31 May 2013

Education programme in Bangladesh wins language teaching ‘Oscar’

An English language teaching and learning programme in Bangladesh, in which The Open University (OU) is a key partner, has won a prestigious British Council ELTons award, known informally as the Oscars of English Language Teaching.

The English in Action (EIA) programme took home the award for excellence in local innovation. This category was singled out during the night as one of the most important awards.

The English in Action schools programme introduces new English language teaching and learning activities to teachers and students across Bangladesh. EIA includes new classroom activities, professional development for teachers and on-going support through locally paired teachers and cluster groups.

In 2008, EIA was launched in Bangladesh at the request of the Bangladeshi Government, which hopes that learning English would allow greater participation of Bangladesh in the global economy. By 2017, the programme will have reached over 75,000 teachers and 10.5 million students in Bangladesh.

As a major partner in the schools component of the programme, the OU is involved in producing the “Trainer in Your Pocket”, a low-cost mobile phone pre-loaded with teacher professional development and classroom resources. A tiny SD card inside the phone is packed with videos of teachers carrying out effective classroom practices, filmed in authentic Bangladeshi classrooms, and also audio files to use in class, all linked to the national textbook.

Mahbub Leelen, Head of Materials Development with EIA managing partner BMB Mott MacDonald, said: “Future generations are moving things forward, and the evidence is this award. The kids and teachers are the main actors and implementers and winners of this project, and of this award.”

The programme is funded by the UK and is being implemented by the Government of Bangladesh. To find out more, visit

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