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The ELT INSETT PROJECT
British Council Azerbaijan




British Council ELT INSETT PROJECT  Azerbaijan

A consultative review of progress and policy

Report prepared by: Dr C Tribble

Commissioned by: Brian Maguire, English Language Projects Manager


British Council Azerbaijan

Submitted: 10 February 2006


Executive summary

A consultative review of the British Council ELT INSETT project has been concluded following a document review process carried out in January 2006 and three day visit to Baku in the period February 6-8.

The overall assessment of progress to date is positive, with a strong team of INSETT trainers now established, an appropriate and highly appreciated INSETT course developed and piloted, and two cohorts of English language teachers (with the potential for delivering local support to colleagues, having completed or in process of completing the course. (see the discussion on under Findings Section 4 on pages 7 - 10).

The primary concern of the project team is the extent to which it will be possible to consolidate the positive outcomes of the first part of the project. Such consolidation will, ideally, require cooperation with an existing official ELT INSETT structure which is able to deploy a network of existing trainers able to learn from the INSETT Project Team and to deliver the ELT INSETT programme through local or central institutional frameworks. However, it is far from clear that such a network exists  or is operationally effective in the case that it does appear to have official existence. Under these circumstances, the report concludes that it will be necessary to investigate two possible approaches to ensuring that the ELT INSETT project closes with the maximum possible impact and sustainability. The first will involve identifying and assessing the capacity of official ELT INSETT institutions. If it proves impossible to find such a partner, the second approach will depend on the strengthening of the capacity of NGO sector organisations to reach as many practicing teachers as possible.

Main recommendations from this report, focus on the completion of the evaluation progress and achievements in Phase 2, and the preparation for a possible Phase 3. These are given below:

Recommendation 1

PHASE 2 EVALUATION  The ELT INSETT Project Manager should work closely with the ELT INSETT team to finalise and implement an evaluation plan for Phase 2 of the project. Results of this evaluation process should be available at the end of the funding period for Phase 2 and should inform the final design of Phase 3 (including the ELT INSETT training programme design)

Recommendation 2

POLICY  The British Council and the Project Board should seek immediate clarification from the Ministry of Education on the issue of which organisations have the authority and responsibility to provide ELT INSETT in the regions.

Recommendation 3

POLICY  The British Council should seek to ensure that any initiatives within Phase 3 harmonise with processes funded through the World Bank Education Reform project

Recommendation 4

CAPACITY  The British Council, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and the Azerbaijan English Teachers Association, should take immediate steps to assess the extent to which national and local state structures in Azerbaijan are actually delivering ELT INSETT courses to teachers in the regions, and who is delivering this training. This may involve parallel surveys  one carried out by AzINSETT, the other conducted by AzETA. This triangulation of data would be valuable.

Recommendation 5

    PROJECT DESIGN  If it is possible to clarify these issues, a project design for Phase 3 should be established along the lines set out in the main recommendations (Section 7)



Table of contents


PREPARATION 5

1.Comment on the Terms of Reference 5

2.Approach 5

3.Main activities during the consultancy 6



3.1Document review 6

3.2Stakeholder interviews 6

3.3Evaluation workshop 6

FINDINGS 7

4.The ELT INSETT PROJECT: Phases 1 and 2 7



4.1Progress to date 7

4.2A re-statement of the ELT INSETT Project structure 7

4.3Outcomes and outputs 8

4.4Stakeholder relations 9

4.5Comments on the present project structure 10

4.5.1Present status of the ELT INSETT training team 10

4.5.2ELT INSETT Provision delivered through state structures 10

4.5.3Delivering a cascade. 10

5.A Phase 3 for the ELT INSETT Project? 10

5.1Azerbaijan Teachers' Institute  AzINSETT (060206a AzINSETT.doc) 10

5.1.1Current provision 10

5.1.2Capacity to support ELT INSETT 11

5.1.3Assessment of potential and risks 11

5.1.4Interim conclusion 11

5.2University of Languages (UoL) 11

5.2.1Current provision 11

5.2.2Capacity to support ELT INSETT 12

5.2.3Assessment of potential and risks 12

5.2.4Interim conclusion 12

5.3Azerbaijan English Teachers' Association 12

5.3.1Capacity to support an ELT INSETT mini-baseline 13

5.3.2Interim conclusion 13

5.4Ministry of Education 13

5.4.1Current policy on ELT INSETT 13

5.4.2Interim conclusion 14

5.5A possible way forward 14

6.Acknowledgements 16

7.Conclusions and recommendations (draft!) 17

APPENDICES 18

1.Azerbaijan ELT INSETT PROJECT - Documents.doc 18

2._INSETT Project Evaluation NOTES.doc 18

3.ELT INSETT Evaluation Schedule + outcomes.doc 18

4.List of meeting notes: 18

5.ELT INSETT Evaluation Workshop Notes.doc 18



PREPARATION


1.Comment on the Terms of Reference


The initial terms of reference for this consultancy focused on two major purposes: the overall evaluation of the ELT INSETT project, and the pressing need to ensure clarity around the nature and feasibility of a proposed Phase 3. Following discussions with Brian Maguire, the EL Projects Manager for Azerbaijan and evaluation commissioner, we agreed that the primary focus of the evaluation would be on the feasibility of a possible Phase 3, and that a formal evaluation of the outcomes of Phase 2 would be best undertaken by the present ELT INSETT project team with the support of the British Council. This would ensure that the evaluation would be stakeholder driven, maximise learning, and provide a professional development for this group. It would also make best use of the time I had in Baku to work with the project managers on a review of policy for ELT INSETT.

The finalised terms of reference specified that the desired outcomes of the review process would be:



  • an evaluative comment on progress to date (Phases 1 and 2) based on stakeholder assessments and an earlier documentary review

  • an assessment of the risks implicit in the current approach to Phase 3

  • a set of recommendations for a way forward for the coming 18 months which will maximise the sustainability of the outcomes achieved to date through the ELT INSETT project.

2.Approach


Informed by these terms of reference, the following approach to the consultancy was agreed.

  1. The commission would be seen as a consultative review process.

  2. This process would have the following major components

  • a review of project documents in advance of the visit to Azerbaijan

  • a specification of stakeholders to be included in an interview process

  • a specification of interview focus and hoped for outcomes for each stakeholder category

  • an interview schedule

  • a set of detailed notes for each meeting undertaken in the consultancy (these are appended to this report)

  • a training workshop for INSETT team members focusing on principles of evaluation in ELT projects

  • an outline evaluation plan for Phase 2 of the project

  • a report summarising progress to date and making recommendations for an approach to the elaboration of the proposed Phase 3

In general terms such an approach to the evaluation harmonises with the Realist Evaluation framework developed by Pawson and Tilley1  a framework which has become mainstream in contemporary programme evaluation designs in recent years. In such an approach the main concern in a retrospective evaluation is to answer the question "What has worked, for whom, in what circumstances"? In prospective policy development, the same question becomes: "What might work, for whom, in what circumstances?". This report attempts to address both questions.


3.Main activities during the consultancy

3.1Document review


The Project Manager provided an extensive set of background and policy documents (see Appendices). Following the review of these documents a set of questions and issues was identified. These are summarised in Appendix 2 _INSETT Project Evaluation NOTES.doc, and formed the basis for the Stakeholder interviews.

3.2Stakeholder interviews


Outline interview protocols were agreed with the project manager in advance of the consultancy visit. The protocol structure for these interviews can be found in Appendix 3 ELT INSETT Evaluation Schedule + outcomes.doc

A series of interviews was held with the following major stakeholders:



Monday 6 February

14.30 - 15.30 Aqiya Nakhchivanli rector AzINSETT and Rena Atayeva head of International department, venue AzINSETT

16:00 – 17:00 Rafiqa Aliyeva Baku INSETT head of ELT department venue BakINSETT

Wednesday 8 February

10:00 - 11:00 Elmar Qasimov, vice minister ME, venue ME

14:30 - 15.30 Majid Aliyev, head of teacher training and re-training department, venue University of Languages

16:00 - 17:00 School visit Jale Mammadova, successful participant from Phase 1, venue school # 134

17:00 - 18:00 Ragsana Mammadova President of Teachers' Association AzETA), venue AzETA office.

Detailed notes for all these meetings are listed in the Appendices (4) and are attached to this report. They constitute a primary evidence basis for whatever conclusions and recommendations arise from this review process. A set of publication quality portrait photographs of all interviewees was also prepared. These are available to the British Council on CD to use in its public communication work

The school visit was included in the consultancy as an opportunity for me to have a first hand feel for what is happening in EL classrooms in Azerbaijan, and also to develop a small photographic documentation of classroom practice. This documentation has been completed and a set of web and print ready images has been provided on CD to the British Council, with the understanding that the school will also received a set. Examples from this documentation have been used to illustrate this report.

I will not comment in detail on the meeting at BakINSETT. This was mainly of value in confirming the positive outcomes of Phase 1. A note of this meeting can be found in the appended document - 060206b BakINSETT.doc


3.3Evaluation workshop


The other main activity for this review process was an Evaluation Workshop for the ELT INSETT team. The overall purpose of this one day workshop was to provide participants with an update on contemporary approaches to evaluation in education projects, and to prepare a plan for the summative evaluation of Phase 2. This plan can be found in the Appendices (Phase 2 Draft Evaluation Plan.doc). Detailed meeting notes for the day can also be found in the Appendices (5 ELT INSETT Evaluation Workshop Notes.doc).

FINDINGS



In the following sections I will summarise progress to date in the ELT INSETT Project and outline issues that have emerged in the course of the review.


4.The ELT INSETT PROJECT: Phases 1 and 2

4.1Progress to date


In partnership with the Ministry of Education, the British Council Azerbaijan has been supporting the development of In-Service Education and Teacher Training (INSETT) since 2003. Phase One of this project completed in January 2005 with the following major outputs:

  • a baseline study on ELT in Azerbaijan

  • the recruitment and training of a team of 8 potential INSETT trainers

  • the development of a locally appropriate ELT INSETT curriculum and training programme for ELT teachers in state secondary schools across Azerbaijan

  • the delivery of this new INSETT programme to 25 EL teachers from the Baku region


Phase 2 has been under way since January 2005 and has focused on the consolidation of the capacity of the group of INSETT trainers through the delivery of a second round of training to and the preparation for a possible Phase 3 in which it is envisaged that the INSETT team will be involved in the training of existing or potential English Language INSETT Trainers.

Major outputs to date in Phase 2 have included the identification and recruitment of a cohort of 25 teachers from the 11 regions of Azerbaijan, and the successful delivery of a training programme to English language teachers from regions outside Baku. As a result of the project, the INSETT team has gained recognition (both from their peers and, officially, from the Ministry) as a valuable INSETT training resource, and the school teachers who were trained in Phase 1 have started to deliver local professional updating workshops for teachers in Baku and other regions in Azerbaijan.

The activities in the project have included international training, in-country training courses, conference participation and other professional development opportunities for the INSETT trainers themselves, as well as for participating teachers.

The overall assessment of the project by key stakeholders is positive. The Ministry of Education has given the INSETT team the official status of Trainer of Trainers, the INSETT team members are confident, very well informed on the needs of their trainees, and have the training skills they need to deliver the programme they have developed. Teachers who have gone through Phase 1 training are now able to deliver their own training workshops to colleagues and peers. These are valuable achievements.


4.2A re-statement of the ELT INSETT Project structure


During discussions with the project manager, the project coordinator, and the INSETT team, it was possible to clarify the outcomes and outputs of the ELT INSETT project. These outcomes (what we hope to achieve through the project) and outputs (what we can promise to deliver) were not transparent in earlier project documentation, and this in itself has created the possibility of policy confusion. In the following sections we will consider these recast outcomes and outputs and make suggestions for a way of achieving the desired project outcomes through a third phase.

During the workshop with the INSETT team we clarified the project theory of ELT INSETT in the following terms:



If we improve INSETT provision for English Language Teachers we will:
1. help English language teachers to use new text books more effectively,
2. prepare their own materials,

3. implement these materials in classroom teaching in Secondary Schools in Azerbaijan, and
4. enable these trained teachers to support colleagues who have not shared their training experience

We also agreed that such a project theory has to be set within the overall framework of education reform processes in Azerbaijan and the factors which constrain this reform (notably local financial and human resource capacity to deliver adequate ELT INSETT) if it is to produce sustainable outcomes.


4.3Outcomes and outputs


In such a context we identified the following major project outcomes and outputs for the first TWO phases of the project:

  • OUTCOME 1

  • EL INSETT Trainers have the capacity to strengthen existing secondary school teachers' ability to provide a better educational experience for school students in Secondary Schools in Azerbaijan

  • EVIDENCE

  • Observation of training (peer / managerial)

  • Learner self reports

  • Portfolios of work produced and teachers' projects by trainees

  • outputs

  • A group of 8 trained and confident trainers with a broad range of appropriate skills in EL teacher training / trainer training

  • An EL Teacher Training Programme (content / methodology) appropriate to the needs of EL teachers in state schools in Azerbaijan

  • EVIDENCE

  • Its existence

  • Quality review by peer / external specialist observation / reporting




  • OUTCOME 2

Teachers who have been trained by the INSETT Team are able to 1) use new text books more effectively, 2) prepare their own materials, 3) implement these materials in classroom teaching in Secondary Schools in Azerbaijan, and 4) enable these trained teachers to support colleagues who have not shared their training experience

  • outputs

  • Teachers' Projects (work done by participants)

  • A trained group of 50 teachers (Baku + Regions)

  • An EL Teacher Training Programme (content / methodology)

  • A management system to enable participation

  • Agreement and financial contribution from national authorities

Both of these outcomes are professionally desirable and accord with the interests of major project stakeholders  in particular the Ministry of Education. They have also, to a very large extent, been achieved.



However, as presently configured, such a project design cannot achieve national impact, as the number of teachers who can be trained by the INSETT team is necessarily very small. To overcome this limitation, a Phase 3 in the project is envisaged. During this phase, a national team of INSETT trainers will receive professional development from the INSETT Project Team, and will be prepared to deliver the INSETT programme which has been elaborated through the project. The extent to which such a Phase 3 is feasible will be the focus of the following major sections of this report.

4.4Stakeholder relations


During the evaluation workshop with the ELT INSETT team we clarified the major stakeholders in the project as being:

  • PRIMARY (immediate beneficiaries)

  • English language teachers in Baku and the 11 regions of Azerbaijan

  • The BC INSETT team of English language trainers



  • SECONDARY (those funding, authorising, cooperating or implementing the project

  • MoE (Authorising + Funding)

  • Heads of Regional Education Departments

  • School Directors

  • British Council Azerbaijan (Funding + Implementing))

  • British Council Russia (Implementing)

  • Consultants (Implementing)

  • BC Russia INSETT Team (Implementing)

  • Warwick University (Implementing)

  • University of Languages (Cooperating)

  • AzETA (Cooperating)



  • EXTERNAL (none of the above  but interested  can be friendly or hostile)

  • American Embassy

  • AzINSETT

  • BakINSETT

  • British Council (Uzbekistan / Ukraine / Georgia)

  • Methodologists in Regional Departments

  • OSI

  • Parents

  • Qafqas University

  • University of Languages

  • World Bank Education Reform Project managers



These stakeholders interact in a structure of relationships which is summarised in the organogram below. The organogram makes clear how the project has developed to date and a number of possible contradictions which will have to be reconciled before any Phase 3 can be embarked on safely.



Figure 1: ELT INSETT Project Structure

4.5Comments on the present project structure

4.5.1Present status of the ELT INSETT training team


At the moment, although the members of the ELT INSETT have a formal recognition as Trainer Trainers from the Ministry of Education, this does not translate into any institutional, salaried positions as in-service Teacher Trainers or in-service Trainer Trainers. For all practical purposes, the team members remain English language teachers in secondary schools or English language instructors in the University of Languages. The teacher or trainer training they undertake within the ELT INSETT Project occurs outside the official Azerbaijan structures for INSETT.

4.5.2ELT INSETT Provision delivered through state structures


Officially, English language teachers should receive a minimum 4 week INSETT training course once every 5 years. However, during the consultancy, a very confused picture has emerged regarding what training is actually delivered through state INSETT structures, what the quality and kind of this provision actually is, and which institution has the primary responsibility for delivering ELT INSETT.

4.5.3Delivering a cascade.


Within the present structure, the ELT INSET Project Team have no direct formal access to teachers in schools in the 11 regions. Of course, they can reach teachers through their own personal networks, through the good offices of the Azerbaijan Teachers' Institute, and through the Azerbaijan English Teachers' Association. However, such informal contacts are neither a sufficient basis for the delivery of a formal training cascade, nor a platform for ensuring maximum impact and sustainability of project outcomes.

In order for a training cascade to work, a number of major pre-conditions will have to be met.

First amongst these is that the ELT INSETT team and the programme they have devised are accepted as a useful basis for the strengthening of the national ELT INSETT training system. Whether this can be achieved is an open question at present.

Secondly, and of even greater importance, any Phase 3 will depend on the ELT INSETT project having a partner organisation capable of:



  • identifying a cohort of existing or potential Teacher Trainers able to benefit from training

  • ensuring that these Teacher Trainers actually participate in the ELT INSETT training programme

  • ensuring that these Teacher Trainers are provided with the conditions which will make it possible for them to participate in training (release from teaching duties for sufficient time, funding to cover travel to a training centre and cost of living allowances)

  • and providing appropriate financial and infrastructural support to this cascade process.

The remaining sections of this report will be devoted to a review of these issues.


5.A Phase 3 for the ELT INSETT Project?


In the first four sections of this part of the report I summarise the results of discussions with four key stakeholders. The major purpose of the stakeholder interviews was to clarify the potential for a Phase 3 within the ELT INSETT Project. Interim conclusions are given at the end of each of these sub-sections. Following this, I outline a possible way forward for a Phase 3 which takes into account the potentials, risks and interim conclusions presented in the preceding discussions.

5.1Azerbaijan Teachers' Institute  AzINSETT (060206a AzINSETT.doc)

5.1.1Current provision


According to Ms Aqiya Nakhchivanli, Rector of AzINSETT, the Institute has overall responsibility for four major areas of teacher training:

  • pre-service Teacher Education

  • INSETT Training

  • Teacher retraining

  • Teacher education and improvement



INSETT is delivered through Affiliate Institutes in the 11 regions of Azerbaijan outside Baku, and new INSETT coordinator posts have recently been confirmed in these Affiliates. ELT INSETT should be delivered either through a full time specialist English language methodologist, or through a small group of highly experienced local teachers who are paid to do this work by the Affiliate Institute. The policy is still to provide INSETT once every 5 years, and local authorities and school directors are expected to encourage teachers to achieve this.

5.1.2Capacity to support ELT INSETT


The Rector is keen that any future ELT INSETT cascade should be implemented through AzINSETT. She feels that her organisation has the remit to carry out this task, and would be enthusiastic in her support to such an initiative.

5.1.3Assessment of potential and risks


  • potential

If it is correct that the majority of official ELT INSETT in the 11 Regions is being provided through school base ELT teachers, there is a strong argument for cooperating with AzINSETT in the professional development of this group of multipliers. In terms of cascade development, it would be an ideal solution as there would be no need for the creation of new structures.

  • risks

There are several risks to such an approach.

  • Capacity: it may be that there is no effective ELT INSETT being delivered through official structures at regional level. We don't know at the moment.

  • Capacity: the methodologists and teachers who are currently involved in training may not have either the English language skills or the training skills so that they cannot be developed in the short or medium term to a level where they can deliver the ELT INSETT programme

  • Funding: the Rector admits that AzINSETT itself, the Regional Education Authorities, and the Affiliate Institutes are desperately short of funds. This may limit or prohibit the delivery of ELT INSETT through AzINSETT structures.



5.1.4Interim conclusion


Before any firm decision is made about moving ahead with AzINSETT as a partner in a Phase 3 cascade, it will be essential to establish a new baseline in relation to its current capacity and activities in ELT INSETT. The British Council Baseline Survey of English Language Teaching in Azerbaijan, 2003-20052 provides a detailed review of the legal framework for INSETT and the ELT curriculum and approach to training at AzINSETT. However, the report gives no detailed information on:

  • the number and qualification of INSETT trainers for English language

  • the number and location of ELT courses run through official INSETT structures during the last five years

  • the number of English teachers who have participated in ELT INSETT.

The British Council would need to seek clarity on the status quo, as well as receiving firm financial commitments both from AzINSETT, its Affiliate Institutes, and from the sponsoring departments in the Ministry of Education and at local level before moving ahead with a Phase 3.

5.2University of Languages (UoL)


(meeting note 060208b UoL.doc)

5.2.1Current provision


Current provision exists mainly in theory at this institution. Until recently the University had no INSETT remit (being primarily involved in PRESETT and re-qualification). According to the Dr Majid Aliyev, up until very recently the Head of the Training and Re-qualification department, 50 teachers were trained in UoL in 2004, but a shortage of funds made it impossible to provide any INSETT training to teachers during 2005.

5.2.2Capacity to support ELT INSETT


According to Dr Aliyev, UoL is the only institution now authorised to deliver ELT INSETT in Azerbaijan. This position contradicts that of the Rector of AzINSETT and also the view of the Vice Minister of Education. There will be an urgent need to clarify this position before any final view can be taken on the future of a Phase 3 in the ELT INSETT project.

Apart from the question of status, Dr Aliyev is confident that his organisation is best placed to implement a cascade. He would be happy to draw on the ELT INSETT team (at least five of whom work as language instructors in UoL), and would be interested in drawing on the best of the project's curriculum to create a new programme which would draw on the organisation's existing professional resources in methodology and theoretical linguistics to complement the British Council ELT INSETT programme.


5.2.3Assessment of potential and risks


  • potential

Clearly, if UoL does emerge as the only authorised ELT INSETT provider, it will also be the only logical partner for a Phase 3 cascade. It does have the advantage of already being the employer of four team members and appears to be willing to re-deploy them to participate in this kind of training. Dr Aliyev also appears to be willing to adjust the UoL programme to accommodate the kinds of innovations that have been introduced through the INSETT project.

  • risks

The primary risk in working with UoL as the sole partner in a Phase 3 is that it seems highly unlikely that a cascade based on the central delivery of INSETT to a scattered teaching force is workable. If there it is already the case that there are insufficient funds to support locally delivered INSETT, it is unclear how local authorities would fund the travel and subsistence expenses inherent in the delivery of a programme which is only offered in Baku.

A second risk may be more easily surmounted  this relates to the status of the current ELT INSETT team members to deliver a university based INSETT programme in what would, effectively, be competition with established and more traditional methodology specialists. If there is full institutional support for the INSETT team and the ELT INSETT programme, along with adequate funding to provide them with teacher training positions in the university, there is no reason why they should not be more than capable of delivering their course through this institution.


5.2.4Interim conclusion


Several questions arise:

  1. What is the status of UoL as an ELT INSETT provider (especially in relation to AzINSETT)?

  2. What funding will be available to ensure the recruitment and training of sufficient numbers of teachers through a centralised INSETT programme that is only delivered in Baku.

  3. To what extent will existing specialists in UoL be willing to give space for the new ELT INSETT project curriculum and training approach?

Until we have clear answers to these questions  and in particular to Question 2, the risks of making any commitment to working with UoL in a Phase 3 cascade appear to be very high.



5.3Azerbaijan English Teachers' Association


(meeting note 060208c TA.doc)

We met with the President of AzETA, Ms Ragsana Mammadova, with the primary purpose of assessing their capacity to support a new ELT INSETT mini-baseline. Although AzETA has a long term interest in continuing to support professional development amongst English Language teachers, and has a growing membership both in Baku and in the regions, it is not, for the moment, able to provide official INSETT programmes. Ms Mammadova did, however, comment that very little official ELT INSETT appears to be happening, and that what little is offered is often not relevant to the needs of her association's members.


5.3.1Capacity to support an ELT INSETT mini-baseline


As a means of answering some of the questions raised in the preceding sections, we discussed the possibility of AzETA cooperating with the British Council and the Ministry of Education in attempting to find answers to the following questions:

  • How many English Language Teachers are there in the regions outside Baku?

  • How many official ELT INSETT courses have happened in the last three years in the regions?

  • How many teachers have been trained through these courses?

  • Who provided the training (name / contact information)?

Such a survey would not be concerned with an assessment of quality; it would be a fact-finding exercise only.

Ms Mammadova expressed a willingness on behalf of AzETA to assist in carrying out such a survey, although they may be a need for some financial support if large numbers of forms need to be duplicated and circulated. With the appropriate support she was confident that this process could be completed before the end of May 2006.


5.3.2Interim conclusion


AzETA's support and cooperation in the administration of a large scale survey of official ELT INSETT provision will be essential. If the British Council does decide to go ahead with this survey, it will need to begin discussions with AzETA as soon as possible.

5.4Ministry of Education


(meeting note 060208a MoE.doc)

Our discussions at the Ministry of Education were with the Vice Minister, Mr Elmar Qasimov. Mr Qasimov has been well briefed for our meeting and was fulsome in his praise for what the project had achieved so far.


5.4.1Current policy on ELT INSETT


According to Mr Qasimov, the Ministry's position is that both AzINSETT and UoL have the authority to provide ELT INSETT. As our meeting took place before we saw Dr Aliyev, there is an urgent need for a follow-up meeting to obtain clarification.

Mr Qasimov also stated that there was full support for the ELT INSETT project, commenting in particular that:



  • MoE hopes that there will be a Phase 3 because schools in the regions outside Baku have a great need for such training.

  • MoE's priority in ELT INSETT will be to deliver training to teachers in the regions.

  • Phase 1 and 2 INSET Trainers will receive certificates which state that they should give this training in other regions and the MoE accepts these certificates as giving this status.



During our meeting we also discussed the status of the 5 year official INSETT programme, and questions of funding and responsibility. Mr Qasimov's comments are summarised below:

  • Structure of INSETT programmes

INSETT is mainly a 5 year cycle, but for some subjects it is delivered every three years. Typically this training lasts for different periods of time  a minimum would be one month, but it can be as long as 6 months. After the first 5 years of service there is supposed to be a 6 month re-training programme. Most courses last around 2 months.

  • Authorised agencies

INSETT is delivered through the Azerbaijan Teachers' Institute + 12 Affiliations + Training and re-training departments of some universities with pedagogical status. Training is paid for through the local Ed Department.

  • Funding

Local funding comes from regional education departments. MoE recognise that more funding is needed, because there has to be a sufficient amount for subsistence and travel. However, local Educational Authorities should provide this.

  • Roles of AzINSETT / UoL

According to the Vice Minster they have equal status. The MoE gives the certificate and does not differentiate between the training institution. The MoE understands that they are both interested in delivery.

  • Future directions

Before any Phase 3 can start, the Ministry must be clear about what is meant by the title of Methodogist and how this official status can be given to the ELT INSETT trainers. So far as partner organisations are concerned, it will be better if the British Council chooses partner institutions. The MoE fully agrees that it is best to focus on EL methodologists. They should be trained to provide INSETT to other teachers.

5.4.2Interim conclusion


I have two main concerns as a result of this discussion. The first is the apparent confusion at a policy level as to which organisation has the remit to deliver ELT INSETT. This will require clarification at the earliest possible occasion. My second concern is that there appears to be a very large gap between the official declarations and policies of government on INSETT and the reality on the ground. If there is no realistic funding and policy framework for the delivery of official ELT INSETT, it is unlikely that a British Council initiative in this area will succeed.

5.5A possible way forward


After each of the interviews summarised above, I was able to review where we had got to with the English Language Projects Manager, Brian Maguire and the English Language Projects Coordinator Gulshan Huseynova. During these discussions we began to map out a possible approach to the elaboration of a Phase 3 for the project. This way possible way forward is presented schematically below, and will be returned to in the conclusions and recommendations which follow.

The critical issues which inform Figure 2 include:



  • the extent to which there is a match between policy priorities, funding, and capacity to implement ELT INSETT at national and local levels

  • the capacity of National Government INSETT (AzINSETT / UoL) structures to deliver ELT INSETT in the regions

  • the capacity of NGO structures to deliver ELT INSETT in the regions

  • the nature of other reform processes in INSETT funded through the World Bank Project.

Figure 2: Phase 3 - a possible structure

Route A is premised on the following actions and results:


  • a policy review which will ensure that there is clarity and agreement on which agencies have the responsibility for official ELT INSETT  this could take the form of a round table meeting of key stakeholders (MoE, BC, AzINSETT, UoL, AzETA)

  • a focused baseline study of ELT INSETT capacity in Azerbaijan (to be completed by May 2006). The primary purpose of this study will be to assess the capacity of official ELT INSETT capacity in Azerbaijan (courses delivered / teachers trained / trainers / funding), and should also ensure that whatever action is taken harmonises as much as possible with other activities being undertaken within the framework of World Bank funded education reforms

  • in the event of a positive outcome from this study, a Summer course / Selection process for potential participants in Phase 3 (Summer 2006)

  • a trainer training programme delivered to this group by June 2007

Route B will be a fallback in the event that it is impossible to establish an appropriate partner in the government sector. In this scenario, the British Council would cooperate with AzETA to establish as large a cohort as possible of ELT professionals with the capacity to deliver informal ELT INSETT training to classroom teachers in the regions. This approach will have low institutional sustainability, but will, at least, ensure that a wide group of active professionals have enhanced skills, knowledge and resources, and that there is scope for some impact beyond this trained group of "barefoot" trainers.

Clearly, "Route A" is the preferred scenario in terms of long term sustainability of project outcomes. This, however is dependent on it being possible to identify a national government structure with which to engage, and which will be able to benefit from a cooperative investment between the British Council and the Government of Azerbaijan to strengthen capacity in a key area of the education system.


6.Acknowledgements


I would like to thank the EL Projects Manager Brian Maguire for his energetic and enormously helpful professional briefing and advice throughout this consultancy process. Brian is clearly highly respected by the INSETT team and his colleagues, and his thorough preparation for this review has made it possible to achieve significant results in a short period of time  he cooks a mean sausage and egg fry-up too!

I would also like to thank the EL Projects Coordinator Gulshan Huseynova for her valuable insights, tireless and expert translation skills, and her very warm welcome to Azerbaijan. Thanks also to Paul Hilder for his insights and support, and to British Council Director Andy Williams for hosting a reception for those involved in the review process. This was a great help in getting to know people in a less formal setting.


7.Conclusions and recommendations (draft!)




Recommendation 1

PHASE 2 EVALUATION  The ELT INSETT Project Manager should work closely with the ELT INSETT team to finalise and implement an evaluation plan for Phase 2 of the project. Results of this evaluation process should be available at the end of the funding period for Phase 2 and should inform the final design of Phase 3 (including the ELT INSETT training programme design)

Recommendation 2

POLICY  The British Council and the Project Board should seek immediate clarification from the Ministry of Education on the issue of which organisations have the authority and responsibility to provide ELT INSETT in the regions.

Recommendation 3

POLICY  The British Council should seek to ensure that any initiatives within Phase 3 harmonise with processes funded through the World Bank Education Reform project

Recommendation 4

CAPACITY  The British Council, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and the Azerbaijan English Teachers Association, should take immediate steps to assess the extent to which national and local state structures in Azerbaijan are actually delivering ELT INSETT courses to teachers in the regions, and who is delivering this training. This may involve parallel surveys  one carried out by AzINSETT, the other conducted by AzETA. This triangulation of data would be valuable.

Recommendation 5

PROJECT DESIGN  If it is possible to clarify these issues, a project design for Phase 3 should be established. This should have the following core structure:

Outcome

Teachers in Secondary Schools the regions of Azerbaijan are better able to able to 1/ use new text books more effectively, 2/ prepare their own materials, 3/ implement these materials in classroom teaching, and 4/ enable these trained teachers to support colleagues who have not shared their training experience



Outputs

  • An official EL Teacher Training Programme (content / methodology) is agreed and being implemented by September 2007

  • Existing ELT INSETT Trainers have been identified by September 2006

  • This group has completed an INSETT Trainer Training programme by August 2007

  • A management system to enable participation of all ELT teachers in ELT INSETT in the regions is in place by end 2006

  • Agreement and financial contribution for ELT INSETT Teacher Training and ELT INSETT Trainer Training from national authorities is confirmed by September 2006 with a commitment to fund national ELT INSETT Teacher Training to at least June 2009.

APPENDICES

1.Azerbaijan ELT INSETT PROJECT - Documents.doc

2._INSETT Project Evaluation NOTES.doc

3.ELT INSETT Evaluation Schedule + outcomes.doc

4.List of meeting notes:


  • 060206 Gulshan.doc

  • 060206a AzINSETT.doc

  • 060206b BakINSETT.doc

  • 060206c BC_AZ.doc

  • 060208a MoE.doc

  • 060208b UoL.doc

  • 060208c TA.doc

5.ELT INSETT Evaluation Workshop Notes.doc


1 Pawson, R. and N.Tilley, (1997) Realistic Evaluation, London: Sage

2 Rahimova et al., (2005) A baseline survey of English language teaching in Azerbaijan 2003-2005, Baku: British Council Azerbaijan


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