group of people, smiling, dinner, Country Director,
Diversity dinner at Country Director's house, Sandra Hamrouni ©

Sandra Hamrouni

Dear Students, Parents, Clients, Colleagues, Friends

First I’d like to wish everyone a Very Happy New Year! I wish you all the very best for 2018 in what I trust will be a prosperous, peaceful and enjoyable year for us all!  The following overview of our activities will give you an idea about developments at British Council Algeria. We will also provide more regular updates on our website, Facebook and Twitter about upcoming events, activities and developments. 

Our Teaching Centre has gone from strength to strength. Our Winter registration has surpassed all expectations and we now have over 1,400 students with a number of people on the waiting list. This number is split approximately 60/40 adults/young learners; 50/50 male / female; and 95% Algerian students with the remaining students coming from e.g. Spain Portugal, Italy, Russia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, Syria and Libya. We are proud to have maintained our excellent re-registration rates, still one of the best in MENA British Council teaching centres, and these great results have been achieved by our committed teaching centre staff and our loyal students and/or their parents! In response to requests for extra-curricular activities we recently started a small library for students’ use, and have also introduced a Drama Club for young learners to help students improve their English outside the classroom. The vast majority of our students are especially happy about our teaching methodology, well-trained teachers, and child protection policies. It’s clear we have a very good reputation and seen by most as the best school in Algeria to learn English. A few students feel that we are a little overcrowded, that they would like to spend more time speaking in class, and that we should give loyalty discounts. We commit to listening to all comments and suggestions and continuing to make improvements to our products and services.

British Council Algeria delivers IELTS for people wishing to study or live abroad, for example in UK, USA, Australia or Canada. Numbers have grown significantly this year to around 1,300, and service quality is continually improved through frequent training. We also deliver Aptis, a test created by British Council which is now used across the world by organisations wanting to diagnose the English language competence of their employees or potential employees. In Algeria we have an agreement with the National University to deliver Aptis, as well as several private companies. If you wish to know more about Aptis: https://www.britishcouncil.dz/en/exam/aptis or https://www.britishcouncil.dz/en/exam/aptis/contact-us

As well as teaching English face-to-face, British Council provides a large number of on-line English language learning resources, many of which are free. I’m delighted that Algeria has one of the highest LearnEnglish facebook fans (around 320,000), almost half a million subscribers to the LearnEnglish websites, and 251,000 British Council Algeria facebook fans. British Council’s Obla Air has continued to be broadcast on JilFM over the last year, reaching thousands of radio listeners. Visit http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en to access these free resources.

In May, a representative from Ministry of Culture’s AARC attended Brighton’s music festival, The Great Escape. Also in May we took part in the 18th EU Cultural Festival by bringing Hejira , a ‘folk-prog-jazzers’ band from London. It was the first time that Heijira performed outside UK. Hejira also had a jam session with local musicians Chakib Bouzidi and Rafik Ketanni at Dar Abdelatif. For information:

http://music.britishcouncil.org/news-and-features/2017-06-07/hejira-in-algeria

At the end of July we organised a pioneering Hornby Regional Summer School on the subject of Special Education Needs (SEN). It brought together key stakeholders from Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, and Libya including top-level ministerial directors, leaders of national teaching and educational associations as well as Civil Society Organizations. Alistair Burt, the UK’s Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department of International Development visited the course participants with British Ambassador Andrew Noble. 

Phase 2 of the Schools Reform project which the British Council is delivering in partnership with the Ministry of National Education and the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office started in September. The project addresses several of the Ministry’s key priorities, namely pedagogy across all age groups, English language teaching, school governance and leadership, and quality assurance.  During Phase 1 of the project 120 inspectors were trained directly. They then cascade-trained over 30,000 new teachers across all subject areas. Phase 2 and 3 of the project are also heavily focused on improving learner outcomes. Monitoring and evaluation, and coaching and mentoring are key, and this approach is highly appreciated by the minister, participants and other stakeholders. 

In November, we welcomed the well-known British author Lucy Hughes-Hallett who took part in the 9th EU-Maghreb Writers’ Meeting. This year’s theme was the non-fiction novel. Hughes-Hallett is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and a highly-respected literary critic. While in Algiers, Lucy Hughes-Hallett opened the British Council Reading Corner, a mini library that seeks to introduce young learners to reading.

Also in November an Algerian delegation of 10 participants from different sectors took part in the 6th Hammamet Conference which focused on the leadership challenge of ‘How to Build Peaceful and Inclusive Societies’. The conference was co-chaired by Libyan Peace Activist and gender specialist Zahra’ Langhi and UK Parliamentarian and former Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly Lord John Alderdice. For more information see Twitter @HammametConf

Through the Young Arab Voices programme, working in cooperation with higher education institutions, student associations, universities, local NGOs, and civil society organizations; we set up 30 debating clubs. By training young people in public debate and providing a platform for young Algerians from diverse backgrounds to meet and exchange ideas about issues affecting their lives, we trained hundreds of young Algerians, and it was especially rewarding that there was a good gender balance, with 41% of debaters being female. 

I’d also like to highlight in this newsletter the importance of our equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) policy and activities. As the UK’s principal cultural relations organisation the British Council is strongly committed to equality, diversity and inclusion. This is essential for us to be successful in our work which is centered on building meaningful, enduring and respectful relationships across different cultures. In order to build mutually beneficial relationships externally, we need to behave in line with our organisational values (integrity, professionalism, and valuing people, creativity, and mutuality), and to have robust policies and procedures around EDI. 

Our Equality policy and our Equality, diversity and inclusion strategy set out how we approach the challenges of mainstreaming equality, diversity and inclusion internationally, which means we try to make it a part of everything we do. For more information visit

https://www.britishcouncil.org/organisation/how-we-work/equality-diversity-inclusion

Our aim is to build diversity into all our work. We have developed a variety of tools and initiatives that enable us to do this. Some of these are described below.

•All British Council staff around the world undertake equality, diversity and inclusion training. This consists of e-learning courses, webinars, and face to face sessions. The training raises awareness and develops capability in the area of equality, diversity and inclusion.

•Whenever we introduce/revise policies, or new ways of working we need to consider these changes from different perspectives to ensure we meet the needs of diverse groups of people. This process is called ESIA (Equality Screening and Impact Assessment).

•The Diversity Assessment Framework (DAF) is our overarching diversity measurement tool which is used worldwide. It contains a series of indicators that help measure performance across key areas and helps us assess the progress we are making in embedding (or mainstreaming) diversity into all aspects of our work.

British Council Algeria, along with most of the 17 country offices across our Middle East North Africa region, celebrated Diversity Week (12 – 19 November).  

A highlight of the week in Algiers was an inspiring discussion led by Yazid Ait Hamdouche, radio journalist at Chaine 3, who is passionate about helping to improve the conditions of people with disabilities, and reducing the stigma of people who are HIV positive or living with AIDS. As a paraplegic and wheelchair user since the age of 8 he has overcome a number of challenges to excel in the field of culture and communication.  

At British Council Algeria we also delivered Tolerance-themed lessons, ran lots of quizzes, and showed anti-discrimination videos. One of our teachers ran a workshop on visual impairment, another on British Council values; and we had several staff get-togethers. Some of the more adventurous also wore traditional clothes or adopted another country’s clothes during the week. To see photos of the British Council Algeria team activities please click here. Also, check out this heart-warming video from the BBC where kids were asked “What makes you different from each other?”    What does diversity and mean to you?  https://www.facebook.com/BBCFamilyNews/videos/1319354311433201/

Once again, I wish you all the very best for 2018!

Sandra Hamrouni

Director, British Council Algeria

Diversity, group of people, Algeria, Russia, India
British Council Algeria wearing traditional clothes from Algeria, India, and Russia for Diversity Week.  ©

Sandra Hamrouni

a group, people, diversity, smiling, selfie, inclusion
Radio personality Yazid Ait Hamadouche visited us to talk about disability and inclusion in Algeria.  ©

Sandra Hamrouni