BIL started its journey as English Language Program (EL-Pro) in 2005. The purpose of the program was not only to enhance the students’ English language skills to facilitate learning in their chosen fields, but also to enable effective oral and written communication. Over the years, as EL-Pro met with increasing success, it morphed into the Centre for Languages (CfL) in 2008. In 2012, CfL’s visionary work and relentless effort to bring change got paid off and it was accredited with the status of an ‘institute’ by the University Grants Commission (UGC). CfL thus became BRAC Institute of Languages (BIL).
At present, BIL offers well-designed, comprehensive courses ranging from the pre-intermediate to the upper-intermediate level in order to facilitate the English language requirements of the university students. Moreover, BIL courses do not consist of mixed ability learners as the placement of each student is done individually through a rigorous process of evaluation.
Of all the undergraduate courses, the pre-university course is an exceptional ‘first’ among the universities in Bangladesh. It is a unique program designed particularly for students who possess aptitude and show potential in their specific fields of study but whose weakness in English language proficiency do not permit them to get admitted into the university. These students do a semester-long pre-university (English) course in order to prepare themselves for academic success. In doing so, BIL remains true to BRAC’s vision of catering to the needs of the marginalized sector.
Besides English, BIL currently offers the modern languages Bangla, Arabic, Chinese, French, Korean and Spanish to both its students and other professionals.
BIL also covers extensive student-focused activities such as consultations, exclusive one-to-one tutorial sessions, various clubs, a writing centre designed to facilitate and guide students through any kind of academic writing difficulties. To maintain the quality of teaching and to keep the teachers in pace with the up-to-date teaching techniques and strategies, innovative reflection sessions, workshops and teacher trainings are conducted periodically. This, in turn, leads to significant research work done by the teachers, some in collaboration with renowned foreign institutions.
As a language institute, BIL has also decided to contribute to the improvement of language teaching in Bangladesh, and thus introduced the post-graduate degree course, Masters (MA) in TESOL, for the currently practicing teachers and language practitioners. Interested teachers can also avail of the other programs such as “Certificate in TESOL” and “Diploma in TESOL” which are also pre-requisites for the MA in TESOL course.
Beyond the academic sectors, BIL ventured into new endeavours with external projects; particularly the professional programs which have adult education and training at its core. Some of the prominent courses conducted at the Dev-Pro centre are Development Professionals Program for BRAC Managers which focuses on developing their English language and communication skills and the BRAC Primary School Teacher Training Program. The latter aims at improving: the English language communication skills of the teachers; and the teaching delivery in the English classes. In addition to these, BIL offers some unique courses such as English course for driving professionals and development of English language and communication skills for the Medhabikash program.
Over the years, BIL has developed a unique culture of learning and sharing. The current ongoing initiative is the “BIL Workshop Series” which is a common platform for teachers of all levels from all over Bangladesh to share knowledge and experience amongst themselves as well as with international language experts/practitioners. Apart from this, BIL collaborates with other institutions such as the American Center, British Council, the Chinese Embassy, the Korean Embassy and others to bring innovative projects that contribute to language learning and teaching.