Washington, DC, March 12, 2012—American educational organization AMIDEAST announced today that it has formed a partnership with the GE Foundation to fund the launch of a pilot certificate program for English teachers in six countries: Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine, and Tunisia. AMIDEAST recently introduced the Professional Certificate in English Language Teaching (PCELT) program as a vehicle for improving the quality of English language teaching in schools in the Middle East and North Africa. Generous funding from the GE Foundation will accelerate the implementation of this important initiative and help make PCELT available soon to the region’s teachers, particularly in public school systems that stand to benefit most from increasing their pool of competent English language teachers.
With English language proficiency linked to better opportunities for youth and improved business performance in the region, the need for qualified English teachers is now more critical than ever. This initiative seeks to address the severe shortage of certified English language teachers at a time when MENA educational systems cannot meet this demand and when few training options exist in the region. In a recent survey carried out across the MENA, 94% of the English teachers polled (representing all stages, from primary to university) conveyed a clear need for new, rigorous teacher certificate programs in their countries. Even those teachers with previous certification expressed interest in such training, recognizing the need to upgrade their skills and improve their job prospects through an internationally recognized program such as PCELT.
AMIDEAST will deliver PCELT in partnership with World Learning/SIT Graduate Institute, a pioneer and global leader in teacher education. PCELT is based on SIT Graduate Institute’s highly regarded and accredited TESOL program, now adapted to the needs of current and prospective English teachers in the region.
The 120-hour PCELT program is unique in its flexible design and adaptable content that takes into account different classroom environments and diverse learner needs in the MENA. PCELT will help to raise the overall standards for the teaching of English in the region’s schools and universities by providing a cutting-edge curriculum that blends international best practices with topics of particular relevance for teachers throughout the MENA today.
The GE-funded PCELT pilot phase will enable AMIDEAST, in collaboration with SIT Graduate Institute, to train 12 cohorts of teachers representing a broad range of teaching contexts and learner needs; to create a pool of PCELT-certified master trainers from the local communities; to adapt the comprehensive curriculum to the diverse realities of teaching in the region; and, most importantly, to begin to measure the potential impact of such a program on English language learners with different personal, academic, and professional goals. Following this pilot phase, AMIDEAST will be prepared to deliver PCELT throughout the region, building on the organization’s extensive experience in English language training and long-standing relationships with regional educational institutions.
“English communication skills are now more than ever a qualification that opens doors for citizens of all ages in this region. We are pleased and excited to announce this new partnership to make a real difference in teacher training in the Middle East and North Africa at this historic moment,” said AMIDEAST President and CEO, Theodore H. Kattouf.
“We are proud to support AMIDEAST’s efforts to advance English language learning with a high-quality program for teachers that is grounded in international standards and suited to the needs of the region,” said GE Foundation President Bob Corcoran . “By focusing on teacher training, we can help build capacity in countries where qualified English teachers are in great demand in order to increase student’s language proficiency.”
Notes to Editors
Founded in 1951, AMIDEAST (www.amideast.org) is an American nonprofit organization engaged in international education, training, and development assistance. With over 20 field and project offices in the Middle East and North Africa and more than 650 dedicated professional staff, AMIDEAST provides programs and services to improve educational opportunity and quality, strengthen local institutions, and develop language and professional skills for success in the global economy. AMIDEAST offices are located in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, UAE, West Bank/Gaza, and Yemen.
About GE Foundation
GE Foundation, the philanthropic organization of the General Electric Company, works to solve some of the world’s most difficult problems. In coordination with its partners, it supports U.S. and international education, developing health globally, the environment, public policy, human rights, and disaster relief around the globe.
About World Learning/SIT Graduate Institute
Accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), World Learning SIT Graduate Institute (www.sit.edu) is the oldest provider of the Master of Arts in TESOL in the United States. Based in Vermont and Washington, DC, SIT Graduate Institute offers a range of programs including master’s degrees in international education, sustainable development, conflict transformation, and TESOL, as well as internationally focused certificate programs designed to advance teachers’ careers.