Since the introduction of the new national primary curriculum in 2019, the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) of Lao PDR has been working in collaboration with the Australian government through the BEQUAL program to provide additional financial and technical support to 28 target District Education and Sports Bureaus (DESBs) across six provinces – Phongsaly, Luangnamtha, Khammouane, Savannakhet, Salavan and Sekong.
Capacity building for teachers in Lao PDR
Recognising that it takes time for teachers to fully grasp and apply the new active teaching and learning techniques, MoES has taken the initiative to build the capacity of DESB staff to assist teachers in utilising the new curriculum and supplementary teaching resources.
The support package includes grant funding, capacity-building programs for DESB staff, training sessions, and the provision of electronic data collection tools.
The grant funding enables DESB teams to visit schools and clusters for pedagogical support and monitoring. The DESBs are encouraged to prioritise visiting schools in remote communities with a high percentage of students from non-Lao speaking backgrounds.
“The DESBs can use the grants to make pedagogical support and monitoring visits to schools and clusters. The DESBs are encouraged to give greater priority to visiting schools in remote communities where a high percentage of students come from non-Lao speaking backgrounds, and to focus on supporting teachers with the new curriculum implementation.” – Ajan Keth Phanlak, Director General of the Department of Teacher Education at MoES
Over the years, DESB and BEQUAL teams have observed the positive impact of the extra support provided to teachers. Most teachers in the target districts have embraced active learning practices, frequently using techniques such as collaborative group work among students and open-ended questioning by teachers.
During the 2022-23 school year, the Ministry of Education and Sports and Australia provided extra grants to target districts, totalling 979,521,000 LAK (79000 AUD). These grants enabled DESB teams to conduct 4,246 visits to grade 4 classrooms.
Looking ahead to the academic year 2023-24, the Australian Government, through the BEQUAL program, will continue supporting these target districts by providing grants to facilitate the complete implementation of the new primary curriculum up to Grade 5.
Additionally, grants will be extended to new target districts to support teacher professional development in the three Teacher Training Colleges (TTCs) catchment areas: Luang Namtha TTC, Kang Khay TTC, and Savannakhet TTC.
Learn more about BEQUAL.
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