Access to a quality basic education remains a challenge in Laos, particularly in remote areas, where high drop-out rates and low literacy and numeracy rates prevail. Over the years, our team in Laos has been working to improve access to a quality education for all children, no matter their background or circumstances. And now Aide et Action Laos is embarking on a new 5-year project to help improve literacy and numeracy of children (often of non-Lao ethnic background). In a first step on this journey, Aide et Action Laos has carried out a survey in the target schools, assessing the children’s current literacy and numeracy Skills. The findings of this survey are now available in our latest report: “Literacy & Numeracy in Lao PDR .
Access to a quality basic education is not a given for all children in Laos. Particularly in remote and disadvantaged areas, the drop-out rates are high and literacy and numeracy rates are generally low. There are significant differences in learning outcomes between urban and more rural and remote schools, which count many students who do not speak Lao as their first language. This is something that needs fixing so all Lao children have the chance to master basic skills such as reading, writing and arithmetic, so they can find jobs, break the cycle of poverty and disadvantage, and live happy, healthy lives.
A new 5-year initiative
Over the years, our team in Laos has put in a vast amount of work to improve access to a quality education for all children, no matter their background or circumstances (such as ethnicity, mother language, socio-economic situation, gender), and now they are starting a new 5-year project (2019-2023) in collaboration with the Lao Ministry of Education & Sports (MOES) to help improve the literacy and numeracy of primary school children in disadvantaged areas.
The Survey – the perfect starting point
A first step in the process is to assess the current learning outcomes of the children – how good are their Lao reading and writing skills? How well do they perform in arithmetic? Are the skills of all children in these subjects being developed sufficiently at school as it stands? To find out, our team recently surveyed primary schools in the target areas, testing students in their current skills. And the results are in and available in our latest report “Literacy & Numeracy in Lao PDR Survey – Analytical Report” which can be downloaded from our website. The report explains the background, rationale and methodology for the survey, presents the data and gives a clear analysis of where things are at when it comes to the reading, writing and numeracy skills of the students tested. Recommendations are made towards improving learning outcomes in primary schools in the target areas.
A baseline and so much more
The survey and its subsequent report produce a baseline assessment of primary literacy and numeracy in Aide et Action’s target schools and will serve to develop the project in such a way it best meets the needs of the beneficiaries. The results of the survey also provide a solid basis for subsequent midline and end-line assessments, which in turn will be used to modify or strengthen the project so it keeps meeting the needs of the beneficiaries in an optimal way and to further inform future project activities respectively. And of course, it will form the basis for objective and reliable baseline, midline, and end-line assessments of the project, the global objective of which is to enhance early literacy and numeracy of marginalized and often non-Lao ethnic children in poor and remote communities with mainly non-Lao ethnic populations.