This website uses cookies. A cookie is a small piece of code that gives your computer a unique identity, but it does not contain any information that allows us to identify you personally. For more information on how TESOL International Association uses cookies, please read our privacy policy. Most browsers automatically accept cookies, but if you prefer, you can opt out by changing your browser settings.

Affiliate News: February 2010

Affiliate News (October 2009): Revival of the Bangladesh English Language Teachers Association (BELTA)

by User Not Found | 11/10/2011
Revival of the Bangladesh English Language Teachers Association (BELTA)

Dr. Arifa Rahman, Immediate Past President and Current General Secretary, BELTA

The Bangladesh English Language Teachers Association (BELTA) is a registered nonprofit professional forum for ELT practitioners in Bangladesh, a country in South Asia. It was established in 1984 and was an active forum for more than a decade, during which it provided robust direction to the English language teaching community through its various EFL programs, particularly at the grassroots level.

Unfortunately, during the 1990s BELTA became dormant but, in September 2003, after a spate of strong lobbying by a number of like-minded English language teachers, it was officially revived and an ad hoc committee was formed before an elected executive body took over. Since then, BELTA has not looked back. It now has a membership of nearly 1,500 with chapters in three regions besides the original one based in the capital, Dhaka.

BELTA’s mission is to link, support, and develop ELT professionals throughout the country and thus contribute to improved teaching and learning and subsequent capacity building at all levels. Its objectives are to develop and empower English teachers (primary, secondary, tertiary) to facilitate effective communication within the English language teaching community and to improve the standards of learning and teaching English throughout the country.

BELTA has international links with IATEFL, AsiaTEFL, JALT, SPELT, and NELTA. It has also been active in meetings with South Asian Regional Teachers’ Associations held in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh. Further, BELTA has been a participant in the Strengthening Teachers Associations project initiated by the regional British Council. Recently BELTA was honored by being offered affiliate status by TESOL. BELTA is proud to have joined international affiliates from around the world who together form a dynamic force in the world of ESL and English teacher development.

Because it is a voluntary organization, BELTA’s funding comes mainly from its membership fees, which are unusually low to encourage more teachers to join, especially from the rural areas. From time to time, our ESL/EFL events are jointly sponsored by the British Council, the American Center, or educational institutions. Management lies with the elected executive body, which works through a constitutional mandate. Subcommittees focus on special activities. At the annual general meeting, reports are made, and a formal annual audit and an annual financial statement are presented to the general members.

BELTA’s activities include holding monthly ELT workshops for teachers, organizing seminars and international conferences, and publishing a newsletter and a journal. BELTA has also collaborated in nominating English language teachers for training and exchange programs in the United States. A recent event that was rather successful was a day-long workshop on the use of Internet tools for English language teaching. In July, BELTA is scheduling a three-day teacher development seminar in collaboration with the Teachers Helping Teachers (THT) group, a JALT-SIG. Nine facilitators are traveling to Bangladesh, self-financed, to collaborate with BELTA in this endeavor. In fact, this is BELTA’s fourth coproject with THT in as many years.

One of BELTA’s roles is to support environmental, peace, and human rights issues. Recently, BELTA members organized a candle-lit silent march through the Dhaka University mourning a horrendous killing in March. The photo is of BELTA members at this event, calling for peace and unity.

As we celebrate our silver jubilee this year,we are planning to further improve in the following areas: encouraging and developing leadership, organizing better management structures, creating clear channels for informing members about TA developments and effective feedback mechanisms from members, forming special interest groups, attracting sponsors, partnering in national and international teacher development work, building up a financial reserve, and, last but not least, keeping our Web site updated.

Although members all have regular jobs with professional, social, and personal commitments, BELTA is fortunate in having an ever-growing core of motivated and hard-working people who believe in the following: “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together issuccess.”

We are excited to be an affiliate of TESOL and we look forward to an invigorating relationship with TESOL and its many affiliates from around the world.