Ms Meetou Leaxer, Ms Keo Laoly and Ms Boualy Keovilay, are three motivated and highly committed Akha teachers from Sing District, Luang Namtha Province. They are a new generation of women who have decided to take an active role in the promotion of education and who are role models in their communities. They are part of 350 bright youth from remote and rural villages who received a scholarship from the Basic Education Quality and Access in Lao PDR (BEQUAL) program led by the Ministry of Education and Sports, with the support of the Australian Government and the European Union to attend a Teacher Training College for three to four years to become teachers. Khou Meetou, Keo and Boualy graduated in June 2018 and June 2019 respectively; they are now qualified primary teachers back in their communities in some of the most educationally disadvantaged districts of Laos.
As part of this year’s International Women’s Day celebration with the theme “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights”, H.E. Mrs. Khanthaly Siriphongphanh, Deputy Minister of Education and Sports of Lao PDR and H.E. Jean-Bernard Carrasco, Australian Ambassador to Lao PDR invited these three inspirational women teachers to accompany them to the Ministry’s Km3 warehouse to pack the first batch of the new Grade 2 teaching and learning materials.
Since 2015, MoES with the support from Australia, the European Union, and USAID has been developing a new national primary curriculum along with new teaching and learning materials. The implementation of the new primary curriculum in classrooms began in September 2019 with Grade 1 and will end in 2023-2024 with Grade 5. To ensure teachers are aware of the new materials and know how to use them, a comprehensive in-service teacher training plan has been developed and is being implemented by MoES nation-wide with support from Australia and the European Union.
Before the start of the 2020-2021 school year, 159,205 storybooks, 683,645 decodable readers and 18,730 busy pictures will be packed into teacher resources boxes and delivered to every Grade 2 classroom before the start of the 2020-2021 schoolyear. In April, the new Grade 2 student textbooks for 3 subjects and teacher guides for 6 subjects will be delivered to the warehouse for packing. After packing, the curriculum materials will be delivered to 148 District Education and Sports Bureaus which will then organize the distribution to every school in the country.
In 2019, with funding from the Australian Government and European Union, a section of the Ministry’s warehouse was refurbished, providing an improved electrical system, new lightening, storage racks, work benches and a resealed and waterproof floor, for a budget of AUD 48,500. This renovation was done in preparation for the packing of the materials for the new primary curriculum.
Khou Meetou, Keo and Boualy shared with the Deputy Minister and the Ambassador their learning journey, their daily life as teachers, their challenges and how proud they are to accomplish their dream to support primary students in their remote communities. These young women teachers play a vital role in shaping the future of the next generation of primary students and the development of Lao PDR.