A special feature of the Grade 1 trial curriculum is a readiness program that children follow in the first weeks of school. This is designed to familiarise students with school life and prepare them to learn to read and write in Lao.
A monitoring team visited pilot schools every quarter to assess children’s learning and to interview teachers, school directors and Village Education Development Committees.
The objective of the visits was to gather feedback on pilot learning materials and assess progress of Grade 1 students. The District Education and Sports Bureau in Sepone was a great support in organising these visits.
It was a very hot day in Sepone; So, when the monitoring team was at Kengkham primary school they took the children to the shade of a tree in the school grounds to finish the assessments after lunch. The young students were excited but for some it was a long wait, so they showed their enthusiasm for drawing while they waited.
Feedback on the trial has shown that teachers and students are particularly happy with the layout of the pilot textbooks – with more pictures making the books more interesting and engaging for children. It has also highlighted the need for more support and resources for learning Lao language, and revisions to Grade 1 textbooks and teacher guides are now underway. The data and information gathered during this monitoring visit also helped the curriculum writers to plan the Grade 2 pilot which started in September.