The Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) today officially launched the country’s first national digital teaching and learning platform Khang Panya Lao, which has been developed with the support of UNICEF and in collaboration with the European Union (EU) and the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).
The platform has been developed to facilitate distance learning for students and teachers to ensure the continuity of learning during the COVID-19 pandemic and other emergencies. It is also designed as a supplementary teaching resource for use in face-to-face classes. The platform can be accessed online either via the web or as an app for Android devices, which enable users to access content without internet connection.
The virtual launch event was chaired by Minister of Education and Sports Phouth Simmalavong. In attendance were also European Union Ambassador to the Lao PDR Ina Marciulionyte, UNICEF Representative in Lao PDR Pia Rebello Britto, Global Director of Education for UNICEF Rob Jenkins, Regional General Manager of Education for Microsoft Asia Larry Nelson, as well as representatives from provincial education offices and development partners.
“I would like to thank the EU, GPE and UNICEF for their support in developing Khang Panya Lao. With a wide selection of teaching and learning materials, the platform will be an invaluable resource for both students and teachers,” said Minister Phouth Simmalavong.
Khang Panya Lao includes digitalized official curriculum textbooks for Grades 1-12 and pre-primary curriculum materials, as well as resources on COVID-19 and online safety practices. It also contains various other learning materials developed by partners, including Aide et Action, Australia-DFAT and BEQUAL, ChildFund, Humanity & Inclusion, JICA, Room to Read, Save the Children, UNESCO, UNFPA, USAID, WFP and the World Bank.
In addition, Khang Panya Lao contains international learning resources on topics such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics, which are available in both Lao and English languages. New content is continuously being added, with the platform now having over 23 different learning categories and over 4,400 different lessons.
“The EU, alongside our partners, is proud to support MoES and its digital teaching and learning platform, Khang Panya Lao. Although the platform has been developed in part to facilitate distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, we hope that it will also prove useful beyond, during other emergencies, helping students to continue their learning which is of vital importance,” stated Ms. Ina Marciulionyte.
“Children’s education has been disrupted on an unprecedented scale by the pandemic and the Lao PDR is no exception. The introduction of Khang Panya Lao marks an important milestone in safeguarding children’s education during this challenging time. We are delighted that students, teachers as well parents and caregivers have now access to this great tool full of resources,” highlighted Alice P. Albright, Chief Executive Officer of GPE
Khang Panya Lao also contains curriculum-based teaching materials and resources to promote the professional development of teachers, ranging from teacher guides to online courses. Trainings for teachers on how to use the platform for blended learning and in-classroom teaching have already been conducted in Vientiane as well as in Vientiane (province) and Xieng Khuang, with more upcoming trainings in other provinces. Furthermore, UNICEF, GPE and the EU will support MoES with provision of tablets and other IT equipment to schools in the Lao PDR.
“Khang Panya Lao represents our efforts to leverage the COVID-19 recovery process and transform the education system adapting it to the new-normal and actually going beyond – to rebound and reimagine how education can work for children. It will help expand learning for Lao students beyond the walls of the classroom and promote digital literacy among Lao students and teachers,” said Dr. Pia Rebello Britto.
Khang Panya Lao is modeled after the Learning Passport, an education platform created by UNICEF and powered by Microsoft. Khang Panya Lao can also be paired with other internet-based programmes that allow for real-time connection and interaction, such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom among others.
“We are proud to have been contribute the platform that enables blended learning and can help students and teachers work together online and offline whether on a PC, tablet or phone. Adjusting to this transition despite the COVID-19 pandemic is a testament to the commitment, resilience and energy of teachers in the country and wanting to meet the needs of their students whether in or out school,” explained Larry Nelson, Regional General Manager of Education for Microsoft Asia.
The platform has been tested for use in the LaoPDR since late April 2021 and have so far over 30,000 registered users, with one user possibly having 2-3 children accessing the platform.
Source: Lao News Agency