The theme for International Women’s Day this year is “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”. H.E Dr Sisouk Vongvichit, Vice Minister for Education and Sports and H.E. Mr. Paul Kelly, Ambassador of the Australian Embassy opened a new training session for on 3 March 2023 . The objective of the training was to explore how to promote gender equity and women’s empowerment in the digital and video productions of the Ministry’s E-learning, and Information and Media Center teams.
H.E. Dr Sisouk said “The Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) and the Government of Australia have a strong partnership supporting the education sector, including the production of a wide range of digital, video and media materials. The materials have been developed by the E-Learning, and the Information and Media Center (IMC) teams within the Research Institute of Educational Sciences (RIES). It is important to ensure that the producers of digital and media resources also have the knowledge and skills to promote gender equality and avoid gender stereotypes in the content and imagery they create.”
The Australian Government through the Basic Education and Quality and Access in Lao PDR (BEQUAL) program, provides technical and financial support to produce teacher development videos for the E-Learning team of RIES. The videos aim to support teachers and trainers implement the new curriculum’s pedagogy, provide ways to solve teaching challenges and encourage student participation. The videos are disseminated on ESTV, tablets for target districts, USB to teachers, the Khang Panya Lao platform and the “ວິດີໂອສໍາລັບການພັດທະນາຄູ Teacher Development Videos” You tube Channel. The videos have achieved nearly 2.6 million views on YouTube alone since the channel was launched in 2019. 22 teacher development videos are already available covering a range of topics. Some videos are on specific teaching techniques from the new curriculum such as Lao Language Grade 1 and 2 techniques. Other videos develop more overarching teaching skills such as classroom management and inclusive teaching and learning practices.
The Australian Government also supports IMC with the “Role Models” docuseries. These docuseries aim to motivate and inspire teachers and educational staff to replicate good teaching and inclusive education practices in the classroom. The docuseries episodes are disseminated via interviews on ESTV, radio, newspaper and social media.
H.E. Mr. Paul Kelly, Ambassador, Australian Embassy said, “Videos and digital resources can play a vital role in ensuring equitable access to information for students and teachers. Digital resources can also promote the concept of ‘no one left behind’. Therefore, one aspect of Australia’s support to teacher professional development in Lao PDR is equipment and training to create and produce digital learning resources for teachers. In BEQUAL Phase 2, Australia will focus on ensuring gender and disability inclusive education approaches. I heard there are already many discussions on how to avoid gender, disability and ethnicity stereotypes and promote inclusion within the teams at each stage of the production, especially script writing and casting. I am pleased to see that all the videos are dubbed in sign language.I want to congratulate the E-Learning and the IMC teams for their efforts. I hope that with the training today, the teams will deepen their understanding of the role of the media and digital production in building a more progressive and inclusive society.”
Following the opening H.E. Mr. Paul Kelly handed over filming and sound equipment (camera, Pro stabilizer, projector and microphones) as well as editing equipment (5 computers, extra-large monitor, editing software, printer) with a total value of LAK 476,000,000 (AUD 40,400).
Dr Onekeo Nuannavong, Director General of RIES said “On behalf of the Ministry of Education, I would like to thank Australia for their ongoing support to the education sector in Laos. The equipment will be used by RIES E-learning teams to produce more teacher development videos to support the changes in the new primary teaching and learning practices, and advocate for gender equality. With video and digital production, we can promote progressive gender and inclusive education and make a difference for the most disadvantaged children.”
The training was very interactive with many hands-on activities. The participants enjoyed the drawing session to understand gender biases and stereotypes. They also used Kahoot, a game-based learning platform that became very popular during COVID-19, to test their understanding of the difference between gender and sex. During the final session, the trainees reviewed and reflected on their practice and discussed how they could avoid stereotypes and apply the new knowledge into their future productions.
The programs produced by RIES, with support from the Australian Government, can be watched every day on Education and Sports TV on Lao Sat Channel 8 and are also accessible on the “ວິດີໂອສໍາລັບການພັດທະນາຄູ Teacher Development Videos” You tube Channel.