Andrew Carr is the Deputy Teaching Centre Manager with the British Council Division of the British High Commission in India. He spoke to Quest about the Councils aims and their collaboration with The Indian Express.
Can you tell us something about the British Council and its role in India?
Here at the British Council our main goal is to build the UKs role as a leading provider of educational and cultural opportunities. We try to do this by promoting effective education of the English language,while building relationships with people all around the world.
Worldwide we have issued nearly eight million books and videos,dealt with almost two million enquiries in our libraries and welcomed five and a half million visitors.
We have employed more than 1,900 teachers in 138 teaching centers around the world who have taught almost 1.2 million class hours.
We are very well established in India and in 2000 we celebrated the 50th anniversary of our library network over here. In India we teach over 8,000 students every year in Delhi and Chennai. All of these students get British Council certificates after the successful completion of their course.
Tell us something about the series with The Indian Express.
The Indian Express is a high-quality newspaper so we joined hands with them. In this series we would be providing articles to the newspaper. The readers can read those articles to improve their reading skills. The content has been written in London by our team of experts.
What was the idea behind this?
The idea is to make people read. We have not graded the language to specific levels,but most people will be able to read. Anyone who reads the articles will be benefited as the articles have been written to help students and others help improve their English.
What kind of articles will the students be able to read?
There is a range of articles,like pub culture,British holidaying habits,benefits of acupuncture,etc. And each article is linked to a vocabulary task. After reading the articles the readers will go through a vocabulary task that will help them improve their vocabulary.
Why did the British Council choose The Indian Express to start this initiative?
We were very keen to bond with a reputed quality Indian newspaper and The Indian Express is the obvious choice. We were looking for a paper that has a wide circulation and also has a young audience. The section Quest in Express Newsline caters to the young audience. So it was a perfect fit. The articles are targeted at that age group. We are more than happy to work with such a credible newspaper.
Who all has the British Council tied up with in India?
We work with the Ministry of Education,British Petroleum,the Delhi government,KPMG and many others.
What activities do you get involved in?
Our activities in India focus on six main areas: learning and teaching English,education,library and information services,arts and culture,rights and society and science.
Will the articles be beneficial to students who wish to appear for TOEFL,GRE and other such exams?
Yes,it will be helpful,the series of articles are aimed at improving reading skills and also the vocabulary of the readers.
Do you have any exam preparation courses?
We have a very popular IELTS preparation course. If you want to get the best score you can,you need to join our intensive or regular IELTS preparation courses and improve your exam techniques and strategies.
What is the objective of the programme and how will a student benefit by it?
The articles are aimed at improving reading skills,vocabulary,comprehension skills and understanding of English. Dont forget that there are prizes such as free British Council courses and books for the winners of the competitions.