Dr Sisouk Vongvichit and Ms. Vanessa Hegarty opened the Primary Teaching Standards Implementation workshop

The Primary Teaching Standards set a clear baseline of expectations for the professional development and conduct of primary teachers to support improved student learning

On 22nd February 2024, H.E. Dr. Sisouk Vongvichit, Vice Minister of Education and Sports and Ms. Vanessa Hegarty, First Secretary, Australian Embassy opened “the Primary Teaching Standards Implementation” workshop to explore opportunities to apply the standards across primary education to improve teaching quality. Directors and representatives from key departments of the Ministry of Education and Sports of Lao PDR (MoES), the eight Teacher Training Colleges (TTCs), and the Australian Embassy joined the discussions.

Dr Sisouk Vongvichit said “The Primary Teaching Standards are a key tool for quality assurance of the teacher education system and for ensuring effective and relevant continuing professional development for primary teachers. The Department of Teacher Education (DTE) is leading on the implementation of the Primary Teaching Standards for the purpose of Teacher Professional Development.”

Ms. Vanessa Hegarty added “Australia recognises the key role of teachers in shaping the future of the next generation. Teachers bring the curriculum to life for their students by building their skills to learn through doing, collaborating, communicating, and problem solving. Australia is committed to improving the teaching skills of primary teachers to achieve better learning outcomes for their students. We believe that effective implementation of the Primary Teaching Standards is vital for improving student learning outcomes.”

Internal Pedagogical Staff were trained to use the Primary Teaching Standards to support teachers

Teacher engaging students in a Sciences and environment activity

On In 2023, DTE with the support of the Australian Government and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the BEQUAL program, led a technical working group with representatives from across MoES to revise the Primary Teaching Standards. The objective was to align the standards with the revised primary curriculum and MoES’ new system for continuing professional development (CPD). The Primary Teaching Standards were approved by the Vice Minister Dr. Sisouk Vongvichit in November 2023. Australia supported the printing and distribution of the standards to central level departments, all eight TTCs, 18 Provincial Education and Sports Services, 148 District Education and Sports Bureaus , and teachers and principals nationwide.

In December 2023 and January 2024, 146 TTC technical staff and 1,044 internal pedagogical support staff were trained in how to use the Primary Teaching Standards to support teachers’ CPD. The long-term goal is that all primary teachers across Lao PDR regularly use the Primary Teaching Standards to reflect on their performance, identify their learning needs, and engage in corresponding CPD activities. Improved teacher quality will ultimately contribute to improved student engagement and learning outcomes.

During the implementation workshop, the participants identified four key areas in the primary education system that the Primary Teaching Standards could be integrated into. They are teacher CPD, training, assessment and accreditation of future teachers, in-service teacher appraisals, and school development planning. There was consensus among participants that by integrating the Primary Teaching Standards into these areas, MoES will be able to take a holistic approach to improving teaching quality. Agreement was reached at the workshop on the steps that need to be taken at both the policy level and in practice to implement the Primary Teaching Standards in these four key areas.

Teacher organising a group activity to stimulate learning through collaboration

Ms. Vanessa Hegarty said “Ensuring equal access to quality education for all primary students, especially those experiencing disadvantage, is the cornerstone of Australia’s longstanding partnership with the Government of Lao PDR that provides the foundation for a prosperous future.”

Dr Sisouk concluded “Full implementation of the Primary Teaching Standards links to a number of higher-level outcomes in MoES’ Education and Sports Sector Development Plan 2021-2025 and is key to strengthening primary student learning and engagement.”

The revised National Primary Teaching Standards