Birth of NELTA
NELTA was born in the British Council Nepal in 1992 when its first meeting was held in the British Council Office. I remember the day when Mr. David Pottinger, then Assistant Director of the British Council wrote the minutes of the first meeting on a plain sheet of paper and all the members who attended the meeting promised to keep this association away from all the organisational ills including politics and favouritism. It was, thus, established as a non-government, non-political, non-profit making, professional association with the aims of improving ELT situation. The need to improve the teaching and learning of the English language, thereby keeping abreast of new development in ELT, lay the foundation of NELTA. The other members present in the meeting were Mr. Jai Raj Awasthi (currently the professor of English Education), Dr. Tirth Raj Khaniya (currently the professor of English Education), Mr. Ram Ashish Giri, Mr. Ratna Bahadur Bajracharya, Principal of Anandhakuti Vidyapith, Mrs. Meera Shrestha and myself. The meeting assigned Mr. Awasthi to draft NELTA constitution and an committee was formed. This is the first milestone that NELTA set in its journey.
The justifications to its birth were many. To recall some of them are listed below:
- The mjority of English teachers in Nepal were untrained and no EFL qualifications were/are required to become an English teacher. Thus, some kind of initiation to familiarise them with the ELT pedagogy was a must.
- All the teachers’ associations that exist in Nepal were affiliated to political parties and functioning as trade unions. But NELTA was established exclusively for professional development of English language teachers.
- Teachers could hardly participate in the professional development activities during that time because of lack of professional organizations.
- The ever-increasing demand of English grew higher and higher due to the expansion of business and tourism sectors with the restoration of democracy in the country.
- The Ministry of Education was in the verge of revising the ELT syllabus in school level. The shift from Structural teaching to Communicative teaching demanded massive teacher training orientation which the government could not do alone.
(Mr. Gautam, one of the founding members of NELTA, is now its Senior Vice-President. If you would like to read the full article published in NELTA journal, please click here. Note that the dates and details in this article are not current, but the article is relevant and interesting from a historical point of view.)