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Laos Endorses Statement of Commitment to Education Ahead of Global Summit

The Government of the Lao PDR has agreed to endorse in principle the National Statement of Commitment to Transforming Education in the Lao PDR, which will help strengthen national efforts to improve education quality, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision was reached at a national consultation event held on Aug 2, which was co-chaired by Minister of Education and Sports Phouth Simmalavong, and UN Resident Coordinator a.i. Jan Delbaere. The Government of the Lao PDR was also represented by Vice Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office Somkiet Phasi, Vice President of Planning, Finance and Audit Committee, National Assembly, Bounta Thepphavong, and Director General of the Department of International Organisations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Daovy Vongsay alongside officials from key coordinating UN agencies, UNICEF Representative to the Lao PDR Pia Rebello Britto, and UNESCO Bangkok Programme Specialist Nyi Nyi Thaung.

Around 70 participants from the Ministry of Education and Sports and line ministries, NGOs, CSOs and development partners also participated in this important meeting.

The event was held in preparation for Laos’ participation in the global Transforming Education Summit in New York, USA, this September, during which the statement will be presented by the Lao PDR government.

The Summit, convened by the UN Secretary General as part of the General Assembly, will link the Government of the Lao PDR’s priorities on education to the ongoing global efforts to mobilise action to transform education between now and 2030, and contribute to the achievement of SDG 4 on quality education.

“The National Statement of Commitment to Action is the culmination of all our previous efforts and will help rally national efforts to improve education for our children and address learning losses from the school closures triggered by COVID-19.

It is also in line with the Lao Education and Sports Strategic Development Plan and SDG4,” explained Mr. Simmalavong. He thanked international partners for their continued support on addressing COVID-19’s impact on children and young people’s learning in the Lao PDR.

The statement of commitment highlights the Government of the Lao PDR’s focused action around four key themes: learning recovery from COVID-19; reimagining education; strengthening public financing of education; and raising national education targets and benchmarks.

This event and statement build on the results and reflections from the national consultation on education held in May 2022 by the Ministry of Education and Sports.

The consultation gathered insights from a wide range of stakeholders, including participants from various line Ministries, the National Assembly, development partners and representatives from teachers and students to identify policy actions linked to the aforementioned themes. The Lao PDR was among the first countries to organize national consultations for the Transforming Education Summit with the 31 May event organized under the Education Sector Working Group mechanism. This event was chaired by MoES and co-chaired by the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office and UNICEF.

Results from the consultation further helped inform the Lao PDR’s participation in the Asia-Pacific Regional Education Minister’s Conference (APREMC-II) and the Transforming Education pre-summit in Paris organised in June 2022.

“The toll of COVID-19 extends far beyond health, and the situation is particularly critical for our teachers and students,” said Mr. Delbaere. “Transforming education will require important decisions and this will be possible through concrete policies and actions to rapidly increase revenues, expand budget allocations to priority sectors and improve allocative efficiency,” he explained.

“I would like to congratulate the Lao PDR for having undertaken in-depth reflections and a consultative process on what and how to transform education in their context and for their commitment to taking very concrete action in transforming education,” said Mr. Thaung.

“I would like to express my sincerest appreciation to the Ministry of Education and Sports for their leadership of this consultation and appreciation to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for their commitment to education in the Lao PDR and engagement in this important event,”stated Dr. Rebello Britto. “The statement highlights working together to keep pace with the changing world around us, ensuring we are providing relevant 21st century education and learning opportunities that all children deserve and all require to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives as adults.”

Source: Lao News Agency