With UK funding, the Ministry of Education and Sport’s Research Institute for Education and Sport (RIES) hosted a 5-day workshop this week in Vientiane to train teachers from selected pilot districts to teach English language to grade 3 – 5 primary school students. This training forms part of the Lao government’s plans for all primary school children to be learning English by 2020.
The workshop concluded with participating teachers visiting the British Embassy for a traditional English tea party and to receive their completion certificates from Deputy Head of Mission Alex Needham. Embassy staff also used the opportunity to share simple English-based games and songs with the teachers to help engage their students.
Speaking to the teachers ahead of the training, Deputy Head of Mission Alex Needham said:
English is of course the language of ASEAN and as ASEAN economic integration approaches in 2015, it is becoming increasingly important that young people in Laos are equipped with the right skills to be able to compete with their counterparts in other ASEAN countries.
The work you are doing this week is really important and you can consider yourselves as pioneers in trying to spread English to the primary school children of Laos.
Given the lack of qualified teachers of English in Laos, the teachers taking part in the pilot project are having to both learn, then teach English to their students at more or less the same time.
Last year, the British Embassy supported RIES’s development and production of a range of English language teaching materials for grade 4 English students in Laos.
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