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Vientiane – Australia in partnership with the European Union, through the Basic Education Quality and Access in Lao PDR (BEQUAL) Program, and the Ministry of Education and Sports have completed construction of new classrooms and provided water and sanitation facilities in 582 schools in nine provinces.

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A handover ceremony held at the Ministry of Education and Sports today was attended by representatives from relevant MoES departments, Provincial Education and Sports Service from the nine provinces that benefitted from the support, as well as other implementing partners and NGOs. The meeting marks the handover of school facilities supported by Australia and the European Union to the Ministry of Education and Sports.

Speaking at the official handover ceremony Mrs. Khampaseuth Kittiyavong, Deputy Director General of Department of Planning, MoES, said  “The Ministry of Education and Sports acknowledge the importance of infrastructure in the education sector, particularly to improve the school environment and facilitate a better teaching and learning. Infrastructure is important to enable access to school to all children. The school is like their second house, they need to have a safe environment to be able to learn well”.

“Australia has been very pleased to work in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Sports and the European Union to support communities to
construct classrooms and water and sanitation facilities. Schools where parents and other community members are actively engaged in supporting their children’s education are those most likely to deliver better education outcomes.” Ms Katie Smith, First Secretary said at the ceremony.

Since 2015, Australia and the European Union has worked with the Ministry of Education and Sports to renovate and build new classrooms, provide water and sanitation facilities, and school furniture in 582 schools in nine provinces including 193 primary schools where scholarship students from remote areas have been deployed to teach. Australia and the European Union also helped to renovate dormitories, kitchens and water and sanitation systems in three Teacher Training Colleges in Luang Namtha, Savannakhet and Saravan where scholarship students from remote areas were trained to be a primary teacher.

In addition, the revised National School Construction Guideline was officially endorsed during the meeting. A total of over AUD9million was invested in construction and rehabilitation of primary classrooms under the BEQUAL program.

These schools are often in very remote locations, with some only accessible by foot. The program used community-based contracting approach for school construction and rehabilitation with supervision from the BEQUAL Program’s engineers and District Education and Sports Bureau staff. This approach will ensure community’s ownership of the school and improve their capacity to maintain the school in the future.

The Basic Education Quality and Access in Lao PDR (BEQUAL) program is a AUD64 million program over five years from 2015-2020 aiming to improve learning outcomes, especially for disadvantage children through developing the new primary curriculum, improving teaching quality and supporting the delivery of education.