Basic Education Quality and Access in Lao PDR

About the Project

BEQUAL is Australia’s flagship investment in education in Lao PDR, supporting the Lao Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) to implement its Education and Sports Sector Development Plan. Tetra Tech won the contract to deliver Phase 1 of the Program in 2015 (BEQUAL 1), and successfully tendered to implement Phase 2 (a 4 years + 4 year option) in 2022 (BEQUAL 2). The program supports MoES to improve teaching quality and student learning outcomes with a focus on stakeholders who are disadvantaged in the education system.

BEQUAL 1 began with a focus on improving education access in disadvantaged districts by improving school infrastructure, providing scholarships for young people from remote and rural villages who can speak local languages to gain teaching qualifications, and providing grants to subnational actors with innovative ideas for solving local problems. The Program’s focus then shifted to supporting MoES to comprehensively revise the primary curriculum and train all teachers nationwide in the new pedagogical approach. The new student-centred primary curriculum integrates active learning teaching strategies to increase student engagement and improve learning outcomes. A 3-year study carried out by the Australian Council for Education Research (ACER) from 2020 to 2022 found that the new primary curriculum was already leading to improved teaching quality and increased student engagement, despite the impact of COVID-19 during the research period.

BEQUAL 2 builds on this foundation by focusing on building teachers’ skills and confidence to teach the new curriculum. The Program is supporting MoES’ Department of Teacher Education (DTE) to establish a new system for school-based continuing professional development support for teachers. It is also working across MoES Departments to develop aligned policies for effective teacher management and support.

Our role

Tetra Tech’s team is embedded at MoES and works alongside colleagues from relevant departments to plan, manage and monitor key activities from the Education and Sports Sector Development Plan. This is achieved through extensive capacity building and system strengthening inputs to ensure program-supported changes are locally-led, sustainable, and highly relevant to Government of Lao PDR development priorities.

The team has a close, collaborative relationship with the Education team at Australia’s Embassy in Lao PDR. The Communications team ensures high visibility for Australia’s support to the education sector through partnerships with an extensive network of public and private media outlets. Embassy team members regularly participate in program planning, monitoring and technical activities. The Program organises biannual field visits for the Phase 2 Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to bring them into the implementation context and consult on programming options and opportunities.


BEQUAL Phase 1 activities reached over 630,000 beneficiaries including 599,316 students (48% F), 29,022 educators (50% F); and 3,223 education managers (42% F).

Key Phase 1 achievements include:

Better resourced teaching and learning environments:

  • Resourcing every primary school student and teacher nationwide with inclusive teaching and learning materials through the production of 341,000 teacher guides, 2,705,000 textbooks, and 45,770 teacher resource boxes (TRBs).
  • Improved nation-wide access to age-appropriate reading materials for primary children through the development and distribution of 510,205 storybooks and 1,223,645 decodable readers.
  • Increased participation, especially by disadvantaged children
  • Increased supply of teachers with ethnic minority language skills to remote schools through scholarships and support for 359 ethnic teacher students (63% F), with 160 (58% F) deployed teachers awarded permanent public service positions by 2021.
  • Improved school access and participation by girls and children with a disability by upgrading school infrastructure for 582 schools in 45 districts of nine provinces.
  • Improved positive and inclusive representation of gender roles, ethnic diversity, and individual agency of people with disability in primary curriculum materials through the development and application of a Gender Equality and Inclusive Education (GE&IE) assessment tool for primary curriculum materials, in-service training materials, teacher continuing professional development (CPD) resources, and Program communications.

Better teaching:

  • Improved inclusive curriculum materials through successful capacity building of MoES, Provincial Education and Sports Services (PESS), District Education and Sports Bureaus (DESBs) and Teacher Training Colleges (TTCs) for writing curriculum materials that include guidance on how to achieve equality and inclusion in the classroom.
  • Improved capacity of primary teachers as a result of annual nationwide orientation training to 22,228 teachers, 6,390 principals and 538 Pedagogical Advisers grade by grade, supported by production of in-service training handbooks, 18 teacher development videos, and the introduction of new approaches to post-training CPD based on self-learning, peer-learning, and blended online/in-person modalities. Evidence of improved capacity of primary teachers was collected through over 2100 classroom observations in BEQUAL target districts and is presented in Section 4.2: Progress Towards EOPOs.
  • Institutionalized curriculum training and teacher support capacity at central, provincial and district level by developing a cadre of 63 (46% F) Master Trainers (MTs) and 633 (45% F) Provincial Trainers (PTs) as a readily available resource for ongoing teacher support.
  • Improved skills of future teachers through the successful development and national implementation of an improved pre-service primary teacher education curriculum, including a dedicated inclusive education module, that is aligned to the new primary curriculum and in-service teacher training.

BEQUAL also supported MoES with the revision of key policies and frameworks, such as the CPD Framework, National Primary Curriculum Framework, National Primary Teaching Standards, Pre-service Curriculum Framework, National Assessment Policy Framework, MoES Finance and Administration Management Manual (FMAM), School Construction Guidelines and the Inclusive Education Strategy and Action Plan 2016 – 2020.


Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)


Lao People’s Democratic Republic


June 2015 – ongoing


Contractor Representative, BEQUAL


Head of Operations

For all delivery enquiries please contact:

Victoria Johnson, Director, Education, [email protected]


Melanie Reddaway, Head of Operations, [email protected]


For more information, visit the BEQUAL website

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