Following the major reform of the primary school curriculum and the completion of the roll out of the curriculum for Grades 1-5, the Ministry of Education and Sports of Lao PDR (MoES) has revised the Primary Teaching Standards with the support of Australia and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), through the BEQUAL program. The Primary Teaching Standards were approved by the Vice Minister MoES, Dr. Sisouk Vongvichit on 3/11/2023. The Department of Teacher Education (DTE) is planning to hold a high-level workshop in January 2023 with representatives from key MoES departments as well as representatives from the subnational level to discuss opportunities to disseminate and implement the Standards.
The Primary Teaching Standards set a clear baseline of expectations for the professional development and conduct of primary teachers. International best practice suggests that primary classroom teachers require a clearly articulated set of teaching standards directly linked to the curriculum they are expected to teach. The revised Standards will provide a clear link between the revised Primary Curriculum and the knowledge, skills and values teachers need to teach this curriculum effectively to all of their students.
Ajan Keth Phanlack, Director General, DTE said “With the revised primary curriculum in place, there is now a focus on supporting policy and strengthening systems for teacher professional development. The revision of the Primary Teaching Standards was led by DTE, with support from Australia and USAID through the BEQUAL program. It is a good example of collaboration between the different MoES departments. The Primary Teaching Standards technical working group established in 2022 included representatives from DTE, the Department of General Education, the Department of Education Quality Assurance, the Department of Organisation and Personnel and all eight Teacher Training Colleges.”
The revised Primary Teaching Standards include four main domains of competency that teachers should demonstrate across three proficiency levels. Ajan Keth added “They are a key tool in the quality assurance of the teacher education system and in ensuring effective and relevant continuing professional development for primary teachers.”
The Primary Teaching Standards will have many uses linked to continuing professional development (CPD) activities. They provide a clear guide for those designing and providing CPD support for teachers so that it fully aligns with the knowledge, skills and values required by teachers to improve student learning outcomes. The teachers will be able use the Standards to support their own professional development as they engage in ongoing self-assessment and goal setting for their CPD.
The Primary Teaching Standards will also be an important resource for ensuring the quality of newly graduating teachers. The Teacher Training Colleges will be encouraged to use the Standards to assess the performance of their students and determine whether they meet the proficiency level required to graduate and become a teacher. Other possible applications for the Primary Teaching Standards relate to performance appraisal processes such as teacher appraisals and the awarding of Academic Teacher titles.