British Council

About Project

Successful pilot educational technology project in Syria, with The British Council and Syria Relief.

Live Project
British Council
February 2019

The brief

The conflict in Syria has had a devastating impact on the country's education system, with 100,000+ teachers either killed, displaced, or otherwise unable to work. Considering that every teacher teaches up to 60 children, the scale of the problem is truly horrifying, with an entire generation going without a proper education.

The aim of the OETIS project (Online English for Teachers in Syria) was to create, deliver and manage an online platform for English language learning for internally displaced Syrian teachers. OETIS was a pilot project, with the intention of proving the power, scalability and cost-efficiency of digital education services in crisis situations.

What did I do?

As an independent consultant, my main responsibilities have been:

-Developing robust, scalable and cost-efficient technical architecture
-Representing projects at international conferences and regional strategic meetings
-Developing assessment methods and KPIs
-Creating training and onboarding assets
-Research/procurement/design of data management systems for course management and reporting on KPIs
-Maintaining best practice in terms of privacy and data protection
-Producing in-depth reports for internal and external stakeholders
-Promoting the project via conference talks


The response from participants was overwhelmingly positive, with over 90% reporting it as a positive experience. Most of them were able to move up one level in the CEF (Common European Framework) for language ability. Many reported that it gave them a sense of hope, and something to focus on other than the day to day struggle of surviving in a war zone.


"Tom supported in designing and implementing our teachers' online professional development pilot programme within the British Council for Syria. Although it was a sensitive context and involved many challenges in terms reaching the hard to reach, Tom was able to identify user-friendly alternatives that made the teachers' learning journey smoother. He was considerate of their digital literacy and helped developing ways to address that before engaging them in any online learning experience. His expertise as a trainer coupled with the vast knowledge of education technology contributed to the success of our pilot.''- Micheline Esso, Project Manager

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