All Lao Children Learn and Love to Read: Linking Families, Communities and Schools for Children’s Learning
December 18, 2017 - Save the Children International in Lao PDR, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Sports organized a conference on early grade reading with the theme “All Lao Children Learn and Love to Read: Linking Families, Communities and Schools for Children’s Learning”. The conference shared the results of Save the Children’s Literacy Boost Pilot Project that aimed to improve the reading skills of primary school children.
The 18 month Literacy Boost Pilot Project in Bolikhamxay allowed a shift in the education policy focus from only promoting ‘access to education’ to also ensuring ‘quality of learning outcomes’. Children’s literacy, or their ability to read with comprehension, is critical for further learning in school and in life. The Pilot Projectworked on addressing the literacy gap for approximately 1,600 early grade primary school students (Grades 1-3) in 20 schools in in the province. The focus on Grade 2 for impact assessment allowed Save the Children to develop an intervention adapted to the Lao context and to track progress of the participating pupils. The project was funded by Save the Children Korea.
Provincial education officials from Bolikhamxay, as well from Luang Prabang Province where the same model was launched in selected districts, shared the lessons they learnt from giving attention to developing reading skills among their young school children.
The Literacy Boost approach uses participatory methodologies to promote core reading skills among children involving schools, families and communities. Conference participants discussed ways to move forward to further develop, sustain and scale up the initiative.
Ms. Siphaphone Manivanh, Deputy Director of Department of Pre-School and Primary Education, Ministry of Education and Sports, remarked, “I want to thank the team involved in implementing the project since the beginning until to the end.” Ms. Deborah Leaver, Country Director of Save the Children added, “Childrenwho can progress toward reading proficiency in early grade can decode textbook and understand content and knowledge of all subjects. And will increase the competitive of Lao nation within ASEAN economy.”
Representatives from the Ministry of Education and Sports from the national, provincial and district level, development partners, international and national NGOs, education experts and researchers, and children book publishers attended the conference.