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Australia and Ministry of Education and Sports of Lao PDR launched BEQUAL Phase 2 with an official ceremony

Managed by Tetra Tech International Development on behalf of the Australian Government, BEQUAL aims to ensure more girls and boys of primary school age, particularly those experiencing disadvantage, improve learning outcomes.

On 16th November, H.E. Dr Sisouk Vongvichit, Vice-Minister of Education and Sports, Lao PDR announced the launch of Phase 2 of the Basic Education Quality and Access in Lao PDR program (BEQUAL) in the presence of H.E. Paul Kelly, Ambassador of Australia to Lao PDR.

Vice-Minister of Education, Ambassador of Australia and representatives from the different MoES departments for BEQUAL Phase 2

Vice-Minister of Education, Ambassador of Australia and representatives from the different MoES departments for BEQUAL Phase 2. Photo: ©Bart Verweij/BEQUAL.

Representatives from departments of the Ministry of Education and Sports, the three target Teacher Training Colleges, and the seven target Provincial Education and Sports Services and development partners attended the ceremony.

At the ceremony, H.E. Dr Sisouk Vongvichit said “Lao PDR and Australia share a mutual interest in ensuring all young children, especially those experiencing disadvantage, receive quality primary education. Since 2015, Australia has been supporting the Ministry of Education and Sports, through the first phase of BEQUAL, with the development and nationwide implementation of the new primary curriculum, and the design and implementation of teacher training and professional development activities.

Presentation of the new teaching and learning resources for the revised primary curriculum.

Presentation of the new teaching and learning resources for the revised primary curriculum. Photo courtesy of: ©Bart Verweij/BEQUAL.

H.E. Paul Kelly, Ambassador of Australia to Lao PDR said “Education changes lives. Education contributes to stronger communities and greater prosperity. That is why we are committed to good quality primary education for all Lao children, no matter their circumstances, no matter their gender.”

He congratulated the Ministry of Education and Sports, particularly the primary school teachers who have worked hard on the BEQUAL program and said “Phase 1 of this program has encompassed the development of the new, student-centred national primary curriculum, the development of accompanying teaching and learning materials, and the training of teachers nationwide on this new curriculum, with its focus on engaging students through activities, hands on experience and practical application. It has been an enormous achievement, and a wonderful example of collaboration across so many levels of government.”

HE Paul Kelly, Ambassador of Australia observes a Grade 4 English lesson

HE Paul Kelly, Ambassador of Australia observes a Grade 4 English lesson. Photo: ©Bart Verweij/BEQUAL.

The delegation observed Grade 1 to 4 classrooms being taught Lao Language, Sciences and Environment, and English subjects. Students were actively participating in class, collaborating with each other, and learning through experimentation.

BEQUAL Phase 2 builds on the successful 7-year partnership

BEQUAL Phase 2 will finalise the implementation of the new primary curriculum by completing the development and implementation of Grade 5 in the school year 2023-2024. It will continue the development of the Spoken Lao Program to support non-Lao-speaking students in remote primary schools. The focus will shift to providing teachers with professional development and training while ensuring approaches are inclusive of gender and disability education. Phase 2 will continue to support the education priorities of the Lao Government described in the Education and Sports Sector Development Plan prepared by the Ministry of Education and Sports. It is also consistent with the strategic directions set out in Australia’s Education Delivery Strategy and Laos COVID-19 Development Response Plans.

In the first seven years of Phase 1 (2015-June 2022), the Lao Ministry of Education and Sports of Lao PDR (MoES) received support from the Australian Government, co-funding from the European Union, and funding from the United States Agency for International Development.

In Phase 2 (initially July 2022-June 2026, with the possibility of a further 4-year extension), the Australian Government continues to support MoES through the BEQUAL program with a focus on primary curriculum development, teacher education and professional development, and integration of gender and inclusive education principles and practices.

Read more about BEQUAL’s official launch ceremony here: https://www.bequal-laos.org/australia-and-ministry-of-education-and-sports-of-lao-pdr-announced-the-official-launch-of-the-bequal-program-phase-2/

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