The British Council and the Government of West Bengal signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 6 July 2018, wherein both parties agreed to work together on education, training and capacity building of students and teachers in 76 polytechnics across the state catering to the upskilling of over 12,977 students. 

A two-year project, the project activities began in December 2019.

Project vision and objective

The project’s vision and objectives are to:

  • improve 12,977 students’ proficiency in English for Employability
  • improve 70 English teachers’ English proficiency and develop their skills in student centred pedagogy
  • build leadership skills of Polytechnics Principals to better facilitate Continuing Professional Development (CPD) opportunities
  • review the Polytechnics’ Communication Skills 1 curriculum (Year 1 Semester 1) and present recommendations to the department
  • support the formation and facilitation of five student clubs in five Polytechnics.

Project activities

As part of the project, the following activities have been completed:

Teacher baseline observations: The objective was to observe the teachers’ classroom practice before they receive any training on the project. 25 teachers who were teaching English for year 1 semester 2, were randomly selected and observed. Observations were conducted using an observation tool that is mapped to the British Council’s Teaching for Success approach.

Leadership and project management skills training for Principals: To ensure the principals’ training is relevant to their needs, a short needs assessment activity was conducted. Two online focus groups (FGs) were conducted for this purpose.  These lasted for one hour each. An online survey was also published, and 56 Principals participated in this survey. The FGD and the survey helped assess the needs from the principals to understand their role, their professional development requirements and the support they require in their roles. Consequently, this information helped identify themes and skills that need prioritising in the training. This training was conducted in Kolkata. 48 participants attended this training programme of which 25 were principals and the others were those in leadership positions. The training focussed on the following themes:

  • Leadership and management
  • Project management
  • Staff development and staff voice
  • Communication
  • Mentoring and coaching
  • Student centred learning
  • Changing perceptions

The training was delivered via presentations and incorporated a bilingual approach.

Stakeholders’ feedback

After attending the training, the principals shared that they were going back with huge satisfaction and confidence. The top three take away from the training were – application of project management, use of resistance and conflict Management and motivation of self and staff.

External links