On the 30th of August, the Director General of the Department of Teacher Education (DTE) of the Ministry of Education and Sports, Mr. Keth Phanhlack, opened the second quarterly meeting on continuing professional development (CPD) support for teachers. The meeting was held at Khang Khay TTC), Xiangkhouang province. 79 representatives from DTE, the Department of General Education, the three target TTCs (Khang Khay, Luang Namtha and Savannakhet), the 7 provinces in their catchment areas (Xiangkhouang, Houaphanh, Luang Namtha, Phongsaly, Bokeo, Savannakhet and Khammouane) and the 30 target districts attended the two-day meeting to share lessons learnt and discuss future CPD activities.
Mr Keth said “The Ministry of Education and Sports is committed to supporting improvements in access to and the quality of teacher professional development in Lao PDR and is pleased to be collaborating with the Government of Australia via the Basic Education Quality Access and Education in Lao PDR (BEQUAL) program to achieve this goal. The development of the CPD system is an important way to support improved teaching and learning in primary classrooms. A key area of focus will be on quality assurance of CPD activities to ensure teachers are well supported.”
Indeed, the DTE and Australia, through Phase 2 of the BEQUAL Program are working in partnership to build the capacity of 3 target TTCs to provide teacher continuing professional development. The objective is to decentralise teacher professional development by establishing, operationalising, and institutionalising a system of school based CPD, led by TTCs in close coordination with Provincial Education and Sports Services (PESS) and District Education and Sports Bureaus (DESBs). TTCs will lead on the strategic implementation of school based CPD across their catchment areas with an emphasis on the capacity building of internal pedagogical support staff. The DESBs will be responsible for needs assessment, management, and quality assurance of teachers’ learning and professional development.
The recently established quarterly TTC and PESS learning and reflection meetings enable CPD stakeholders, including DTE, to work collaboratively on planning, implementation, and monitoring of school-based CPD. These coordination mechanisms will also support DTE and non-target TTCs with information and guidance to scale up CPD activities in non-target areas.
Mr Keth noted that “all stakeholders from MoES, TTC, PESS and DESB need to work together and think creatively to develop and implement the CPD system successfully. We need to be flexible and work collaboratively for success.”
During the meeting, the participants shared and explored data and key findings from the different CPD activities implemented by each TTC during the school year 2022-23. Participants noted that following the implementation of activities in 2022-23 key stakeholders at the TTC, PESS, and DESBs had a much clearer understanding of their role in MoES’ CPD system as described in the decree 3342.
Each TTC agreed on an annual workplan which will be implemented in collaboration with the PESS during the 2023-24 school year. There was consensus that the workplans need to build on the successes of the previous year’s workplan and move towards equipping participants with the basic skills and knowledge they require to begin carrying out their roles in the teacher CPD system.
At the meeting BEQUAL presented the newly established online CPD library. The library is set up on google drive to enable the TTCs, PESS and DESBs to collaborate in live time on the planning and implementation of CPD activities. The documents on the drive will also potentially be accessible to non-target TTCs to support the scale up of CPD activities in their respective catchment areas. The online CPD library will be accessible from a variety of devices, including from the tablets provided by BEQUAL to 30 DESBs and 1,043 IPS.