The Erayim Aid Trust UK works to facilitate professional development for Kyrgyz teachers of English, who are mostly women. A team of British educational professionals volunteers regularly in various parts of Kyrgyzstan in the delivery of a free, two-week course for teachers

Most schools in the region have few facilities and the teachers and pupils have little exposure to spoken English. Six annual professional development courses have taken place so far. The 2017 course in the rural central town of Chaek, located in a high valley of the Tian Shan Mountains, enabled thirty local teachers to develop their English language teaching skills. Each participant received a certificate from the local education authorities at the end of the course. Feedback from the participants was very favourable: they found it particularly valuable to spend leisure time with the trainers, interacting in a spontaneous and informal manner.

The 2018 course was held in the eastern town of Karakol, not far from the borders with China and Kazakhstan. On this occasion forty women attended, who went on to share some of the course content with others in their professional circle. All participating teachers became increasingly motivated and enthusiastic about their teaching as they encountered new content and ways of teaching to promote their pupils’ learning process – so much so that a second course has been requested in this area.

Following a hiatus due to the pandemic, 2023 saw a course in the south of the country for the first time. It took place in the town of Bazar Korgon near the border with Uzbekistan. Long considered off-limits for visitors to the country due to fears of ethnic tension and riots, the FCO now deems it much safer. The visit from our team undoubtedly improved the morale of the region’s isolated teachers and improved their teaching skills.

As a result of this opportunity, their classroom delivery will in future incorporate the best of British teaching practices, tailored for schools with fewer resources, with an increasing amount of interactive learning to motivate their pupils. The teachers also benefit from the gift of a modern English grammar book to refresh their knowledge and provide material which is far removed from the Soviet-style text books normally employed in schools. In the last two courses, local Kyrgyz trainers also had the chance to assist with the course delivery, under the close supervision of the British team. This assisted their own professional development and enable them to work to a higher standard in the future.

The 2024 course is already being planned. Our aim is that future generations of Kyrgyz children will benefit from their teachers’ experience of close contact with British professionals.