|Headquarters||London, United Kingdom|
|Product||British cultural and language education|
|Stevie Spring CBE (Chair)|
Sir Ciarán Devane (Chief Executive)
The British Council is a British organisation specialising in international cultural and educational opportunities. It works in over 100 countries: promoting a wider knowledge of the United Kingdom and the English language (and the Welsh language in Argentina); encouraging cultural, scientific, technological and educational co-operation with the United Kingdom.
The British Council is governed by a Royal Charter. It is also a public corporation and an executive nondepartmental public body (NDPB), sponsored by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Its headquarters are near Trafalgar Square. Its Chairman is Stevie Spring, its CEO is Sir Ciarán Devane and its Chief Operating Officer is Andy Williams.
The British Council is a charity governed by Royal Charter. It is also a public corporation and an executive nondepartmental public body (NDPB), sponsored by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Its headquarters are off Trafalgar Square, London. Its chair is Stevie Spring,its CEO Sir Ciarán Devane and chief operating officer Adrian Greer.
The British Council's total income in 2014–15 was £973 million principally made up of £154.9 million grant-in-aid received from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; £637 million income from fees and teaching and examinations services; and £164 million from contracts.
The British Council works in more than 100 countries: promoting a wider knowledge of the UK and the English language; encouraging cultural, scientific, technological and educational understanding and co-operation; changing people's lives through access to UK education, skills, qualifications, culture and society; and attracting people who matter to the future of the UK and engaging them with the UK's culture, educational opportunities and its diverse, modern, open society.
In 2014–15 the British Council spent: £489 million developing a wider knowledge of the English language; £238 million encouraging educational co-operation and promoting the advancement of education; £155 million building capacity for social change; £80 million encouraging cultural, scientific and technological co-operation; and £10 million on governance, tax and trading expenses.
The British Council offers face-to-face teaching in more than 80 teaching centres in more than 50 countries
Three million candidates took UK examinations with the British Council in more than 850 towns and cities in 2014–15.
The British Council jointly runs the global IELTS English-language standardised test with University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations and IDP Education Australia. Over 2.5 million IELTS tests were delivered in 2014–15.
In 2014, the British Council launched its first MOOC Exploring English: Language and Culture on the UK social learning platform FutureLearn. This was accessed by over 230,000 people.
"Peacekeeping English" is a collaboration between the British Council, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence to improve the English-language skills of military personnel through the Peacekeeping English Project (PEP). PEP is helping train approximately 50,000 military and police service personnel in 28 countries, amongst them Libya,Ethiopia and Georgia.
In 2013, the British Council relaunched the global website Education UK for international students interested in a UK education. The site receives 2.2 million visitors per year and includes a search tool for UK courses and scholarships, advice and articles about living and studying in the UK.
From 2014 to 2020, the British Council and Ecorys UK jointly administered almost €1 billion of the €14.7 billion Erasmus+ programme offering education, training, youth and sport opportunity for young people in the UK. It was expected that nearly 250,000 will have undertaken activities abroad with the programme.
Over 16,000 schools have taken part in an international school partnership or benefited from teacher training through the British Council Connecting Classrooms programmes.
Queen Elizabeth hosted the official launch of the UK-India Year of Culture on 27 February 2017 at Buckingham Palace, with Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley representing Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The British Council worked with the Palace and British-Indian start-up Studio Carrom to project a peacock, India's national bird, onto the facade of Buckingham Palace.
In 2015, the British Council launched fiveFilms4freedom a free, online, 10-day LGBT film festival with the British Film Institute supported by the UN Free & Equal campaign. It was the first global online LGBT film festival.The festival runs a 24-hour campaign to ask people to watch a movie and show that love is a human right. In 2016, films were viewed by over 1.5m people in 179 countries.
In October 2015 the British Council announced a global programme with the BBC, British Film Institute, the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Shakespeare 400 consortium, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and Shakespeare's Globe to celebrate Shakespeare's life and work on the 400th anniversary of this death.
Selector Radiois a weekly two-hour radio show, produced by Folded Wing for the British Council. Originally launched in 2001, the show is now broadcast in more than 30 countries around the world, connecting a global audience to a wide range of music the United Kingdom has to offer, covering a variety of genres from grime, indie, soul, dance and more. The show features interviews, guest DJ mixes and exclusive live sessions from some of the UK's most exciting artists. It avoids many mainstream acts, in favour of emerging talent and underground styles. It has an estimated listenership of over four million people. The show is hosted in the UK by Jamz Supernova – many countries take the English language version of the show and create a new show from the tracks and features, translating the 'links' into local language.
The British Council has been running a teacher training programme in North Korea since 2001.In July 2014 the British Council signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) for cultural and educational exchange.
The British Council-supported production of Love's Labours Lost in 2005 was the first performance of a Shakespeare play in Afghanistan in more than 17 years. The play was performed in the Afghan language of Dari.
The British Council Young Creative Entrepreneurs identify and support talented people from across the creative industries such as the International Young Publisher of the Year, International Young Design Entrepreneur of the Year, International Young Music Entrepreneur of the Year and British Council West Africa Arts Program ~ Creative Entrepreneurs 2018 awards.
This article's Criticism or Controversy section may compromise the article's neutral point of view of the subject. (August 2013)
In 2010, Conservative MP Mark Lancaster, the then Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury, the then Speaker of the House of Commons Michael Martin, and other MPs were involved in rows over expenses incurred on undisclosed taxpayer-funded British Council trips.The British Council's then Chief Executive, Martin Davidson, also faced press criticism for expenses claimed in apparent breach of the British Council's own internal rules for overnight stays in London.
The British Council has been a primary partner of the Palestine Festival of Literature since the Festival's beginning in 2008. In 2009, the Israeli police, acting on a court order, closed down the venue scheduled to host the Festival's closing event since there was Palestinian Authority involvement, but the British Council stepped in and the evening was relocated to its grounds.
The British Council supports the festival, also known as PalFest. A controversial issue arose in 2012, because PalFest's website states that they endorse the "2004 Palestinian call for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel". Susanna Nicklin, the council's director of literature said in response: "The British Council is a non-political organisation, and we believe that international cultural exchange makes a powerful contribution to a more peaceful, tolerant and prosperous world. Therefore, the British Council does not support cultural or academic boycotts."
In April 2012, the British Council faced a storm of protest over the exclusion of dissident Chinese writers from The London Book Fair in 2012. Critics included English PEN and journalist Nick Cohen writing in The Observer , as well as Alastair Niven, a former Literature Director of The British Council itself.
In March 2007, the British Council announced its "intention to increase its investment in the Middle East, North Africa and Central and Southern Asia".[ citation needed ][ needs update ] In June 2007, MPs were told of further closures in Tel Aviv and East Jerusalem (where there had been a British Council Library since 1946). The British Council libraries in Athens and in Belgrade are also to close. Similarly in India, the British Council Libraries at Bhopal and Trivandrum were closed despite protests from library users as part of the Council's policy to "reduce its physical presence" in the country and to divert funds to mega projects in the fields of culture, education, science and research.
British Council libraries and offices have also been closed in a number of other countries judged by the British Council to be of little strategic or commercial importance, as it refocused its activities on China and the Persian Gulf area.[ citation needed ] Council offices were closed in Lesotho, Swaziland, Ecuador and provincial Länder in Germany in 2000–2001 – as well as Belarus – prompting Parliamentary criticism. Subsequent promises by British Council Chair Neil Kinnock to a conference in Edinburgh that the Belarus closure would hopefully prove to be just a "temporary" withdrawal proved illusory. The British Council office in Peru also closed in September 2006 as part of a rethink of its strategy in Latin America. In Italy British Council closed its offices in Turin and Bologna, and reduced the size of offices in Milan and Rome (with the closure of the library in the latter).
Charles Arnold-Baker, author of the Companion to British History said of the British Council's shift in priorities: "This whole policy is misconstrued from top to bottom. We are going somewhere where we can't succeed and neglecting our friends in Europe who wish us well. The only people who are going to read our books in Beirut or Baghdad are converts already."
The article also points out that the Alliance française and the Goethe-Institut, unlike the British Council, are both expanding and replenishing libraries Europe-wide. France opened its new library in Tel Aviv in 2007, just a few months after the British Council closed there and shut down the British Council library in West Jerusalem.In Gaza, the Institut français supports the Gaza municipal library in partnership with the local authority and a municipal twinning link between Gaza City and the French port of Dunkerque. In Oslo British Council informs Norwegian callers that "our office is not open to the public and we do not have an enquiry service". Goethe Institute also has a more visible presence in Glasgow than the British Council. There is now, in contrast, only one British Council office left in Germany – and that is in Berlin.
Formally it is to its sponsoring department, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, that the UK Parliamentary Table Office refers any parliamentary questions about the British Council.
The effectiveness of British Council efforts to promote higher education in China was examined in the UK by the House of Commons Select Committee on Education and Skills in a report issued in August 2007.It expressed concern that in terms of joint educational programmes involving Chinese universities, the UK lagged behind Australia, USA, Hong Kong, Canada and France. In its evidence to this committee, the British Council had argued that "UK degrees are highly valued by international students for their global recognition. International students adopt an essentially utilitarian view of higher education which is likely to increasingly involve consideration of value for money, including opting for programmes at least partly delivered offshore". As their preferred marketing 'model', the British Council gave the example of India where their UK India Education and Research Initiative is being 'championed' by British multinational oil companies such as BP and Shell, the pharmaceutical giant GSK and arms company BAE Systems.
Criticism of British Council marketing efforts in this area have also come from Scotland where The Sunday Herald obtained documents under the Freedom of Information Act showing that the British Council's Marketing Co-ordinator in the USA had been referring to the University of Stirling as 'The University of Sterling' (sic) and also documenting 'tensions' between Scottish Executive civil servants and British Council in India and China over overseas promotion of universities in Scotland where education is a devolved responsibility. The Sunday Herald reported that these turf wars were undermining the Scottish Executive's key Fresh Talent policy.
Some of the activities of the British Council were examined in 2007/08 by the National Audit Office (NAO). The NAO's report, The British Council: Achieving Impact, concluded "that the British Council's performance is strong and valued by its customers and stakeholders".It also concluded, however, that its English classes are elitist and have unfair advantages over commercial providers, as well as questioning thousands of unanswered phone-calls and e-mails to British Council offices.
As part of its examination of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Annual Report, the Foreign Affairs Committee spends an hour each year examining witnesses from the British Council but even this level of scrutiny is undermined by a Commons ruling exempting MPs from the requirement to declare overseas trips paid for by The British Council.
Two members of the Public Accounts Committee (Nigel Griffiths MP and Ian Davidson MP) were office-bearers in the British Council Associate Parliamentary Group. [ citation needed ]Nigel Griffiths MP was Vice-Chair of this British Council lobby group until stepping down as an MP .
In 2008 the British Council was called before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) following earlier publication of a National Audit Office report. The subsequent PAC report confirmed that Nigel Griffiths MP – Vice Chair of The British Council Associate Parliamentary Group – was part of the small number of PAC members who approved this report on the British Council despite not having been recorded as being present during the evidence session – in June 2008 – where the British Council's Chief Executive was cross-examined.Mr Griffiths had earlier travelled to Russia and spoke favourably of British Council activities there in January 1998 around the time that their man in St Petersburg (Stephen Kinnock) was expelled.
In April 2009 the British Council was told to clean up its act by the Information Commissioner after losing staff data that included details of their trade union affiliations and lying about the encryption status of the computer disc lost.
Following the accusations made against the British Council in Russia (see above) Trevor Royle, the experienced Diplomatic Editor of The Sunday Herald quoted a 'British diplomatic source' admitting: "There is a widespread assumption that The British Council is a wing of our Secret Intelligence Services, however minor. Officially it is no such thing but there are connections. Why should it be otherwise because all information is invaluable? After all, the British Council also deals with trade missions and inevitably that involves low-grade intelligence-gathering."
In 2005, along with the Alliance française, the Società Dante Alighieri, the Goethe-Institut, the Instituto Cervantes, and the Instituto Camões, the British Council shared in the Prince of Asturias Award for the outstanding achievements of Western Europe's national cultural agencies in communications and the humanities. At the time of this joint award the full extent of The British Council's closure policies in Europe was not yet public knowledge.
Royle also goes on to note that the novel The Russia House by John Le Carré (former consular official David Cornwell) opens with a reference to The British Council. The organisation's "first ever audio fair for the teaching of the English language and the spread of British culture" is "grinding to its excruciating end" and one of its officials is packing away his stuff when he is approached by an attractive Russian woman to undertake clandestine delivery of a manuscript which she claims is a novel to an English publisher who she says is 'her friend'!
It is also featured in one of the scenes in Graham Greene's The Third Man – the character Crabbin, played by Wilfrid Hyde-White in the film, worked for The British Council. In 1946, the writer George Orwell advised serious authors not to work for it as a day-job arguing that "the effort [of writing] is too much to make if one has already squandered one's energies on semi-creative work such as teaching, broadcasting or composing propaganda for bodies such as the British Council".In her autobiography, Dame Stella Rimington, the first woman head of MI5, mentions working for British Council in India prior to joining the British Intelligence Services.
The British Council has been referred to (and its man on-station, Goole) – frequently in a humorous way by Lawrence Durrell in his collection of anecdotes about a diplomat's life on foreign postings for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office – Antrobus Complete.
In the six Olivia Manning novels that make up The Balkan Trilogy and The Levant Trilogy, Guy Pringle is an employee of the British Council, and Council politics make up several of the plot points. The books portray Eastern Europe and the Middle East in the opening years of World War Two.
The role of British Council in Burma in 1947 came under scrutiny with release of classified documents to a BBC investigation by journalist Feargal Keane into the role of dissident British colonial officials in the assassination of the then Burmese independence leader Aung San (father of Aung San Suu Kyi).The BBC programme quoted from a 1948 document sent by the Chief of Police in Rangoon to the British Ambassador stating their belief that there had been British involvement in the assassination of Aung San and his Cabinet for which one of his political opponents was hanged and that "the go-between" had been a British Council official named in the programme.
In August 2011 a journalist from The Irish Times discovered a certificate dated 2007 issued by the British Council in Tripoli to a daughter of President Gadaffi who had previously been said to have been killed in a US raid on Gadaffi's residence in 1986.
In July 2011 the Hong Kong edition of China Daily reported on the flourishing "ghost-writing" industry that critics suggest has sprung up around the British Council IELTS tests in China.
A major IELTS corruption scandal in Western Australia resulted in prosecutions in November 2011.
In January 2012 the press in Pakistan reported that the Federal Investigations Agency was investigating a visa scam associated with the British Council's "Connecting Classrooms" programme.
The Council has been chaired by:
Some staff at the British Council are members of unions.UK staff are represented by the Public and Commercial Services Union. Some employees in Japan belong to the General Union.
|ISO 4||Media Educ. Dev.|
|ISSN|| 0262-0251 |
From 1967 to 1989 the British Council published the journal Media in Education and Development.
Initially titled CETO news, ISSN 0574-9409, it became Educational Television International: a journal of the Centre for Educational Television Overseas, ISSN 0424-6128, in March 1967 (volume 1, issue 1). The journal changed its name again, in March 1971, to Educational Broadcasting International: a journal of the Centre for Educational Development Overseas, ISSN 0013-1970 (volume 5, issue 1). Its final name change was to Media in Education and Development, ISSN 0262-0251, in December 1981 (volume 14 issue 4). The final issue went to print in 1989 (volume 22).
The British Council is organised into seven Regions.
The British Council has offices in:
The British Council has offices in:
The British Council has offices in:
The British Council has offices in:
The British Council has offices in:
The British Council has offices in:
The British Council has offices in:
The International English Language Testing System, or IELTS, is an international standardized test of English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers. It is jointly managed by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English, and was established in 1989. IELTS is one of the major English-language tests in the world.
The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO), also known as Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) or Taipei Representative Office (TRO), is an alternative diplomatic institution serving as a de facto embassy or a consulate of the Republic of China which exercises the foreign affairs and citizen services in specific countries having diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China. As the PRC denies the legitimacy of the ROC as a sovereign state and claims the ROC-controlled territories as integral part of its China. An exclusive mandate namely One-China policy stipulated by the PRC, which forbid countries to retain diplomatic relations with both of the PRC and ROC. As a result, these countries only allow the ROC to establish representative offices instead of an "official" embassy or consulate in purpose of conducting practical bilateral relations without granting full diplomatic recognition.
The University of London Institute in Paris is a central academic body of the University of London located in the 7th arrondissement of Paris. It is currently the only British university institute in continental Europe.
Cambridge Assessment English, or Cambridge English, is the biggest of three main exam boards forming Cambridge Assessment, a non-teaching department of the University of Cambridge. The Chief Executive of Cambridge Assessment English is Francesca Woodward.
Instituto Cervantes is a worldwide non-profit organization created by the Spanish government in 1991. It is named after Miguel de Cervantes (1547–1616), the author of Don Quixote and perhaps the most important figure in the history of Spanish literature. The Cervantes Institute, a government agency, is the largest organization in the world responsible for promoting the study and the teaching of Spanish language and culture.
University College Ghent is the largest university college in Flanders, with three faculties, one School of Arts and 13,000 students. Its establishment in 1995 is the outcome of two successful mergers that involved sixteen Belgian institutions of higher education. Many had been influential leaders in higher education for several decades. The current faculties are spread over the city center of Ghent and Aalst.
The English-Speaking Union (ESU) is an international educational charity which was founded by the journalist Sir Evelyn Wrench in 1918 that aims to bring together and empower people of different languages and cultures, by building skills and confidence in communication, such that individuals realise their potential. With 35 branches in the United Kingdom and over 50 international ESUs in countries around the world, the ESU carries out a variety of activities such as debating, public speaking and student exchange programmes, runs conferences and seminars, and offers scholarships, to encourage the effective use of the English language around the globe.
St Clare's is a coeducational independent, international day and boarding college in North Oxford, England offering the International Baccalaureate Diploma programme, English language courses, University Pathways courses, Gap Year Programmes and IB teacher training workshops.
Irkutsk State Linguistic University was a university in Irkutsk, Siberia in eastern Russia founded in 1948.
The European University at Saint Petersburg, sometimes referred to as EUSP, is a non-state graduate university located in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It was founded in 1994. Today the University is widely recognised as one of the leading academic institutions in humanities and social sciences in Russia.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialised agency of the United Nations (UN) aimed at promoting world peace and security through international cooperation in education, the sciences, and culture. It has 193 member states and 11 associate members, as well as partners in the nongovernmental, intergovernmental, and private sector. Headquartered in Paris, France, UNESCO has 53 regional field offices and 199 national commissions that facilitate its global mandate.
The English and Foreign Languages University known as EFLU is a university for English and foreign languages located in Hyderabad, India. It is the only such university dedicated to languages in South Asia.
The British Deputy High Commission, Chennai is the United Kingdom diplomatic mission with responsibility for southern India, namely, the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and the union territory of Puducherry. The Deputy High Commissioner is equivalent to a Consul-General, and reports to the British High Commission. The current Deputy High Commissioner is Oliver Ballhatchet. He succeeds Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford.
The American Standard International School in Dhaka (ASIS) is an independent co-educational day school located in Gulshan, Dhaka, Bangladesh, serving students of all nationalities in pre-school through grade 12. presently.
The British Institute of Technology, England (BITE) is a private educational institute, also involved in consultancy and research, whose main campus is located in the London Borough of Newham, east London, England.
IDP Education is an international education organisation offering student placement in Australia, New Zealand, the USA, UK, Ireland and Canada. IDP has more than 100 offices in 31 countries and 550 counsellors. IDP Australia partners with University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations and the British Council for IELTS tests. More than 3 million IELTS tests were undertaken around the world in 2018 and over 10000 organisations rely on IELTS including governments for migration assessment, universities for admissions and employers and professional registration bodies. IELTS Australia Pty Ltd manages a network of more than 200 IELTS test centres in over 35 countries. There are over 1000 IELTS test centres globally. Anyone interested in passing the IELTS as part of a visa application to study or work abroad should make sure s/he refers to the Government website of their proposed destination country. Each destination country specifies approved test centres for Visa IELTS and often state the grade required by the visa authority.
Studyportals B.V. is an Eindhoven-based company involved in providing an online education choice platform, listing more than 200,000 undergraduate, postgraduate, distance learning, preparation course programmes worldwide, along with other international education resources. They also have a scholarship listing portal, called Scholarshipportal, enabling students to search for scholarship options from institutions and organizations around the world. The company initially started out as Mastersportal at the end of 2007, and has since expanded to Bachelorsportal, Mastersportal, PhDportal, Distancelearningportal, Shortcoursesportal, and Preparationcourseportal. Besides more than 3,750 participating universities, Studyportals is cooperating with and supported by the European Commission and other national higher education institutes such as DAAD (Germany), Nuffic (Netherlands) and the British Council (UK). Studyportals has been part of several EU-funded projects in the field of higher education and regularly publishes reports about developments on the European higher education sector. According to their website, Studyportals has more than 36 million visitors per year.
Eurospeak Language School is an institution that specializes in English language training and cultural exchange. The school was founded in 1991 and is in Reading, United Kingdom. The founder of Eurospeak, Michael O'Brien, died in 2011. Eurospeak also has a "subsidiary" in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Each year, Eurospeak welcomes more than 1,349 students from over 71 nationalities. In May 2018, Eurospeak submitted a planning application to create new premises at Cumberland Place, Southampton. The planning application was approved, and Eurospeak Southampton opened in October 2018.
British Council Bangladesh is the Bangladeshi branch of the British Council that provides English and British Education and takes part in cultural exchanges. The main office is located in Dhaka and branches are located in Chittagong, Sylhet. Tom Miscioscia is the Director of British Council Bangladesh.
The British Council Nepal is the UK's international organisation for cultural relations in Nepal. The head office is located in Lazimpat, Kathmandu. The organisation is basically focused on promoting English language and arranging English language tests (IELTS) in Nepal. The organisation was started in 1959 by establishing a public library in Kantipath; the library has been discontinued.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to British Council .|