The FINANCIAL — Primary schools in Lao PDR will receive new funding to support a new method for teaching reading for Laotian children, the World Bank announced on May 4. The use of Early Grade Reading Assessments (EGRA), a globally tested approach for teaching children how to read in early grades, is expected to improve the quality of pre-primary and primary education.
The Second Global Partnership for Education project will be financed with a US$16.8 million, four-year grant for Laos’ schools from the Global Partnership for Education, a multilateral partnership promoting a quality education for all children in the world’s poorest countries. Around one million pre-primary and primary students will benefit from the new approach to teaching reading under the project. In addition, almost 9,000 principals or heads of incomplete schools (those which do not offer five grades of primary education), alongside 1,000 provincial and district education staff, as well as 8,900 Village Education Development Committees will benefit from capacity building training, according to the World Bank.
“This project will help address some of the main factors constraining the quality of education in Lao PDR – funding, allocation of resources and teaching effectiveness,” said Sally Burningham, Country Manager for the World Bank in Lao PDR.
The project will be implemented by the Ministry of Education and Sports, with implementation support provided by the World Bank Group and in collaboration with local donors. In order to improve the quality of reading education in early grades, the grant will help the Ministry to develop and pilot the EGRA method for teaching and learning of reading in Grades 1 and 2. The broader use of the EGRA approach and of testing reading abilities at younger ages will inform policy options and programmatic decisions to address the gaps in learning outcomes among different ethno-linguistic groups in Laos.
This project builds on the experiences of the first Global Partnership for Education project, in Laos, which was implemented between 2010 and 2014, and complements support for the education sector in Laos from other development partners.
Universal access to quality education is one of the main goals of the draft 8th National Social and Economic Development Plan (2016–2020) for Lao PDR.