




Mentoring Pilot Project

In Phase 3 of the project, RMSA agreed to the British Council conducting a pilot project to train and support 80 ELISS Master Trainers to be mentors to other teachers in their own and neighbouring schools. This will scale up to include all 480 Master Trainers in Phase 4 and represents one solution to sustaining the project once it comes to its end after Phase 4. This will enable the state to grow its capacity to provide ongoing support and development for teachers, whilst also meeting teachers’ needs on a more local and sustained manner throughout each academic year. 
In early 2015, 80 mentors were selected and in May 2015 they received a five day training course on mentoring skills, conducting developmental observations and providing constructive feedback. The government have allocated mentors five hours per week to carry out this role. Mentors are currently conducting mentoring activities with up to 15 teachers in their local area.