Responding to the COVID-19 situation, the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) and Australia pivoted the delivery and organisation of many of the Basic Education Quality and Access in Lao PDR (BEQUAL) program activities. Whenever feasible, workshops, meetings, consultations and trainings are now being organised online or using a blended face-to-face and online model. By reducing travel and overnight stays, this approach also results in significant time and cost efficiencies.
Thanks to the sets of videoconferencing equipment given by Australia to MoES last year and now installed in the 8 Teacher Training Colleges (TTC) across the country, the review of the Provincial Trainer teams for the Grade 3 teacher training this year was organised online for the first time. 60 representatives from 18 Provincial Education and Sports Services, 8 TTC and relevant MoES departments gathered in each of the 8 TTC locations for a 2-day video conference on 18-19 February 2021. The workshop was opened by Asso. Professor Mrs. Vongdeuan Osay, Deputy Director General of DTE talking from Dongkhamxang TTC.
“Providing well-planned, quality in-service teacher training is critical to the implementation of the new improved primary curriculum. And quality trainers are integral to the success of any in-service teacher training and development activity” said Mrs. Vongdeuan.” So during this 2-day workshop, I invite the PESS and TTC representatives to reflect on the successes of your provincial training team during Grade 2 teacher training and to review the membership of your team to ensure you have a strong and effective Provincial Trainer team that is able to deliver high quality training and support teachers with the Grade 3 curriculum implementation”
The Provincial Trainer teams were formed in November 2018 to train primary teachers on the new improved primary curriculum and to provide ongoing support to teachers. The criteria for the selection were based on the characteristics of good trainers such as primary teaching experience, specific subject knowledge, experience in training, commitment to improve teacher quality, and to support teachers in the classroom. Gender balance of the teams was also an important criterion. The trainer teams are very diverse: Members come from all across MoES, covering national, provincial, district and school levels. The teams are reviewed every year to ensure that all team members have the required technical capacity, demonstrate the commitment required to participating in delivery of teacher training and ongoing capacity development activities and are available to participate in training and deliver the training.
During the 2-day workshop, the participants reflected on the performance and effectiveness of the trainer teams during the Grade 2 focussing on training delivery and teacher support activities in a whole group videoconference session. They discussed achievements and lessons learned based on data and local information available. They then received instructions and resources to guide the review of their Provincial Trainers team independently in each TTC location.
Each PESS presented the updated list of Provincial Trainers for their province during the last whole group videoconference session and committed to finalising the updated list within the next week.
In April 2021, the Provincial Trainers from the BEQUAL supported provinces (Phongsaly, Luang Namtha, Khammouane, Savannakhet, Salavan and Sekong) will participate in the Teacher Support Pack Training of Trainer to build their capacity to provide in-semester support to primary teachers on specific teaching challenges they may face with the new improved curriculum. In June 2021, all the Provincial Trainers will receive a 5 days training on the new Grade 3 curriculum materials, and they will then train Grade 3 teachers in July-August.