Project Tejas trains 51,000 teachers for 1.4 mn students

Varsha Gaikwad

TEJAS, an innovative teacher training project delivered by the British Council in association with Tata Trusts and the Maharashtra State Government, has reached its successful completion. The project that set out to benefit primary school teachers and students across government schools in Maharashtra through improved English language proficiency, has been successful in achieving its goals. The project trained 51,000 teachers across 36 districts in Maharashtra, who in turn, teach 1.4 million young students in the state schools. The project was run through an engaging, replicable model wherein teachers could not only manage their own development but also sustain it for larger peer to peer groups, in and beyond the State.

Organised virtually, the completion ceremony was attended by Varsha Gaikwad, Honourable Minister of School Education Department, Government of Maharashtra; Barbara Wickham OBE, Director India, British Council; Dr Jovan Ilic, Director West India, British Council; Amrita Patwardhan, Head of Education, Tata Trusts, Dinkar Temkar, Director SCERT, Maharashtra and Dr Subhash Kamble, Director Regional Academic Authority, Aurangabad. The ceremony acknowledged key stakeholders and participants who contributed to the success of the project, more so during the last year since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. These included 775 Teacher Activity Group (TAG) coordinators and 240 Kendra Pramukhs (KPs), responsible for the coordination and administrative aspects of the TAGs respectively.

Tejas is a significant project for the State of Maharashtra as it represents a transition from a traditional model of teacher training to a more sustainable, internally supported approach that promotes holistic professional development through communities of practice. The project has helped build the State’s institutional capacity to support and implement large-scale, long-term in-service teacher training programmes which do not rely solely on cascade training as the medium of delivery. The five-year project (2016-21) showed great resilience to the pandemic and met its timeline by embracing the virtual platform and holding over 3,500 online meetings in the past year since the first lockdown.

Speaking at the completion ceremony of TEJAS,  Varsha Gaikwad, Honourable Minister of School Education Department, Government of Maharashtra, said, “I am pleased with the visible impact of this unique partnership between Government of Maharashtra, British Council and Tata Trusts that has resulted in upskilling of our primary school teachers and has improved student learning outcomes. Our State Government is dedicated to improving the standard of teaching and learning across the districts of Maharashtra and we are happy that we have worked with partners whose deep expertise in the area has ensured that the long-term plan stayed on course and met its original objectives.”

Barbara Wickham OBE, Director India, British Council said, “we are delighted to celebrate the successful completion of Project Tejas, enabling teachers to advance their English language teaching skills, to improve learning outcomes for 1.4 million learners in state government schools with the self-sustaining project model continuing to drive development opportunities for teachers in the future. It is testimony to our deeply rooted partnership with the Government of Maharashtra and Tata Trusts, focused on better preparing teachers and learners for global avenues. We remain committed to partner with Maharashtra’s knowledge ambitions and create increased opportunities for youth, through our programmes.”

“TEJAS has emerged as an excellent model to demonstrate how education reform is possible when key stakeholders – the State, the civil society and technical experts work together for a common cause. TEJAS has demonstrated a powerful blended form of Continuous Teacher Professional Development for rural primary school teachers, that is enabled by technology while retaining the social nature of learning through face-to-face interactions. Lessons learnt from TEJAS are important for effectively developing teachers whose role is central to realizing quality education for all children,” said Amrita Patwardhan, Head Education Tata Trusts.

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