On 29th November the Director General of the Department of Teacher Education of Ministry of Education, Mr. Khet Phanlak, and the BEQUAL Team Leader, Ms. Rebecca McHugh, visited Savannakhet Teacher Training College (TTC) to officially open the BEQUAL Office located in the TTC. They met with the Director of the Savannakhet TTC, Mr. Latsamy Phaxaysy, and other key TTC personnel to thank Savannakhet TTC for agreeing to host the BEQUAL office for Phase 2 of the program and to discuss planning and collaboration for implementation. Representatives from the Savannakhet and Khammouane PESS were also part of the discussion and launch of the office.
Mr. Khet Phanlak said “The establishment of 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 Australian government is committed to supporting improvements in access and quality of teacher professional development in Laos. DTE will work in partnership with the BEQUAL program to ensure that this vision can be realized, and teachers can improve their classroom practices.”
Ms. Rebecca McHugh said “The Australian government, through the BEQUAL program, is focused on ensuring that primary teachers have an increased capacity to address student learning needs. BEQUAL is committed to working in partnership with DTE and our target TTCs to build the capacity of relevant staff to provide quality teacher professional development support and activities. Phase 2 of the program is focused on improving teaching quality and we are very pleased to be able to work directly with our target TTCs to support key improvements and initiatives in this area.”
The focus of BEQUAL Phase 2 is on improving the quality of primary teaching. The program goal for Phase 2 is “more girls and boys of primary school-age, particularly those experiencing disadvantage, improve learning outcomes” which also reaffirms BEQUAL’s ongoing focus on students experiencing disadvantage. Underpinning the program goal is a strong commitment to gender equality, disability and social inclusion.
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 Savannakhet TTC office is the first of these three offices to be ready for operation. The other two offices in Luang Namtha and Khan Khai TTCs will be ready and officially opened in January 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. Khet Phanlak said “We look forward to continuing our successful and fruitful partnership with the Australian government during Phase 2 of the program and working together to achieve improvements in the quality of primary teaching and learning in Lao PDR.”