Held in Vientiane on 11th December 2018, the BEQUAL Steering Committee was co-chaired by H.E. Mme Sengdeuane Lachanthaboun – Minister of Education and Sports, H.E. Mr Jean-Bernard Carrasco – Australian Ambassador to Lao PDR and H.E. Mr Leo Faber – European Union Ambassador to Lao PDR. High-level representatives from the relevant Ministry of Education line departments, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Provincial Governor’s Offices and Provincial Education and Sports Services as well as development partners attended the meeting.
The objective of the meeting was to present results from the BEQUAL Technical Meeting that was organized on 30th November 2018 with representatives from all the provinces of Education and Sports, and to endorse the BEQUAL implementation plan 2018-2020.
“BEQUAL is a ten-year program supported by the Australian Government and European Union and other development partners such as USAID. The Phase 1 of BEQUAL is strongly aligned with the 8th Education and Sports Sector Development Plan (2016-2020) and the 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (2016-2020) and will continue to be aligned for the next phase. In the past three years, the program reached several key achievements in areas such as national primary national curriculum development, teacher training support and infrastructure.” stated H.E. Mrs Sengdeuane Lachanthaboun.
The Australian Ambassador reaffirmed the program goal which is to support the Ministry’s priorities, and particularly in addressing the disparities in education development. The goal of BEQUAL is to support more girls and boys of primary school-age, particularly those experiencing disadvantage, achieve functional literacy and numeracy and acquire life skills, said Australian Ambassador Carrasco. The EU Ambassador congratulated the Ministry for making the new curriculum inclusive.
The meeting participants discussed and endorsed the key program activities for the next two years, the main one being the new primary curriculum implementation starting with Grade 1 in September 2019. Representatives from Ministry of Education and Sports presented the new curriculum and instructional materials, the curriculum implementation plan with in-service teacher training and communication activities. The chairs of the meeting stressed the need for a joint commitment by both national and sub-national levels for the success of the implementation of the new curriculum, as well as the trainings needed inside and outside the classrooms. The new improved primary curriculum will make an important contribution to the quality of the learning outcomes of the Lao children. But it is a huge task that will require strong collaboration and support from all stakeholders from national to school levels.
While closing the meeting, the Minister emphasised that the results of the steering committee should be disseminated nationwide and be used as a reference to plan further work in order to achieve implementation goals effectively and successfully.