In Vientiane, Lao PDR, last week, some 30 education officials celebrated the completion of an intensive one-year IIEP-UNESCO and UNICEF training programme in Education Sector Planning (ESP).
Launched in May 2015, the course has leveraged the competencies and skills of Ministry of Education and Sports (MOES) departments in charge of planning and implementing education sector reforms for improving educational quality, equity and inclusion in Lao PDR. Course participants came from a wide range of departments: Planning, Finance, Inspection, the IT center, the Institute for Education Administration Development (IFEAD) and the National University of Laos (NUOL), with over 60% of them women. The programme took place under the patronage of the MOES, H.E. Mrs. Sengdeuane Lachanthanboun, who also presided over the ceremony.
A blended training programmme adapted to the Lao context
Delivered in partnership with the Ministry’s Planning Department, the IFEAD and the NUOL Department of Education Administration and Management, the course combined distance training organized by IIEP instructors in Paris with weekly working sessions and a series of three residential workshops in Vientiane and Vangvieng, delivered jointly by national experts and IIEP.
The distance training was organized through the IIEP’s e-learning platform, a “virtual classroom” featuring training resources, study guidance, self-learning exercises and an online discussion forum to facilitate exchanges between participants and IIEP instructors.
The course content, based on IIEP training materials, was adapted to the local context and was offered in both English (distance training) and Lao (workshops and weekly working group sessions). A team of national experts from partner institutions cooperated closely with IIEP instructors and a Vientiane-based IIEP focal point to ensure that content was reinforced during weekly sessions and local workshops.
Using materials and examples from local contexts, the training programme can also be adapted to suit additional target populations in Lao PDR, such as education officers from provincial education services.
Lao education officials apply new skills
The course aimed at strengthening institutional capacities by ensuring that education managers and trainers are equipped with modern planning competencies and skills to prepare and implement education reforms and evaluate their effectiveness.
Since completing the course at the end of April, Ministry officials have reported positive results and that the trainees have already started to apply their new skills in their jobs. Nearly half of the participants received high enough scores on the final examination to apply for the Master-level training in educational planning in Paris. A handful of trainees also reached a level of technical competency that would enable them to act as national trainers in educational planning.
“The ESP programme has been a very good reference for us to develop our own programme in Lao to provide education planning training for education administrators from other departments and local offices,” said one participant.
The ESP training programme is part of a wider institutional capacity development initiative supported by UNICEF Vientiane to reinforce competencies to prepare and implement education reforms within the Ministry and to strengthen IFEAD as the Ministry’s arm for in-service professional development in the areas of planning and management.