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									           JFIT Project:

Strengthening Teacher Education to
           Achieve EFA

  Review of Pre-Service Teacher
                   Lao PDR
                By Yangxia LEE
   Director of CEWED/Lead Research, MOE
The objective of the study is to:

• Review policies related to teachers’ education and gender
  equality, inclusive education, multilingual education and
  human rights education;

• Review teachers’ training curricula, materials, pedagogy
  and methodology to assess the gender-responsiveness,
  inclusiveness, integration of human rights education,
  multilingual education and flexibility to meet diverse needs
  of learners; and

• Identify key capacity gaps and constraints
To understand the role and function of basic
education in Lao PDR, it is necessary to
• Recent historical development;
• Demographic composition; and
• Geographical location.
    Recent historical development
• Replacing earlier Kingdoms, Lao PDR became a French colony in
  1893 which continued until the advent of World War II.
• Following the end of WW II, the colonial power returned while at
  the same time, a Lao Government was formed by President Kaisôn,
  initially in-exile in 1949, and then in the northern part of the
  country in the early 1950’s.
• The struggle for Lao independence was inter-twined with the Indo-
  China war which lasted until 1975.
• During this struggle for independence some ethnic groups sided
  with the foreign-supported Royalist government.

As a result, the process of nation-building under the People’s
Democratic Republic of Lao to unify all ethnic groups into one
country began post-1975, only over the last 34 years.
Demographic composition
        According to the 2005 Population Census,
        the 5.6 million people of Lao PDR are
        distributed among 49 different ethnic
        groups. The major population groups are
        Lao (55%), Khmu (11%) and Hmong (8%).

        The map shows the distribution of ethnic
        groups across the country. Lao ethnic
        people live mostly on the low-lands and
        adjacent to the Mekong River with other
        ethnic groups living in mountainous
        Nation-building means integrating many ethnic
        cultures, traditions and belief systems
Geographical location
     Lao PDR has often been described as a “land-locked

     However, globalisation has led to new opportunities
     and Lao PDR is now conceptualised as a “land –
     linked county”, with Thailand needing land access to
     Vietnam and China.

     This situation has opened many opportunities for
     trade, not just for enterprises but for local poor and
     ethnic villages located along the main linking roads.

     Education must support poor ethnic villages to take
     advantage of these new economic opportunities and at
     the same time prevent potential social problems.
 Contextual Implications for Teacher
Education clearly has an important role in
establishing cultural identity and nation-

There is an established link between language
and cultural identity.

Education and teacher training in Lao PDR play
key roles.
        Education Policy Review
The Education Law of 2007 gives expression to a
provision in the Constitution that
• "Lao citizens have the right to receive

• It also provides to create opportunities and
  favorable conditions in education for all people
  throughout the country, especially people in
  remote areas, ethnic groups, women and
  disadvantaged children.
  Education Policy Review (cont.)
The Children's Law states that:
• "All children are equal in all aspects without
  discrimination of any kind, in respect of sex, race,
  ethnic group, language, belief, religion, physical state
  and socio-economic status of their family".
• It expresses a responsibility of the State to create
  "child-friendly schools that are popular for children and
  attract them to learning".
• It contains provisions concerning the education of
  children with talent, disadvantaged children, children
  with disabilities, and children with HIV/AIDS (with
  disclosure of their HIV/AIDS status being forbidden)
  Education Policy Review (cont.)
The Women's Law states that conditions should
  be created to enable women to complete at
  least a primary education, and to receive
  professional training, to acquire skills and
  experience, and to have employment
  discipline so that women can have the same
  employment opportunities in society as
     Education Policy Review (cont.)
• The National Socio-Economic Development Plan
  identifies the accomplishment of the Education for All
  goals as being a key plank of the Government's
  education sector strategy.
• Lao PDR acceded to the Convention on the Rights of
  the Child in 1991, including the right to education, and
  the need to make primary education compulsory and
  available free to all.
• Lao PDR is also a party to the International Convention
  on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
  Discrimination (since 1974), and to the Convention on
  the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against
  Women (since 1981)
     Education Policy Review (cont.)
The Education Sector Development Framework outlines the
major policy objectives for the sector until 2015:
•A priority for educational services in the 47 poorest districts.
•Introduction of Schools of Quality as the minimum standard,
based on a Human Rights Approach, including right of survival
and safety, right for protection, right to participate and right for
•Gender equity targets at all levels, although there is no specific
identifiable gender equity strategy.
•Reduction of costs barriers to basic education.
•An inclusive focus to ensure services provided for out-of-school
children due to remoteness, disability, poverty, etc.
•Curricula, materials and pedagogy to be gender responsive and
mainstream gender into the education system.
       Implications of policy analysis
• Provision of educational services in Lao PDR is for all
  people, regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, poverty or
  geographical location,
• Part IV (article 33) of the Education law states that Lao
  language and Lao characters are to be the (only) official
  language and characters to be used in all learning

Teaching Lao language is a means for nation-building, unifying
all citizens as being Lao. It is also the common trading
language and the communication needed for the poor to
enter the mainstream economy.
    Center for Promotion of Education for
      Women-Ethnic-Disabled People
This Center* was established in April 2008 to promote and advocate for
educational opportunities for women, disadvantaged groups, ethnic groups and
disabled people.

It is developing a sector-wide policy for inclusive education.

There is also a Gender and Ethnic Groups Development Plan.

The Director of the CEWED reports directly to a Vice-Minister of Education.

*Currently called the Centre for Promotion of Education for Women-Ethnic-
Disabled People (CEWED) which is replaced the former Gender and Ethnic
Minority Education Unit (GEMEU), and it is being proposed to name “Inclusive
Education Center”
Methodology for review of curriculum, learning
 materials and pedagogy for teacher training
                                                                                                              Three research teams collected data during
    LuangNamtha                                                                                               field trips to three (of eight) teacher training
                                                                                                              institutions . Luangnamtha and Saravan
                                                                                                              serve predominantly smaller population
                                             Xiang Khouang                                                    ethnic groups while Vientiane province is
                                          Saysomboun                                                          mostly Lao ethnicity.
                           Vientiane P.

                                  Vientiane M.
                                                                                                              Questionnaires and a structured interview
                                                                                                              were used to collect data. Curricula and
Provincial Capital                                                                                            learning materials were examined and
Primary Teacher Training School

Teacher Training College
                                                                                                              interviews with pedagogical staff were


                                                                                                              Prior training was provided and a practice
                                                                                                              data collection exercise was conducted at a
                                                                                                              teacher training institute in the national
 Analysis of teacher training curricula
• No material on students with physical or mental
• Very little material on ethnic diversity;
• Gender is mentioned a few times but at TTC’s that
  have received training from the GEMEU/CEWED
  these lecturers are able to expand the curriculum
• Human Rights is not specifically included as a
  separate element of the curriculum, but its principles
  underpin the whole curriculum;
• The Education Law regulates that only Lao language
  is to be used.
Illustrations from revised TTC Curricula-Principle of Teaching
           Primary Education: 8+3 and 11+2 systems
                 Topic 13: Gender in Classroom

 Groups work consists of girls, boys and Hmong & Khmu ethnic students.
             Illustrations from revised TTC Curricula-Principle of Teaching
                        Primary Education: 8+3 and 11+2 systems

Topic 4: Teaching Activities:
“Students are playing rope jumping”
                                              Topic 5: Child Centered “Students are cleaning”
      Analysis of Learning Materials
• Concepts related to inclusive education are not
  included in current learning materials;
• There are no specific materials or resources in the
  library that relate to concepts of Human Rights
• There are very few mainstream materials that
  promote gender equity; although
• Two TTCs that were involved in a previous
  ADB/AusAID funded project do have some materials
  and the third TTC had some materials linked to the
  gender training provided by GEMEU/CEWED.
 Analysis of Learning Materials (cont.)
• The BEGP/LABEP project (2000 – 2007) focussed on
  education for ethnic groups and women;
• For example, 480 ethnic people, mostly female, from
  remote villages were recruited, trained and
• To support this, special materials in the form of 21
  supplementary books were produced for teachers
  and teacher-training institutions. These materials
  have illustrations and content that specifically
  address issues of ethnic diversity and gender equity.
      Analysis of Learning Materials (cont.)
• MOE has started to revise learning materials to be
  more responsive to the need to be more inclusive
  and to more explicitly reflect a Human Rights
  approach to education and specifically to teacher
• This revision process has begun with primary
  education textbooks. Existing textbooks (for both
  schools and teacher-training) reflect a mono-cultural
  and male-bias approach.
• Two examples of revised illustrations are here:
 Illustrations from revised textbooks

Grade 1: Moral Education – playing together
Illustrations from revised textbooks (cont)

Grade 1: Moral Education – helping older people
   Analysis of Pedagogical Approach
• Lecturers try to expand the curriculum. For example, at
  Luangnamtha TTC, ethnic lecturers and students wear
  traditional clothing every Tuesday and ethnic students can
  write their own traditional poems and stories in literature
• Ethnic students are encouraged to write traditional ethnic
  stories to use in their teaching;
• Very limited understanding of IE in the broader sense. Only
  one TTC Director, who had attended a training workshop by
  the GEMEU understood IE concepts; and
• Disabilities is not addressed.
   Analysis of Pedagogical Approach (cont.)

Gender Equity
• Many lecturers were trained either by LABEP
  or the IEC (funded by UNESCO and ADB);
• They understand the concepts; and
• Incorporate these into their teaching
  approach; although newer staff have not
  received training.
 Staff of Teacher Training Institutions by
 Institution   Total: Female    Male female
LuangNamtha:        49     18      31     63%
     Bankeun:       94     30      64     68%
      Salavan:      77     40      37     48%
   Analysis of Pedagogical Approach (cont.)

Human Rights Education
• There is limited understanding of the concept
  of Human Rights Education;
• Many lecturers approach their work in a
  manner consistent with HRE; but
• Do not understand how this HRE conceptual
  framework underpins all of teacher training.
     Analysis of Pedagogical Approach (cont.)
Multi-Lingual Education
• The Education law of 2007 mandates the use of
  only Lao language and characters for education at
  all levels;
• In Luangnamtha TTC, there is no use of ethnic
  language to assist explanation even though only
  less than 3% of the province population is Lao
  ethnic group. (Ethnic students are Lao second
  language speakers);
• The proportion of ethnic lecturers is very small, 8%
  in Luangnamtha, 4% in Ban Kheun and 2% in
• More training on how to mainstream Human Rights,
  Gender Equity and Inclusive concepts into teacher
  training curriculum, materials and pedagogy;
• Need to integrate into the national curriculum more
  local content to facilitate linkages between education
  and real needs of various ethnic groups to improve
• More information outlining the ethnic diversity of Lao
  PDR is needed, not just geographical distribution but
  beliefs, traditions etc., shown clearly through text,
  photos and illustrations;
      Recommendations (cont.)
• To make training practical, more learning
  materials that reflect Inclusiveness, Gender
  Equity and Human Rights are required, both
  textbooks and library materials;
• Affirmative action policy to recruit more
  lecturers from local ethnic groups; and also
  more females
   Implications for Next 5-year Plan (cont.)

Broader Government of Lao PDR Priority/
  –   IE Policy development
  –   Research/survey
  –   Ethnic/local Teacher recruitment
  –   Teaching and Learning materials
  –   Teaching Aids
  –   Multigrade teaching

   Urgent implication: There is need to conduct a IE training
    workshop for SE Curricula Developers

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