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British Council and CBB celebrate 15 years of teacher training project

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The British Council celebrated the long- running CBB English Language Teacher Training Project at a ceremony at the Ministry of Education recently.

The project, which has been running since 2005, draws to a close this year. It grew out of six weekend workshops around the country and developed into the annual delivery of English language teacher training to approximately 200 English language teachers nationwide.

More than 2,000 teachers have been trained through this project impacting on over 310,000 pupils. The course is a distance teacher training program with study sessions run by the trainers at the 31 RESCs (Regional English Support Centres) across the country leading up to the University of Cambridge Teaching Knowledge Test.

Speakers at the event included Professor K. Kapila C. K. Perera, Secretary to the Minister of Education, Ms Roshanie Moraes, CBB President, British High Commissioner, Sarah Hulton and Ms. Louise Cowcher, Director Education and English, British Council.

The project was not able to have its annual awards ceremony because of the Covid-19 outbreak. Instead the Cambridge Teaching Knowledge Test and British Council teacher training certificates were given to the teachers at their RESCs. A collage of photographs taken during these smaller ceremonies were displayed at the event. The RESC mentors attended were given certificates for their work on the project.

The publication, A Celebration of the CBB Teacher Training Project: 2005-2020 – Case Studies from across the country by the Council for Business with Britain (CBB) and the British Council, was launched at the event. The project’s legacy is the cadre of trainers and teachers it created who then impacted on hundreds of thousands of pupils. This publication is a collection of their personal stories.

Their stories show children becoming more confident in their use of English and becoming more motivated to use the language. Teachers also cited the increase in their pupil marks in end of term tests and in O and A levels. The case studies clearly illustrated the move from teacher to student centred classrooms and a corresponding increase in teacher and student confidence.

The event also showcased this year’s addition to the project in the form of an employability poster competition. Teachers on the project worked with their classes to produce a poster on a topic connected to employability. These posters were shortlisted by the RESCs, then by the British Council, and the finalists were selected by members of the CBB committee. The winning teachers whose classes submitted the successful posters received their awards. The posters were on display at the event and also included in the case study publication.

Roshanie J. Moraes, President, CBB, said “this was CBB’s contribution to upskilling the future workforce of Sri Lanka in the English Language and we are extremely proud to have positively impacted a large number of teachers and students through this in the last 15 years. We hope the teachers and the mentors take this program forward and engage in continuous development and continue to serve our society”.

Mark Prothero, CEO of HSBC Sri Lanka and Maldives, the principal sponsor, emphasized the importance of the project, saying, “The importance of developing English literacy skills is a highly-topical and necessary national debate. It is important for the learning community, in particular the teachers, to foster a generation of students who can use the language as a base in their future careers. HSBC has been the principal sponsor of this project since 2006 and we are very proud of what we have achieved with the program.”

Louise Cowcher, Director Education and English of the British Council said, “This has been a key project in supporting young people develop their language skills, which is vital for enhancing their employability.

“Over the lifespan of the project 2,352 teachers have developed their professional skills to internationally benchmarked standards with the benefits passed on to approximately 310,400 secondary students. This is indeed an achievement to celebrate with CBB and the Ministry of Education!”

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COPE meets online for first time in its history

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by Saman Indrajith

The Parliamentary watchdog committee – COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises) created a history by meeting online for the first time ever on Thursday.

The COPE had Secretaries of three Ministries joining in with its committee meeting through online (ZOOM) becoming the second parliamentary committee holding an online meeting in the country.

Thursday evening’s COPE meeting chaired by its chairman Prof. Charitha Herath connected online with Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Dr) H. S. Munasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Industries W. A. Chulananda Perera and, Secretary to the Ministry of Public Services, Provincial Councils and Local Government J. J. Ratnasiri via zoom technology.

The Environmental Audit Report on water pollution of the Kelani River was brought before the committee and the meeting held between the Chairman Prof. Herath, Ministers and Members of Parliament and secretaries and other officials continued without any technical hitches.

Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake said that facilities have been provided to hold meetings and discussions using online technology in two committee rooms in Parliament.

He said that Parliamentary officials had been working relentlessly for months to install the requisite technological tools and that the efforts have borne fruit and future Parliamentary meetings could be held online as a result.

The Committee on High Posts under the chairmanship of Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena also held a discussion with the new Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Kenya, who was living in Kampala, using online technology recently.

 

 

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Legatum Prosperity Index highlights SL’s development of education and healthcare sectors

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During the past decade

One of the key highlights of this year’s Legatum Prosperity Index was the improvement in Sri Lanka’s education and healthcare sectors over the past decade. These improvements were key to increase in prosperity within Sri Lanka, it was noted.

The London-based think-tank Legatum Institute launched the 14th Legatum Prosperity Index on November 17 2020.

The event commenced with the welcome address by the Chair of the Legatum Institute, Alan McCormick. 

Addressing the audience, the Chief Executive Officer of the Legatum Institute, The Baroness Stroud said that according to the Legatum Index, the global prosperity was at its highest level ever with 147 countries seeing their prosperity rise over the last decade.

Speaking at the launch, the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in the UK, Saroja Sirisena said that the end of the terrorist conflict in 2009 and the ensuing peace dividend, led Sri Lanka to achieve steady progress within the last decade.

She highlighted that the universal free education and healthcare policies of the country over seven decades are the pillars on which prosperity is built.

Director of Policy of the Legatum Institute, Dr. Stephen Brien explained to the audience as to how the Legatum Index is used to measure prosperity across the world.

The event was also addressed by the Founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation in Africa, Dr. Mo Ibrahim, Biologist and Writer, Matt Ridley and Ambassador of Georgia in the UK Sophie Katsarava.

Legatum Prosperity Index is a global index that analyses the performance of 167 nations across 65 policy-focused elements, measured by almost 300 country level indicators and it is the only global index that measures national prosperity based on institutional, economic and social wellbeing.

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Quick Snacks and Party Recipes from North India with Sapna Mehra

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The Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre (SVCC), High Commission of India, Colombo, will be holding an online cookery demonstration on ‘Snack Time: Quick Snacks and Party Recipes from North India’ on December 5 at 11.00 am on its FACEBOOK page https://www.facebook.com/ICCRSriLanka.

This festival season, the Cultural Centre will present a virtual cookery demonstration by Sapna Mehra. Cooking has been a passionate hobby of Sapna since her childhood days. Growing up in a large family of 17 members, she was very keen on bringing variety to the dining table, and that’s when her cooking journey began, preparing simple wraps, and snacks.

She now specializes in cooking dishes from a variety of cuisines. Originally from Bangalore, she has lived in many cities across India and Sri Lanka, and at present resides in Delhi.

She has a Postgraduate degree in Marketing and has over 12 years work experience in the professional field.

All are cordially invited to attend. For more details, contact the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre on telephone No: 2684698 or Email: iccrcolombo2@gmail.com

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