Increasing participation of all boys and girls in basic education is at the heart of BEQUAL and is essential to provide opportunities for all Lao citizens. All aspects of BEQUAL contribute to increased participation – but the activities described below target participation directly.
Participation and access
BEQUAL / Plan International NGO Consortium
The NGO consortium comprises of Plan International, ChildFund, Save the Children and World Vision. The consortium work focuses on activities that increase access and participation of children disadvantaged by language, gender, disability and ethnicity in schools. It includes improved oral Lao language skills and reading promotion in early grades. The consortium activities also aim at strengthening community mechanisms to create healthy supportive learning environments in homes and communities for disadvantaged children. The focus is on 171 schools and their communities in 6 districts and 4 provinces.
The activities include:
- Adaptation of the oral Lao language and school readiness course ‘Teaching Lao to non-Lao speaking ethnic students’ during the first four weeks of Grade 1.
- Organisation of community based reading festivals and to promote a culture and habit of reading among children beyond school time.
- Creation of community activities involving parents such as workshops on reading awareness or establishment of book banks, to support home based literacy.
- Training on inclusive education for children with disabilities with Individual Education Plans and specific teaching methods.
- Creation of book banks and learning corners in classrooms for older children and their parents.
- Establishment of school based Child Clubs to promote reading and hygiene. For reading promotion, supplementary reading materials are provided and a ‘reading buddies’ approach which pairs older and younger students. For hygiene promotion, hand washing stations will be provided.
- Provision of small grants of up to $500 to Village Education Development Committees to support access and participation in schools.
During year 1, the consortium management unit was established and work commenced on the activities and materials for early grades literacy and oral Lao language.
The priorities for year 2 will be to start the new school-year for all grade 1 students in the 171 schools, with the new oral Lao language and school readiness 4-week course, to assess the status and the needs of those schools in sanitation and hygiene, and to launch an inclusive education pilot in Xaybouathong district.
BEQUAL Education Innovation Fund
BEQUAL Education Innovation Fund (BEIF) encourages new thinking and innovative activities that lead to improvement in basic education delivery, access and quality.
The idea is to work with the Ministry of Education and Sports and other agencies at the provincial and/or district levels to pilot new approaches to see if they are successful and suitable for scaling up. A successful innovation or small-scale success can be expanded and have a positive impact on more schools and children.
The BEIF fund can award grants to government units, organisations, agencies, NGOs and the private sector whose proposals for innovative activities are within the BEQUAL mandate. Grants are awarded using clear guidelines and through a competitive application process.
Round 1 of BEIF (May 2016) resulted in four grants being provided to NGOs, PESS and private organisations. Round 2 of BEIF is expected to be open for applications in late 2016 and a promotional campaign will be used to make sure the BEIF opportunity is widely understood.
(a related activity not managed by BEQUAL)
The objective is to increase primary school enrolment and attendance through the provision of nutritious school meals and building of government capacity to manage and implement the program in the future. The meals act as an incentive for parents to send children to school and increase the ability of students to concentrate at school.
The school meal program is carried out by World Food Program.