Ms. Vanessa Hegarty, First Secretary, Australian Embassy, delivering opening remarks

Teams from across the Ministry work together to produce a gender equality promotional video for teachers

The Ministry of Education and Sports of Lao PDR (MoES) and Australia, through the Basic Education Quality and Access in Lao PDR (BEQUAL) Program and Research Institute for Educational Sciences (RIES), held a four-day “Gender Video Script Writing” workshop from 18th to 21st of June 2024. The objective was to produce a video to raise awareness and give teachers advice on how to ensure gender equality in the classroom.  Representatives from RIES, the Division for the Advancement of Women, Mothers and Children, and the Australian Embassy joined the workshop to collaboratively write the script.

The Ministry of Education and Sports and the Government of Australia have a strong partnership supporting the education sector, including the production of a wide range of digital, video and media materials for educators. The materials are developed by the E-Learning and the Information and Media Center (IMC) teams within RIES. The training sessions help participants improve their ability to promote gender equality and avoid gender stereotypes in the content and imagery of digital and media resources we create. During this workshop will work together to write the first gender equality promotion video for teachers produced by the Ministry.

Vanessa Hegarty, First Secretary, Australian Embassy said “Australia’s commitment to gender equality in Laos is a key part of our support for education. In the BEQUAL program, this commitment encompasses promoting gender and disability-inclusive practices through the primary curriculum revision and ongoing support for teachers’ professional development. This ensures a comprehensive approach to inclusive education that benefits all students, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or ability. I am delighted to be there today to open this Gender Video Script Writing workshop.”

Gender Equality in classroom Pictures

Gender Equality in classroom Pictures

The workshop was very active with many hands-on activities designed to explore the concept of gender equality at school. Participants reflected on the ways in which girls and boys may be treated differently in the classroom based on stereotypes about their interests, abilities, and goals for the future.  Participants then mapped a typical day in the life of girl and boy students and considered how their different schedules could impact on their learning needs and engagement at school. They discussed concrete actions teachers could take to ensure girls’ and boys’ learning needs are valued equally by creating a classroom environment that responds to their specific needs. Finally, participants applied their new knowledge and drew from the ideas they brainstormed to write the script of the future gender equality promotional video.

Mr. Oudom Singdala, Deputy of Information Media Center, RIES said “In the education sector, teachers play a critical role in creating a safe and gender responsive environment for their students. Our goal with this video is to raise awareness of the importance of the role of the teachers in ensuring gender equality and give teachers practical strategies for ensuring girls and boys participate equally in learning. Our main target audience is primary teachers and school principals, but the video will help raise awareness about gender equality in education more widely. We will use our Education TV channel ESTV as well as the Khang Panya platform, the Teacher Development YouTube channel and social media to ensure this campaign reach its audience.”

Gender Equality in classroom illustrations from curriculum materials

Gender Equality in classroom illustrations from curriculum materials

Vanessa Hegarty concluded “The media and digital production teams of the Ministry of Education and Sports have a key role to play in building a more progressive and inclusive society. With video and digital production, we can promote gender equality and inclusive education and make a difference for the most disadvantaged children. I am pleased to see teams from different centers of the Ministry working collaboratively towards promoting more gender inclusive practices in the classrooms.”

Participants transforming their gender advice ideas into images

BEQUAL is a program led by the Lao Government with support from the Australian Government and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The program focuses on enhancing educational outcomes for the nation’s youth, especially the vulnerable and disadvantaged. BEQUAL is focused on ensuring gender equality and promoting inclusive education across all activities.