Laos discusses education recovery from Covid-19 in preparation for UN’s summit

The Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) and UNICEF led a national consultation on the future of education in the Lao PDR in the run-up to the United Nation’s global Transforming Education Summit (TES) to be held in September 2022.

The UN has requested countries to hold inclusive, multi-sectoral consultations to come-up with a national commitment for action to support the Education sector’s recovery from the pandemic and transformation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 4 on quality education.

The national consultation for TES was held via the Education Sector Working Group (ESWG) virtually and in-person with the attendance of Vice Minister of Education and Sports Sisouk Vongvichit, who was joined by UN Resident Coordinator in the Lao PDR Ms. Sara Sekkenes, and UNICEF Representative a.i. to the Lao PDR Ms. Beate Dastel.

“Quality education is an inseparable part of economic and social prosperity and human capital development. This consultation is timely as we also need to have a national reflection on how all stakeholders can work together to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on education and make our education system fit for 21st century learning. We are happy to be one of the first countries to hold a consultation. I believe today’s discussions will help pioneer quality education services and better learning results for all children and young people in the Lao PDR,” Dr. Sisouk Vongvichit.

“Education as we know it today is in turmoil. This is why the Summit is being convened at the UN to develop a shared vision and commitment at the highest level to transforming education,” said UN Resident Coordinator in the Lao PDR, Ms. Sara Sekkenes. “We simply cannot allow this generation of students to experience catastrophic losses in learning and well-being. Now is the time to shift from crisis to recovery; from conventional to transformational. I congratulate the Government of the Lao PDR for organizing this first national consultation for TES. The United Nations alongside our partners is committed to support further national consultations in the run-up to the Summit,” she added.

During the consultation, participants were briefed by UNICEF and UNESCO on the upcoming Transforming Education Summit and introduced to four components for discussion: recovery from COVID-19’s impact on education; reimagining education for the 21st century; sustainable financing of education; and raising the ambition of national education targets.

Participants from various line Ministries, the National Assembly, development partners as well as representatives from teachers and students identified policy actions linked to these four components. The recommendations will be reflected in the Lao PDR National Statement of Action to be presented at the Summit in September.

“Ideas shared today will not only mobilize ambition and ignite action to reshape learning in the Lao PDR. Our contributions will also inform global discussions and global commitments to transforming education for all children and young people,” stated UNICEF Representative a.i. to the Lao PDR, Ms. Beate Dastel.

“The impact of COVID-19 has undeniably been devastating for children and young people’s education and futures, and we see the heavy cost of inaction. It is our collective responsibility to embrace the opportunity this crisis presents and craft a new and ambitious vision to transform education,” she added.

The outcomes of the consultation will also inform the Lao PDR’s participation in the Asia-Pacific Regional Education Ministers’ Conference from Jun 5-7 organized by UNESCO and UNICEF. Further high-level national consultations may be undertaken to inform the Pre-Summit meeting in Paris from Jun 28-30, and the final Lao PDR national commitment to action to be presented at the Summit in September 2022 during the 77th UN General Assembly.

Source: Lao News Agency