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Plan International, MoES scale up intervention in education for all children in Bokeo

(KPL) The Plan International Switzerland and Plan International Germany through Plan International Laos, the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) approved improving education access for children and adolescents in Tonpheung and Huayxay districts.

Represented by Vice Director General of the Bokeo Provincial Education and Sport Departments (PESD), Mr Soulintha Nalin and Country Director of Plan International Laos, Ms Carol Mortensen, signed a phase II of the Memorandum of Understanding concerning the project of Improving Education Access for All Children in Huayxay and Tonpheung Districts in Bokeo Province.

This project aims to work with children, parents, school teachers and principals, community leaders, and education partners to prepare school readiness for young ethnic girls and boys before they commence their primary school with an effective tool and mechanism, for example, the summer pre-primary course or 10-week course which will happen 10 weeks before school opens in September.

Ms Chanphone Phanpadith, a Pre-primary School Teacher, highlighted that “Schoolgirls and boys improved their skills of language and socialisation after joining the 10-week course. The course has transformed their behaviours from being silent, isolated and unconfident to dynamic, active and motivated. They were confident to question and answer their teachers – proactive to share ideas – play with their friends openly and happily,” Ms Phanpadith joined the 10-week course as a teacher in Pha Oudom District.

The 10-week course will be implemented in 20 target villages and also targets to strengthen the capacity of grade-one school teachers and village volunteers to run the activity. Moreover, the project will enhance parents in the target villages on fundamental rights and gender equality to ensure they continue to support their children’s schooling.

The Improving Education Access for All Children Project will work to improve hygiene practices at 20 primary schools in the same target villages. Each primary school will receive a hand-washing station construction, and teachers will be trained to conduct hygiene promotion activities at their schools.

Plan International and its partners will implement the student club activities at 22 secondary schools and ensure all adolescent girls will get to improve their sexual reproductive health and rights and life skills throughout the project lifespan.

Ms Carol Mortensen, Country Director of Plan International Laos, says, “We, Plan International Laos, are happy to contribute to the priories of MoES, especially the Comprehensive Sexuality Education to reduce dropout rates among secondary schoolgirls on account of child marriage and adolescent pregnancy, and the critical importance of Early Childhood Education for improved educational outcomes and a higher transition rate into a primary school in its Education and Sports Sector Development Plan 2021-2025.

It also contributes to the 9th National Socio-Economic Development Plan has identified education as a critical priority to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and escape from the status of least developed countries in 2024.”

Education, including Early Childhood Education (ECE), is a priority for the Government of the Lao PDR; However, access to ECE remains a challenge for many rural and remote areas, especially for non-Lao-Tai groups. Girls and boys who are ethnic people and speak non-Lao at home are disproportionately disadvantaged, especially since Lao is the official language of instruction in primary schools and non-Lao speaking students have a limited understanding of the language.

The quality of ECE Departments needs to improve, which directly translates into a slight improvement in learning outcomes, disparities in child development outcomes and the long-term implications for the country’s future development.

Source: Lao News Agency