Teachers play a vital role in shaping the future of the next generation and the development of Lao PDR. Let’s meet the new generation of teachers!

Image 04

Image 03

Image 02

Image 01

This year Teachers’ Day celebrates teacherswith the theme, “Young Teachers: The future of the Profession.” Ms. Meetou Leaxer, Ms. Lamngeun Yegkhamchanthavong and Mr. Mon Khounmatay are amongst this future generation of promising young teachers. Like more than 350 other fellow students from remote and rural Lao villages they received a scholarship from the BEQUAL project led by the Ministry of Education and Sports with the support of the Australian Government and the European Union to attend a Teacher Training College to become teachers. Ajan Meetou, Lamngeun and Mon graduated in 2018 and are now qualified primary teachers back in their communities in some of the most educationally disadvantaged districts of Laos.

“Being a teacher was my dream; I was so happy to receive the scholarship; I come from a remote Makong village and a poor family; I couldn’t have afforded to pay for my studies” said Ajan Mon. He graduated from Savannakhet TTC and is now fulfilling his dream, teaching Grade 1 at Kengmuang School, Khammouane Province. “BEQUAL also supported the community to construct a new classroom building because the school was not in good condition.”

Teachers play an important role for children learning to read or write, doing math, or learning to master a host of other subjects and skills are essential to get a job and be prepared for an adult life.

Those young local teachers will provide a language bridge and help the children of their community to speak, read and write Lao. In a country with nearly 50 different ethnic groups, many children in remote villages have never been exposed to Lao language when they first start school. And how could you study if you don’t understand the language of instruction? Local ethnic teachers understand the language and the culture of their students, which is critical for the first years of schooling and Lao language acquisition.

Ajan Meetou is the new Grade 2 teacher in her village of Houay Nam Deng, Luang Namtha Province. She explains “the most difficult part about teaching is communicating with the students because they don’t speak Lao; coming from the same Akha community really helps me be a better teacher for them. I can understand them and fill the language gap.”

Ajan Lamngeun, now teaching Grade 1 at Thongxam School, Khammouane Province confirms “I am from the Tri community and learning to read and write Lao is very important for my students. I want them to be able to go out in the society later; to do so, they need to learn how to communicate in Lao.”

Teachers have an important and demanding job; they spend many hours preparing their lessons… “Every day, I prepare carefully my lesson; I read the teacher guide and make my lesson plan;

I create all the materials needed; It takes time, but I want to be sure to be ready for my students” says Ajan Mon.

But more importantly, teachers are doing their job with passion. They believe that education is the key to accessing knowledge; and knowledge will bring development. This is why teachers are working hard to bring out the best in their students.

“I strongly believe that education will help my village; I want the parents to encourage their children to attend school” says Ajan Lamngeun. “If you want to find a job you need to be able to communicate; this is why you need to go to school and learn to read and write” adds Ajan Meetou.

Ajan Boualy and Ajan Sokhong are two other young primary teachers who received a scholarship from BEQUAL. In the video below filmed during their last year at the Teacher Training College, they share their daily life at the College, their learning journey, their challenges and how they are looking forward to accomplishing their dream to become primary teachers in their remote communities. Ajan Boualy and Ajan Sokhong graduated in June 2019. They are now back in their Akha communities as primary teachers.

This young generation of local ethnic teachers will bring a brighter future to the young children of their villages and they are a role model in their own communities.

Watch the video here.