كتب Mostkbl Admin
11 نوفمبر 2017 2:21 م
Chair of British Council: We are looking forward to continuing our partnership with the Al Azhar
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the partnership between the British Council and Al Azhar. A project which was initiated at the request of the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, then President of the University to support Al Azhar University in setting up an English language training centre for students studying in the faculty of Islamic studies.
One of the main aims of this was to support learners to develop their English language skills to enable them to communicate and engage in debate about their religion. Over the past 10 years the project has grown and expanded into a range of areas, including masters and PhD scholarship programmes and supporting teachers working in Al Azhar’s primary and secondary schools.
Since the beginning in 2008 when Al Azhar English Training Centre (AAETC) was established to teach English language and intercultural awareness to undergraduates of the Faculty of Islamic Studies in Al Azhar University; The British Council being the leading institution in teacher training and teaching English as a foreign language worked with the AATEC to blend modern English language teaching and authentic Islamic knowledge.
Today, 32 teachers deliver classes to around 600 students per year and the day to day management of the centre is led by an Egyptian team, recruited internally.
In 2012, the first group of female students joined the centre, with the first cohort of 15 students graduating in 2015. Currently, there are 80 females to reach 100 females by 2018 and around 540 male students.
Introducing new area where the programme took place at Al Azhar schools, 90 school teachers have received English language methodology training and currently we are training new batch of 25 teachers who will be mentored by 15 teachers who have previously received British Council training.
Launched in 2015, Al Azhar UK Religious Studies Scholarships programme aimed to support the development of academic quality in the Religious Studies Faculty by enabling Al Azhar employees to complete Doctoral level studies at top UK Universities. To date, six scholars have been recruited. The UK Al Azhar scholarship nurtures a new generation of Al Azhar scholars equipped for 21st century leadership and dialogue across the borders of culture and faith.
Commemorating this successful partnership, the British Council in Egypt and Al Azhar signed a Memorandum of Understanding that took place on 07 November 2017 at Al Azhar. This signing represents the sixth phase of our 10-year partnership where the British Council and Al Azhar will continue to explore ways of supporting Al Azhar teachers across the country in their professional development. A whole system approach is currently being implemented which involves the training and development of the Al Azhar institute supervisors, peer mentors and teachers. This will lead to the establishment of peer mentor systems and school based professional development groups for teachers to share good teaching practice and learn from each other.
Doctor Abbas Shoman, Deputy to the Grand Imam said: ‘Al Azhar believes in the importance of foreign languages in conveying the true message of Islam to people around the world. Today, I witnessed the accomplishments of having a specialized center for teaching foreign languages at Al Azhar University. The English Training Center was one of the first language centers, in the University and the most active one”. He added that these centers have begun to bear fruit after the graduation of several learners who has now assumed a prominent place in the field of education and in the international competitions as well.’
Christopher Rodrigues, Chair of British Council said: ‘Over the past 10 years, the partnership with Al Azhar has had a positive impact in building English language, debating and leadership skills of teachers and students. This has helped Al Azhar graduates and scholars engage in interfaith and intercultural dialogue with people from other countries, cultures and faiths, which aligns with the British Council mission of promoting cultural relations. We are looking forward to continuing our partnership with the Al Azhar English Teaching Centre through face to face and digital initiatives and supporting staff development through scholarships and other opportunities.’