The Australian Government and the European Union have been supporting the MoES with the revision and implementation of the new primary curriculum since 2015. This strong collaboration continued amid the COVID-19 crisis and the teams increased their efforts to ensure that the Grade 2 materials for the next school year would be ready and dispatched as soon as the lockdown has been lifted. Today the first convoy of trucks loaded with boxes of teaching and learning resources for schools is departing the central warehouse.
It was a real challenge for the procurement and logistics teams to be ready in time under the current COVID-19 imposed movement restrictions. Prevention measures were put in place very early on and followed very diligently by all suppliers. The packing of 683,645 decodable readers, 159,205 storybooks and 18,730 busy pictures into 9,365 teacher resource boxes was fast-tracked to be completed just before the lockdown. A virtual monitoring system was developed to be able to approve the production of 756,000 Grade 2 textbooks remotely. In order to reduce plastic waste, all textbooks are wrapped in waterproof 90gsm kraft paper instead of shrink wrapping in plastic. Moreover, this brown kraft paper can be re-used by the students to cover the books for protection against dirt and water.
Each Grade 2 student will receive a full set of textbooks for Lao Language, Sciences and Environment, and Morals subjects. The new textbooks are colorful and very visual to increase students’ attention and memory retention. Each primary school will receive at least one Teacher Resource Box, depending on Grade 2 enrollment numbers in each school. Each Teacher Resource Box contains a set of 17 age appropriate storybooks, 72 decodable readers and 2 busy pictures. The storybooks and decodable readers are essential materials to help children improve their Lao Language proficiency. Teachers will read the storybooks to the children. The decodable readers contain simple stories that will help children learning to read independently. The busy pictures show common activities in rural and urban settings that teachers can use to develop cognitive and critical thinking skills, and comprehension.
Today’s departure of trucks loaded with new Grade 2 learning materials is an encouraging sign after weeks of national lockdown due to the COVID-19 crisis. This great accomplishment will allow Grade 2 children to start next school year with a new curriculum and new teaching and learning materials. And ultimately it will help more children, especially girls and those from disadvantaged groups to improve their learning outcomes.