British Council and North East Council sign agreement

Alan Gemmell, OBE, Director British Council India and Siile Anthony, Director (HRD and E), North Eastern Council (NEC), yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen educational and cultural cooperation, to support the knowledge ambitions and economic growth of the eight States of the North East. The MoU will support the higher education, English language, skills and cultural aspirations for the young people from Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura, according to PTI report.

As a result of this of this MoU, artists and the cultural community of all the Northeast states would get the opportunity to share culture, creativity and ideas with the UK. Government school teachers and faculty members of higher education institutions would gain access to English Language learning, quality education and internationally benchmarked assessments, said a statement from British Council India, noted the report. The MoU will work towards improving English communication of State civil servants, developing capacity-building initiatives in State Governments, supporting improvements in the teaching of Mathematics and Science, capacity-building programmes for faculty and senior administrators of higher education institutions and it will seek to increase student and academic mobility, for all 8 states of the region, the statement added.

“We’ve been inspired every day of the last 70 years by the artists, students, scientists and policymakers we’ve worked with in India and the North East,” said Alan Gemmell OBE, Director of the British Council in India. “Our work in the last two years has started to make a difference – we created Mix the Cities Northeast, put the Himalayan Poppy as the central attraction of our India: A Billion Dreams garden at the Chelsea Flower Show, presented a brilliant musician at Ziro Festival of Music and we have trained 48 football coaches from all eight states, including Sikkim,” he added.

“By signing a MoU with the NEC,” the director said the British Council is “able to make an impact across eight states simultaneously, and I hope it will enable more young people to realise their aspirations in education, skill development and arts and culture.” The British Council will impart training to 1600 teachers on English, Mathematics and Science throughout ten months in eight northeastern states. The 2-phase pilot project, which will begin from November this year, will see academicians of the British Council imparting training to 100 teachers each from each state in the North East, they said.

“A MoU was signed at the NEC secretariat here between the British Council and the NEC for imparting training to English, Mathematics and Science teachers in the region to improve quality of teaching,” Anthony told the agency. The MoU celebrates the British Council’s 70th anniversary in India, in particular, the rich cultural connections the Northeast has had with the UK, and seeks to strengthen the relationship for the next 70 years.

According to the statement, the British Council has worked continuously with the various states from the North East, the most recent example being Mr. Alan Gemmell’s meeting with Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Pema Khandu, to discuss Council’s support in the state’s English language teacher education, skills development for young people, and greater collaboration with the UK in arts and culture, last month.

British Council presented London-based musician Nubya Garcia at this year’s Ziro Festival of Music in Arunachal Pradesh. In 2016, British Council presented two leading bands from the UK at the NH7 Weekender festival in Shillong.

What is more, the British Council had provided technical support to the Asian Development Bank-funded ‘Supporting Human Capital Development in Meghalaya initiative’ of the state government to enhance the employability of its youth. To strengthen employability and promote gender inclusion, British Council had launched Premier Skills Guwahati earlier this year, in which UK Premier League coaches trained 48 football coaches from the Northeast, including a coach from Meghalaya, the statement added.

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