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On 14th May, Dr Onekeo Nouannavong, Director General of the Research Institute for Educational Sciences (RIES) and Ms. Jane Chandler, Deputy Head of Mission of the Australian Embassy in Lao PDR, officially opened the “Master Trainer Training Grade 1 Curriculum”. For ten days, specialists from RIES and the BEQUAL program will train the team of 60 master trainers on the content of the new Grade 1 curriculum and develop their understanding and confidence in cascading this training.

“The most important revision in the new curriculum is the change in teaching and learning practices” said Dr Onekeo.  “The new pedagogical approach, active learning, aims at helping children learn better. Students will learn through hands-on experience. They will be actively participating in the class, collaborating with each other, engaging with the learning materials, and experimenting through activities. To change the teaching method and equip teachers with the necessary skills to use the new curriculum materials, the preparation of the trainers and their perfect understanding of the new Grade 1 curriculum is critical. This is the objective of the Master Trainer Training Grade 1 Curriculum starting today.”

The master trainers were selected in October 2018 based on their experience and skills and attended two capacity development workshops in December 2018 and January 2019. The purpose of those preparatory activities was to build the facilitation skills of the Master Trainers and help them to plan and deliver effective training.

In the “Master Trainer Training Grade 1 Curriculum”, Master Trainers will be orientated on the new Grade 1 curriculum materials and have the opportunity to explore, try out and reflect on different classroom activities built around active learning. The training will give Master Trainers the opportunity to learn about the new assessment system built into the curriculum and provide support on how to train teachers to use this. Master trainers will also prepare to deliver the three separate sessions developed for principals and pedagogical advisors through which they support teachers in using the new curriculum, throughout the school year.

In June, the Master Trainers will deliver this training to the 18 teams of 611 Provincial Trainers.  In July and August, the Provincial Trainers will conduct the 6-day face-to-face training workshops for more than 16,000 Grade 1 teachers, primary school principals and pedagogical advisors in the country’s 148 districts and ensure that they receive the necessary support during the year to make positive changes in the classroom. And in September 2019, all Grade 1 students will start the school-year with a new improved curriculum and a new learning method.

“Australia, with the support of European Union and USAID, is very pleased to be partnering with RIES and the Ministry of Education and Sports to support the development of the new primary curriculum and its implementation” said Jane Chandler. “Providing well planned, quality in-service teacher training is critical to the success of this new curriculum. I look forward to seeing the positive outcomes for students and teachers as the new curriculum is implemented across the country over the next five years”.