BEQUAL objective is to improve pre-service and in-service training of primary teachers to promote better learning outcomes for primary level students. BEQUAL works in partnership with the Departments of Teacher Education, Pre-Primary and Primary Education, the eight core Teacher Training Colleges and the Teacher Education Development Centre to strengthen the teacher education curriculum, and build the capacity of teacher education staff. Emphasis is placed on an increased number of ethnic teachers, particularly women, are trained and deployed to remote rural villages.
The main activities include:
- Revision of primary teacher training curriculum to make it more relevant, knowledge-based and a student-centred approach to teaching and learning. This revision will match the renewal of the primary curriculum, include multi-grade teaching and increase the time for Lao language, reading and mathematics.
- Revision of learning materials for teacher training, preparation of new materials and the creation of resource packs.
- A professional development program for teacher educators to support them in delivery of the revised curriculum. Scholarships are provided to primary teacher educators to upgrade qualifications to a higher degree, particularly to Masters level qualification.
- Recruitment and training of up to 520 ethnic teachers (70% female) at Teacher Training Colleges through a scholarship grants program.
- Creation of a professional development program for in-service teachers.
- Capacity building and support of education staff based in the 148 districts of Laos to facilitate school-based professional development.
Year 1 focused on the 217 ethnic people undertaking the first year of their teacher training program, supporting them through extra classes and scholarships. Twenty-two teacher educators commenced a Masters program and a training needs analysis was used to help design the teacher educators’ professional development program.
Year 2 priorities include: launching the teacher educators’ professional development program; selecting a second batch of teacher educators for the Masters program; beginning development of the revised primary teacher training curriculum; selecting, enrolling and supporting a second cohort of ethnic teacher trainees; and helping design a teachers’ continuing professional development program.