Early Education is the Game Changer in the Lives of Children

With financial support from Plan International Japan, Plan International Laos, and the Ministry of Education and Sports agreed to improve early education for children in Houn District, Oudomxay Province.

A memorandum of understanding concerning the Pre-primary school Education Improvement Project in Houn District was signed on Nov 8, between Mr. Somsack Souphilay, the Director General of the Oudomxay Provincial Education and Sports Services and Ms. Carol Mortensen, the Country Director of Plan International Laos.

Within the project lifespan, Plan International Laos is going to provide four new pre-primary schools with toilets and disabled access, equipped with furniture and learning materials such as blackboards, teacher desks and chairs, student tables and chairs, and bookshelf – based on the Ministry of Education and Sports standard – toys, storybook, supplies and outdoor equipment like metal swings, and sliders.

In addition, the project aims to work with Houn District Education and Sports Bureau to strengthen the capacity of teachers and school principals on child-centered Lao language teaching approaches, gender equality, positive discipline, school management, and COVID-19 prevention for 11 pre-primary schools.

This project replicated the achievement of the previous project, which Plan International Laos and its partners implemented in different target villages of Houn District. Let’s hear some voices from the project participants in Mokhang, one of the previous project target villages, Houn District.

“Insufficient condition of the school building, lack of unattractive teaching and learning materials did not motivate and encourage children to attend the class,” shared Ms. Chompaeng, a 30-year-old teacher. “Making toys and teaching materials myself was challenging because I did not have any chances to participate a training.”

The teacher shared that a change happened after receiving support from Plan International Laos, a school building, teaching and learning materials, and training, for instance. “It is convenient to deliver messages to the children by using adequate learning materials and activities.” She also shared that the parents also obtained parenting training.

“The new preprimary school building is beautiful, and I am so happy to learn in this school. There are interesting and colourful toys and books that my friends and I can share,” said Saengdeuan, a 5-year-old schoolgirl. She mentioned that she didn’t miss any lessons because of the beautiful school and fun activities.

The project is aligned with the government priorities and contributes to effective education development to meet the prerequisites and improve learning outcomes. Outcomes for children will encourage them to be better prepared to enter primary school, increase their chances of success, enable them to continue learning, and reduce the dropout rate.

“Education, including Early Childhood Education, is a priority for the Government of Lao PDR; However, access to Early Childhood Education remains a challenge for many rural and remote areas, especially for the other three non-Lao-Tai groups,” said Ms. Carol Mortensen, the Country Director of Plan International Laos.

“The quality of early childhood education services remains low and directly translates into a limited improvement in learning outcomes, disparities in child development outcomes, and the long-term implications for the country’s future development,” said she

“Girls and boys from ethnic minorities who do not speak 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. Thus, early education is the game changer in the lives of children,” she added.


Source: Lao News Agency

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