The Ministry of Education and Sports, with support from the Australian Government through the Basic Education Quality and Access in Lao (BEQUAL) program, is revising the new primary curriculum and developing new teaching and learning materials for teachers and students. Each year, one grade is revised, and a set of new textbooks provided to students nationwide. The new textbooks are colourful and full of illustrations and activities to make learning fun. They have been designed to be interesting and engaging for young children. Grade 1 and 2 students have already received their new sets in September 2019 and 2020 respectively. In September 2021, each Grade 3 student will receive a set of textbooks for Lao Language, English and Sciences and Environment.
Students are encouraged to take their textbooks home to practice reading, do their homework, and share their learning with their parents; this reflects the new pedagogy that introduces active learning
At the end of the school year, students need to return their textbooks to their school as so next year’s students can use the textbooks. The textbooks need to be in good condition for the new cohort to enjoy their learning.
But monitoring visits show that textbook care is an issue – many books are damaged because they have not been covered to be protected from water or dust and pages are dirty or torn. Some books have been lost and not replaced. Understandably, teachers are reluctant to allow students to take their textbooks home.
To address those issues and educate on textbook care, the Ministry of Education and Sports, with support from the Australian Government through BEQUAL, is developing a communication campaign on TV, radio and loudspeaker. The campaign is primarily designed for parents and child carers. A TV spot on Do’s and Don’ts of textbook care has been already produced and is now being broadcasted on the Education and Sports TV Channel, ESTV on Lao Satellite 8. Illustrated posters depicting the basics of textbook care were distributed to schools nationwide to be displayed in the village, in a place visible by all. Last week, the Information Media Center of the Ministry of Education and Sports was filming the second part of the campaign focusing on textbook return and reminding parents to support their children with textbook care. This new TV spot will be broadcasted in April-May before the end of the schoolyear. A radio spot and loudspeaker messages on the same theme will soon be produced to ensure more people are aware of textbook care and textbook return.
This campaign is expected to prepare and motivate parents and students to take care of the books and keep them in a good condition so the students coming after them can continue to use them.