Extending the reach of BBC Janala

Tuesday 17 April 2012, 11:38

Catherine McCarthy Catherine McCarthy Head of BBC Janala

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This short clip shows that you're never too old to learn. Setting off on your learning English journey can be as easy as riding a bicycle with the new BBC Janala Amar Engreji Course.

If you watch the BBC Janala video above, you'll see that its star, Piyal, learns to ride a bike because of his determination.

This characteristic is shared by a great many people in Bangladesh who are learning English any way they can.

1st March, 2012, was a big day for the BBC Janala Project in Bangladesh as we launched BBC Janala Amar Engreji (‘My English Course’). What’s new and special about the course is that students can study whenever they want, as often as they want. It is available on mobiles, web and WAP. It’s also published four times per week in a leading daily newspaper, and the syllabus is what underpins our latest TV series – Mojay Mojay Shekha 2 – a fun, formatted game show.

In terms of size and scale, the project is bigger than anything I’ve ever worked on before and reaches many more millions of people than an average BBC One prime-time show. In fact our TV audiences can reach up to around 20 million viewers.

BBC Janala is already four years old, but over those years we’ve learned a lot – our audiences told us that they wanted a structured course which progressed through different levels and offered a reward at the end. In response we developed a progressive, step by step syllabus with topic reports and a course report when they finish. They also told us that they wanted the learning to be relevant and meaningful to them – so we tested the content on all our platforms many times to ensure the level of language and cultural appropriateness. It has involved many hours of work and the efforts of many people in the team.

We have always sought to be innovative and creative and I’m delighted that the whole team’s efforts have been recognised recently at several major awards ceremonies – including winning the eAsia award for the Best Open and Distance learning, and the World Innovation Summit for Education Award in recognition of innovative practices.

Amar Engreji was launched with a TV, radio and print advertising campaign across a wide range of TV channels and newspaper outlets. Already over half a million people have called the mobile line alone, and we know that people are staying longer than ever before on the web content, on average around 18 minutes. It is early days but the indications are very good.

With a project this size, so many people are involved, and without the hard work of everyone in the team, BBC Janala would not be the incredible, inspiring project that it is, a huge thank you from me to everyone. There’s another five years to go… so do watch this space!

 

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