Did you know that a child from a mother who can read is 50 per cent more likely to survive past the age of five? Literacy is one of the most important skills when it comes to your personal growth, culture and development. It is the foundation for all learning at school and in life. On a broader scale, high literacy rates contribute to enhanced economic growth and national development.
Since 2015, the curriculum writers team and BEQUAL experts at the Research Institute for Educational Science have been developing a new curriculum and educational materials for all primary subjects, including new Lao language textbooks and teacher guides. The Grade 1 curriculum and materials will be ready in September 2019 for the start of the new school year.
The first steps in learning to read and write are to develop strong speaking skills, learn how to recognise letters and know the sound they represent. Drawing on knowledge of how children develop literacy skills and feedback from teachers and students who were involved in pilot testing materials in several primary schools across the country, the curriculum writers revised the Lao language curriculum to improve the quality and meet the needs of young learners.
The development of strong spoken language skills and the ability to apply the alphabet are now given much more space in the lessons. The students will learn by doing and will spend more time applying their new knowledge. A broader range of fun and pedagogical activities to practice essential skills for reading and writing are now included in each lesson. The new teacher guides are more detailed and contain guidance on how to organise each lesson and suggestions for using local knowledge, creating extension activities or teaching ethnic students and multigrade classrooms. Scripted lessons will help teachers teach effectively.
To increase the attention of the students, the textbooks will be more child-friendly. They will be more colourful and contain plenty of visuals. The topics of the lessons are also chosen carefully to be interesting and relevant to young learners, such as daily life, family, friendship and games. In addition, each classroom will receive a resource pack with educational materials, such as story books, reading books for grade 1 and 2 or flash cards. These materials were designed to engage children in the new learning and teaching activities.
Through the BEQUAL program, the Australian Government and the European Union are proud to support the Ministry of Education and Sports of Lao PDR to improve literacy in Laos and give a brighter future to young Lao girls and boys.