Editor’s note: In this piece, TIRF Trustee Michael Carrier shares information about his activities to support language education in the UK.

A TIRF Trustee has just taken up a new government committee appointment to support the language education sector in the UK. Michael Carrier has been asked to take on the role of Chair of the ELT Working Group, which is convened and hosted by the UK Department of Industry and Trade (DIT), the ministry responsible for developing new export markets and maximising income for the UK.

This initiative brings together stakeholders from across the ELT profession and industry sectors. Some examples of the groups involved include the British Council; corporate leaders like Pearson and Cambridge English; industry representative bodies like EnglishUK, UniversitiesUK, and the Publishers Association; and other organizsations involved in ELT work overseas.

The Working Group will collaborate with the DIT team, other government departments, and UK representatives overseas to identify opportunities for development projects worldwide that ELT providers in the United Kingdom can bid for. These development projects all have some component of language education, and may involve the design and delivery of teacher training programmes, support of local curriculum development, help with assessment design, or materials publishing. Each of these projects will be led by a ministry of education or local NGO, but the development work may be led not only by the ministries but in collaboration with academic institutions, NGOs, or corporate partners.

It is exciting to see the British government has recognised that the ELT world contributes greatly to overseas education, builds international networks and connections for the UK, and contributes to economic development in the UK as well. This official support for language education will hopefully lead to more cross-sector collaborations in the English language teaching community, such as English in Action (http://eiabd.com/about-eia.html) funded by the UK for teachers in Bangladesh.

Michael chairs the regular meetings which bring together a wide range of ELT stakeholders to coordinate market information, share experiences, and collaborate on international projects and development. It is hoped that this initiative will also provide some synergy for TIRF’s mission and assist the Foundation in extending its international network.