The Ministry of Education and Sports, with support from Australia through the Basic Education Quality Access Lao (BEQUAL) program, has commenced work on its commitment to strengthen the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) system in Laos PDR. The goal is to improve the quality of teaching in primary schools in order to improve student learning outcomes.
The first CPD workshop was held at Savannakhet TTC over nine days with more than 70 participants mid-January. The second one happened the last week of January in Luang Namtha TTC and the third one is happening this week in Khangkai TTC, Xiengkhuan Province.
The main purpose is to train lecturers in how to support Internal Pedagogical Support (IPS) staff. The IPS positions are new positions and will be located in schools. TTC lecturers will be responsible to train and support IPS staff. These IPS staff will be responsible for facilitating CPD in their own and neighboring schools.
The topics for the workshop includes: strengthening the technical capacity of TTC lecturers; hearing the findings from the Subnational study on CPD; and planning, budgeting, and evaluation training for staff of the Provincial Education and Sports Sector (PESSs) and District Education and Sports Bureau (DESBs).
At the Savannakhet Workshop Mme Vongdeauane Osay, Deputy Director General, Department of Teacher Education said “We anticipate that the lessons we learn together will also provide important messages for other provinces and TTCs in Laos that are embarking on strengthening CPD for primary school teachers”.
To strengthen the capacity of TTC lecturers to train IPS staff, further workshops for TTC lecturers will be held in May when the lecturers will learn and practice skills which they will use to train the IPS staff. IPS staff will then attend training workshops throughout July and August before they start providing professional development support to teachers. One focus of this support will be improving the quality of teaching in the areas of literacy and numeracy.
All TTC directors encouraged all the participants to actively learn from this training and exchange knowledge with the CPD experts in order to prepare for the IPS at local schools. This one-week training is important for all TTC lecturers to learn the skills that they can apply when supporting teachers in local communities. The targeted outcome is to make in-service teachers feel confident with teaching the new curriculum and motivated to continue to improve their skills through the school year.
According to the findings from a district-level research carried out by MoES and BEQUAL teams, the top five reasons why teachers wanted to participate in CPD include: to increase their teaching quality and students’ learning; to understand how children learn; to receive more support to improve their teaching practices related to gender equality and inclusive education (GE & IE); and to have one-to-one advice, co-teaching and school cluster activities from other skilled teachers.