H.E. Madam Sengdeuane Lachanthaboune, Acting Minister (at the time of the conference, now current Minister of Education and Sports) and four Director Generals from the Ministry for Education and Sports participated in the Making Systems Work: A Global Conference on Education Systems in Sydney, Australia from 29 February to 2 March 2016. The conference was co-sponsored by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the World Bank Group. The Lao PDR delegation, plus representatives of the Australian Government and European Union from Vientiane, attended the conference to obtain a better understanding of how education system reform can be applied through BEQUAL.
The three-day global conference explored tools and research that strengthen education system policies and performance and promote learning for all. The conference brought together an international group of education stakeholders, including ministers, policymakers, academics and researchers, to explore the evolution of education systems’ research and education system tools. During the conference H.E. Madam Sengdeuane Lachanthaboune participated in a Ministers’ forum with fellow education ministers from Papua New Guinea, Guatemala, Iraq and Kurdistan.
The conference provided the delegation with a better understanding of the complexities of education system policy intent, implementation and service delivery. Research confirmed the importance of managing educational reform from a systems perspective, that is, education reform should be supported in the context of educational policy, management and administration, teacher education, and curriculum and materials development. The conference emphasised that all elements of educational delivery must be treated and supported as a whole.
“The global conference has shaped Lao PDR’s ways of thinking forward in attaining its education development goals,” said H.E. Madam Sengdeuane Lachanthaboune.
“The conference highlights the opportunities being provided by the BEQUAL program in supporting Lao PDR to implement the 2015 -2020 Education Sector Development Plan in the primary sub-sector. This is because BEQUAL works to support education systems and provides resourcing in a flexible way.”
Joint funding provided by the Australian Government and the European Union through BEQUAL directly supports the Ministry of Education and Sports to develop the curriculum, teachers and schools needed to ensure children go to school, stay in school and learn in the classroom.
H.E. Madam Sengdeuane Lachanthaboune and the Ministry delegation met with the World Bank and the Australian Government to discuss existing and ongoing support to the education sector in Lao PDR. The Acting Minister expressed her gratitude to Alison Chartres, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Assistant Secretary, for the confidence expressed by the Australian Government in supporting primary education development in Lao PDR. Discussions with Claudia Costin, Senior Director, World Bank Group also confirmed the World Bank’s ongoing commitment through the Early Childhood Education program and the Global Partnership for Education, two programs with a total financial commitment of approximately US$45 million. The World Bank also indicated a willingness to support future programming in the junior secondary education sub-sector.
The Acting Minister stated, “the conference was very successful and will have a sustainable impact upon the way the Ministry of Education and Sports will manage and support educational reform in Lao PDR over the coming years”.