On 17th February the Deputy Director General of Department of Teacher Education (DTE), Ministry of Education, Mr. Soupee Phetdavong and the BEQUAL Team Leader, Ms. Rebecca McHugh, visited Luang Namtha Teacher Training College (TTC) to officially open a new BEQUAL Office, located in the TTC. They met with the Director of the Luang Namtha TTC, Mr. Khamsouk Thongkan, and other key TTC personnel to thank Luang Namtha TTC for agreeing to host the BEQUAL office for Phase 2 of the program and to discuss planning and collaboration for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) system development and implementation. Representatives from the Luang Namtha PESS, Bokeo PESS and Phongsaly PESS were also part of the discussion and launch of the office and will be vital implementing partners for the CPD system in the catchment area of Luang Namtha TTC.
Mr. Soupee Phetdavong said “Establishing BEQUAL offices in three target TTCs for Phase 2 is an important part of ensuring smooth and effective collaboration between the Department of Teacher Education and Australia through the BEQUAL program. The Ministry of Education is committed to supporting improvements in access to and quality of teacher professional development in Lao PDR and is pleased to be collaborating with the Government of Australia via the BEQUAL program to achieve this goal. DTE has been partnering with BEQUAL to design a school based CPD system led by the technical experts at TTCs. This design will be trialed in BEQUAL’s three target TTCs throughout Phase 2. The opening of the new BEQUAL office in Luang Namtha is the next important step in this partnership.”
Ms. Rebecca McHugh said “The Australian Government and Government of Lao PDR share a commitment to improving teaching quality and thereby improving student learning outcomes. Being able to work side-by-side with TTC colleagues through staff based in a TTC office will facilitate effective collaboration towards achieving this shared goal, under the leadership of DTE. We are grateful to Luang Namtha TTC leadership for sharing their space with us. The office is embedded in a centre for education research and learning, which is the perfect environment for developing a CPD system for teachers. ”
A key priority of Phase 2 is to support DTE to develop a continuing professional development (CPD) system to provide direct and ongoing pedagogical support to primary teachers to achieve the goal of improved teaching. Under DTE direction, teams of school-level pedagogical support staff will receive capacity development and provide training and support for teachers in a locally relevant approach that responds to teachers’ development needs. BEQUAL will work in partnership to build the capacity of key TTC staff to be able to provide technical support and training to these school-level pedagogical support staff to ensure they are equipped to undertake their roles.
In Phase 2 BEQUAL will work directly with three target TTCs (Savannakhet, Luang Namtha and Khang Khai), seven target Provincial Education and Sports Services (PESS – Luang Namtha, Bokeo, Phongsaly, Xieng Khouang, Houaphan, Savannakhet and Khammouane) and 30 target districts within these provinces. To facilitate smooth and effective collaboration the program will establish offices co-located in these three target TTCs with a team of three BEQUAL staff to be located in each TTC. The Luang Namtha TTC office is the second of these three offices to be ready for operation. The Savannakhet office has already opened in November 2022 and Khan Khai TTCs will be ready and officially opened in March 2023.
The Department of Teacher Education has overall responsibility for the management and implementation of teacher CPD nationally through the TTCs and in partnership with the PESS and District Education and Sports Bureaus (DESB). BEQUAL will support DTE to realize this vision for improved teacher CPD through collaboration with target TTCs, PESS and DESB.
Mr. Soupee Phetdavong said “We are pleased to achieve this next step in our longstanding partnership with the Australian government through the opening of the BEQUAL office in Luang Namtha TTC and look forward to working together to achieve improvements in the quality of primary teaching and learning in Lao PDR.”