Designing the primary level English textbook for the state board is so far the most important activity undertaken by the British Council,feels British Deputy High Commissioner Simon Wilson.
The state government has taken the help of Scottish expert,Ray Mackay,for designing the English textbook - My English Teacher and the teachers hand book for students of first standard. Every year the students will be provided with a new English textbook till they reach Class V.
We expect to reach 13 million students in the next five years and will train about a quarter million teachers in English through these textbooks, said Wilson at a conference of Scotlands Colleges International (SCI),a conglomeration of 28 colleges of Scotland in the city. Speaking to The Indian Express,Wilson said that because of political reasons,English was not included in the curriculum of the state Board for more than a decade.
Learning English brings cultures together and also helps in developing business partnerships with people in other parts of the world, Wilson said.
Other than designing the textbook,the Department for international Development has plans of spending 500 million pounds over eight years in primary education and West Bengal is one of the partner states under this project. Besides this,IIT Khragpur,Jadavpur University and Bengal Engineering and Science University (BESU) have also tied up with various universities in the UK under the UK-India Research Education Initiative.
Ann McKechin,UK Minister for Scottish Affairs ,said that like West Bengal,Scotland has also made significant development in information technology and biotechnology and Scottish colleges are keen on working with their counterparts in West Bengal.