NELTA's Early Years and its Growth
NELTA's early years were very challenging. The British Council provided the young organization with a venue and secretarial services for its regular meeting. Right from the beginning, a routine meeting was scheduled last Friday of the month. NELTA's objectives were gradually disseminated among the ELT professionals. With the occasional ELT events in between, NELTA was able to organize its first annual conference in November 1992 at Nepal Administrative Staff College. About 300 participants attended the conference in which Mr. Alan Davis, an internationally renowned scholar and who once had been a visiting professor at Tribhuwan University, Nepal delivered his keynote address.
The first annual conference also formed the first NELTA Executive Committee. NELTA then began organizing short term ELT events in different parts of the country and its membership grew bigger and bigger. The British Council offered short-term scholarships to the NELTA members to attend courses in the UK. Such professional activities organized in different parts of the country and the exposure to the UK institutions attracted more and more people to join NELTA, and gradually they even were willing to pay for attending one-day events. Then the English teachers from Pokhara requested the Central Committee to allow them to form a branch at the local level. This was another milestone in the history of NELTA that it was able to open up a branch office outside the valley with NELTA Pokhara being the first NELTA Branch.
Inspired by the NELTA's professional commitment and its regular activities, more branches were gradually requested and by now (2018) NELTA has spread all over Nepal with its 54 branches, some full-fledged and some others with ad hoc status. However, to help sustain the branches in the same professional spirit was certainly a challenge for the Centre and it was not easy for NELTA to run regular activities in the branches extended away from Kathmandu. The only source of income was the membership fees, which could hardly cover the expenses of its regular correspondence and publication of the Newsletter.
Therefore, NELTA sought support from others which were working in the field of ELT. The British Embassy, British Council and the USIS were of great help during that time and with their kind support NELTA conducted a number of professional activities. With the support of the British Council and ODA fund, NELTA developed a weeklong teacher training package and training programmes were conducted in different places. More than 1400 teachers were trained. With the generous support of British Embassy, NELTA has been able to establish ELT resource Centres in Kathmandu, Pokhara, Chitwan, Makawanpur, Butwal, Surkhet and Dhangadhi. These resource Centres are equipped with computer and printer facilities. With the facilities available in the resource Centres, NELTA branches run regular ELT activities locally. We believe that this is one of the best strategies to sustain professional activities at the local level.