On Teachers’ Day, H.E. Dr. Sisouk Vongvichit, Vice Minister of Education and Sports and H.E. Dan Heldon, the Australian Deputy Head of Mission, visited a primary school in Vientiane Capital to observe the new grade 4 teaching and learning in action.
The delegation discussed with the teachers their experience with teaching new active learning and student-centered pedagogy and officially handed over the new Grade 4 materials to the teachers.
H.E. Dr. Sisouk said “Teaching quality is key to improving learning outcomes for all children of Lao PDR. On Teachers’ Day, I would like to congratulate all teachers for their work and dedication, and it is my honor to handover the new grade 4 teaching and learning materials to the teachers”.
H.E. Dan Heldon said, “The improved curriculum adopts a new pedagogy with a focus on active learning. Today, I saw teachers engaging their students through activities, hands-on experience, and practical application of their knowledge. I would like to praise all the teachers for the key role they play in improving the students’ learning outcomes which is a significant foundation for the development of human resources in Lao PDR.”
Since 2015, the Australian Government has been supporting the Ministry of Education and Sports of Lao PDR, through the BEQUAL program, with the development and implementation of the new national primary curriculum, along with new teaching and learning materials and a complete training plan for the teachers. The new primary curriculum has been progressively introduced to schools year-on-year since 2019. The annual cycle of curriculum development, production, distribution, and nationwide teacher orientation has been successfully maintained despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 crisis.
546,000 Grade 4 textbooks covering the three subjects supported by the Australian Government (Lao Language, English, Science and Environment), 42,600 teacher guides, 28,400 busy picture posters and 14,300 teacher resource packs were distributed to 7,671 primary schools nationwide in time for the start of the new school year. All of these new teaching and learning resources were carefully designed to enable active learning and ensure that the curriculum is fair and equitable to all children.
In addition, 361 four-day training workshops were delivered by a team of 663 Master and Provincial Trainers to equip 8,614 grade 4 teachers and 354 Pedagogical Advisors with the skills they need to teach the new curriculum. The teachers also received guidance on multigrade teaching as well as gender and inclusive education strategies.
“Lao PDR and Australia share a mutual interest in giving all young children, especially those experiencing disadvantage, the chance of a good education. Amidst the COVID-19 crisis and the two lockdowns, the work of the Ministry of Education and Sports, with support of the Australian Government, to develop and implement the new primary curriculum never stopped and I am very pleased to witness today the new grade 4 curriculum being taught in the classrooms.” H.E. Dr. Sisouk added.
H.E. Dan Heldon concluded “I look forward to continued collaboration between the Ministry of Education and Sports and the Australian Government through BEQUAL Phase 2 with a focus on teacher professional development and integration of inclusive education principles.”
Indeed, Australia has just renewed its support to MoES through the BEQUAL Phase 2 program with AUD 28 million over four years (2022-2026). The main objectives will be to finalise the implementation of the new primary curriculum and strengthen teaching quality. The new improved Grade 5 curriculum is currently being developed and will be implemented in all primary schools next year. In parallel, more support will be provided to teacher education and professional development.