Case study

English language teaching in Brunei

Education Development Trust has been working with the Ministry of Education in Brunei since 1984. We lead the world's largest, longest running and most successful English-speaking teacher scheme recruiting top quality teachers to teach in Brunei's schools.

 The challenge: a bilingual education policy

In Brunei, Standard Malay, is the official language, but English is viewed as the principal language of business. The Bruneian government began its bilingual education policy soon after independence in 1984. English medium instruction is mandatory for all students commencing in Year 1 of primary school in the key subject areas of mathematics, history, science and geography as well as English.

Since then, the Bruneian government has remained committed to its bilingual education policy, and our relationship with the government has strengthened and widened in scope from a key recruiter of high quality teachers, to developing a range of English-related education, assessment and professional development projects across Brunei.

Our approach

We recruit, orient and manage some 200 qualified, experienced, expatriate teachers of English and provide ongoing quality support and assurance. Our teachers work with more than 20,000 students across Brunei in more than 80 per cent of Brunei government schools.

 Our work in Brunei has four main priorities:

  • to increase the English proficiency and attainment levels of Bruneian students
  • to improve the delivery of high impact teaching which promotes student involvement
  • to build the capacity of Bruneian English teachers
  • to support Brunei's Ministry of Education in delivering effecting English language teaching.

Our focus is to support and extend the quality of education by placing qualified, expert teachers in government schools to deliver innovative 21st -century teaching – engaging students to become proficient English language speakers and dynamic learners. We use data to design and deliver tailored intervention and support programmes for students and we support the development of local and our capacity by leading both formal and informal continuing professional development; from cluster and national workshops to school-based structured professional learning communities.

In addition to our core responsibility of providing experienced and highly qualified teachers, we support a range of English-related projects to improve language learning both within and beyond the curriculum. We have developed materials for a range of age groups: through supporting the Ministry of Education's development of English language course books; through in-house publications; or through English language teaching software. We also work in partnership with local educational institutions, companies and associations for events, research, English language teaching conferences and corporate social responsibility projects.

Our impact

Our specialised solution resulted in a transformation of performance with more than half of the government school student cohort obtaining grades equvalent to native-speaker level (A*-C); an increase of more than 30 per cent in a 10-year period compared to a 5 per cent increase in the previous 10 years.

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