The Australian Government and UNICEF have provided 100,606 re-printed textbooks and teacher guides to 581 flood-affected schools in the Lao PDR.
The Australian Ambassador to the Lao PDR Jean-Bernard Carrasco and UNICEF Representative Octavian Bivol officially handed the textbooks and teacher guides over to Vice Minister of Education and Sports Khantahly Siriphongphanh.
The textbooks, which cover mathematics, science and Lao language, are expected to reach up to 22,250 students and 1,700 teachers at pre-primary, primary and lower secondary schools in six provinces.
The provision of essential educational materials is part of the Australian Government’s AUD 250,000 (about 1.5 billion KIP) support to the government of the Lao PDR to assist in addressing the impacts of flooding in the country. In September 2019, severe flooding hit the provinces of Attapeu, Champassak, Khammuan, Saravan, Savannakhet and Xekong provinces.
To support recovery efforts, the Australian government’s funding was granted to UNICEF to focus on education and nutrition.
According to the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, about 765,000 people in 44 districts across these provinces were affected last year, with almost 195,000 displaced.
The floods damaged properties, farmlands and infrastructure including homes, schools, hospitals and health centres. According to a rapid assessment, 747 schools were affected by the floods, one third of which were in Savannakhet Province.
Australia is proud to have contributed to the Ministry of Education and Sports’ recovery efforts to the flooding last year. These teaching and learning materials are essential to ensure continuity of the learning of the students in the affected schools. To ensure quality education, more budget allocation to the education sector is required to ensure schools have sufficient teaching and learning materials and teacher support, said Ambassador Carrasco.
This partnership with UNICEF builds on a previous humanitarian partnership to the 2018 Attapeu dam collapse which also focused on education and nutrition.
We welcome this grant from the Australian government, thanks to which, UNICEF is able to support up to 22,250 children in the Lao PDR to continue learning, despite the damaging impact of the September 2019 floods, said UNICEF Representative Octavian Bivol.
In addition to support to schools, funding from the Australian Government is also being used to support health screening and treatment of children in health centres, and district and provincial hospitals, paying special attention to the most affected districts.
UNICEF is continuing to support the Ministry of Education and Sports in the area of emergency preparedness and disaster risk reduction within the education sector, to help mitigate the impact of reoccurring floods, given that the Lao PDR is particularly prone to the impacts of climate change.
The support from Australia contributes to UNICEF’s regular programming on education; health and nutrition; water, sanitation and hygiene and child protection and will contribute to strengthen emergency preparedness.
Source: Lao News Agency