Since 2015, the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) has been developing a new primary curriculum along with new teaching and learning materials for students and teachers. The implementation of the new curriculum started this September with Grade 1 and implementation will be progressive with one new grade per year.
From 16th to 18th October, the Committee for Approval of Curriculum and Instructional Materials (CACIM) chaired by Associate Professor Dr. Phout Simmalavong, Vice Minister for Education and Sports, is meeting to review and consider for approval the new Grade 2 textbooks and teacher guides that will be distributed to all primary schools in Lao PDR for the new 2020/2021 school-year.
Prof. Dr. Phout said that “in order for children to get the best out of the learning process, curriculums should be updated in line with changing circumstances and bearing in mind Laos’ ethnic diversity and the diversity of the region”. He thanks donors for the improvements they had made to the Grade 1 and Grade 2 curriculums and hoped they would continue their support in the future.
The new teaching and learning materials were tested in pilot schools around the country and improved with feedback from the trials and teacher consultations before being presented this week to CACIM. During three intensive days, each subject team leader from the curriculum writers team of the Research Institute for Educational Sciences (RIES) will present its subject to the Committee and respond to questions from the CACIM committee members.
The new primary curriculum is carefully designed to promote progression in student learning in key topics within each subject from one grade to the next. The new teaching and learning resources are also designed to promote active learning so students are required to process, practice and apply new learning. The new Grade 2 materials are carefully aligned with the Grade 1 materials and they build upon and extend content and topics covered in Grade 1.
The Australian Embassy, with additional funding from the European Union and the United States Government, supports the MoES in the development and the implementation of the new primary curriculum and supporting learning materials through the BEQUAL program.
“Australia is very pleased to be partnering with the Research Institute for Educational Sciences and Ministry of Education and Sports to support the development of the new curriculum” said Ms Jane Chandler, Deputy Head of Mission, Australian Embassy, at the opening ceremony of the CACIM meeting. “I believe we are all exciting to see that another grade of new materials will be rolling out to all Lao children. The new primary curriculum responds to rapid changes in the 21st century and will improve learning outcomes for Lao students to be able to compete in the ASEAN region.”
Every Grade 2 student will receive a set of new improved textbooks for Lao Language, Sciences and Environment and Morals.
In addition, every Grade 2 classroom will receive a resource pack which includes busy picture posters, a set of age appropriate storybooks to support Lao literacy lessons and sets of graded reading books to provide young readers with practice in the skills they are developing. The textbook content, the resources and the activities have been carefully designed by the curriculum writers to ensure that they are suitable and inclusive of all children.
Following CACIM approval, the printing and the distribution of these materials to every primary school of the country will be one of the main tasks for MoES. As with the introduction of Grade 1, Grade 2 teachers and Pedagogical Advisors across the country will receive training and support to introduce the new curriculum and familiarise users with the new materials.
In September 2020, all grade 2 primary students will start the school year with the new improved curriculum and new educational materials.