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About the project

English as a school subject in basic education:

Influencing future policy directions

Project aim

This project focuses on a key area in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL): English as a school subject (ESS) in basic education (BE).

It has two strands. First, in response to the British Council’s recent Future of English research, it tracks keys trends in ESS in BE through a longitudinal set of surveys completed by partners in forty-one countries. As well as British Council identified trends, the project will also examine how trends identified in other published research behave over the same period and will highlight new and emerging trends.

The second strand will identify the characteristics of ESS in BS in ODA countries. Drawing on curriculum and syllabus documents, course books, as well as interviews and observations with teachers, it will establish a baseline core curriculum of language systems and skills (content) and classroom activities (pedagogy).

An analysis of gender in the coursebooks will also be undertaken in order to identify if and how ELT materials are perpetrating gender stereotypes, potentially acting as negative input for young girls.

Funder and funding scheme

The project is funded under the Future of EnglishLink opens in a new window (FoE) grant scheme by the British CouncilLink opens in a new window.

Projects funded through this scheme focus on areas of interest identified by the Future of English project. The aim of the scheme is to provide output which will facilitate and support stakeholders at all levels – from ministries of education to individual institutions and educators – to achieve their goals in relation to the use of English in local and global contexts.

Confidentiality and data protection

We will collect consent in a context-appropriate way. We will aim to ensure that all consent is freely given after participants have been fully informed about the research either orally or in writing, according to participants’ preferences.

For both teacher interviews and classroom recordings, only personal information that is essential to the project will be collected. Key participants will have the right to request non-anonymity, but we will counsel against this.

It may not be possible to anonymise such highly contextual data sets before analysis as to remove detail would reduce the quality of analysis. However, data from both interviews and classroom observations used for publication and for archiving will be prepared so that anonymity is achieved with all names and any identifying references to people or places removed.

Research design

The project uses a hub and spoke research design. Four hubs, representing four geographical areas are led by four co-investigators. The hubs are located in Malawi (Africa hub), Indonesia (Asia hub), Turkey (Europe and the Middle East hub), and Mexico (Latin America and the Caribbean hub). Each Co-I is working with expert collaborators who are based in each of the region’s ‘spoke’ countries. Co-I‘s are also taking on the role of expert collaborator for their own countries, so that each hub comprises ten countries in all.


UK GDPR guidelines are followed with respect to personal data.