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The British Council hosted its flagship New Directions Conference and Future of English Exhibition

This Week

Providing a unique platform for sharing both cutting-edge developments and best practice in English language teaching, learning and assessment across the Asia-Pacific

SINGAPORE – Media OutReach – 30 October 2023 – The British Council, the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations, hosted its annual regional flagship language testing and assessment conference, New Directions East Asia and the Future of English exhibition, with the aim of creating a dynamic space in which regional and international policy makers, educational professionals, academics, teachers and assessment practitioners can interact, exchange information and keep abreast of the leading developments in English language teaching, learning and assessment. The regional conference and exhibition took place from 27 to 29 October in Hanoi, Viet Nam.

Themed The Future of English Language Assessment in Learning Systems, the conference focused on reimagining the future of learning and education system reform and build stronger, more inclusive, internationally connected English language teaching, learning and assessment systems through exchange of insight, learning and ideas to benefit hundreds of millions of young people. This year the conference was attended by more than 400 participants from over 12 countries across the Asia-Pacific region.

After a decade of bringing together the language assessment and learning community of the Asia-Pacific region to engage in discussion on key topics and to share innovative solutions to challenges in testing and education, this year’s New Directions conference took a retrospective view of how shifts in language, learning and assessment over the last 10 years are shaping the future of English and education systems across the region. It also aimed to gain a broader perspective on the role of language testing in the teaching, learning and assessment system, and consider a more holistic view of the integrated skills that make up communicative proficiency.

Key speakers and panellists at the New Directions conference included thought leaders and educational experts in the field of English Language Assessment including Dr Huu Nguyen, Director, National Foreign Languages Project, Ministry of Education and Training of Viet Nam and Vice Director, Center for Language Testing and Assessment, VNU; Prof Yukio Tono, Professor at the Graduate School of Global Studies and Director of the World Language Center, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies; Professor Barry O’Sullivan OBE, Head of Assessment Research & Development, British Council; and Associate Professor Jirada Wudthayagorn, Director, Chulalongkorn University Language Institute and President, Asian Associate of Language Assessment.

Mark Walker, Global Director of English and Exams, British Council, said: “English will retain its position as the world’s most widely spoken language over the next decade and teachers will continue to be at the heart of English learning, even in the face of increased automation, AI and machine learning. As a leader in English language teaching, learning and assessment, the British Council is shaping the future of English in a multilingual world through innovation and international partnerships with the aim to enhance English language assessment in education systems.”

Heather Forbes, Regional Exams Director, East Asia, at the British Council, said: “This year’s New Directions East Asia conference explored questions around what English could look like and how it will be used. We discussed what broader competencies are necessary in a rapidly changing and digitally enabled communication landscape, and how these can be developed and assessed in the future. We also explored the potential changes of language education policy and reform in Vietnam and the wider East Asia region. Additionally, our Future of English exhibition, which is part of the New Directions conference, provided a platform to share global perspectives about the future of English with partners, thought leaders, teachers and learners around the world.”

The Future of English exhibition, held alongside the New Directions conference, featured interactive elements which asked visitors for their views on the future of the English language and showcased key themes from the landmark publication Future of English: Global Perspectives – English in education, English in the workplace, and English in the community. This book is the first publication in a major programme of research and global engagement started by the British Council in 2020.

For more information on the New Directions Conference please visit:

For more information on the Future of English exhibition please visit: https://www.britishcouncil.org/future-of-english

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British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We support peace and prosperity by building connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and countries worldwide. We do this through our work in arts and culture, education and the English language. We work with people in over 200 countries and territories and are on the ground in more than 100 countries. In 2021–22 we reached 650 million people.

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