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Teacher 2 Teacher
Since 2010, Union Aid Abroad - APHEDA has partnered with the Pakse Teacher Training College (PTTC) in Southern Laos. The college covers four provinces in the South, including Sekong province, which is overwhelmingly made up of ethnic minority groups with some of the worst educational outcomes in the country due to language barriers and its remoteness.
Education is a significant issue in Lao PDR. Whilst enrollment rates are quite high (89% net enrollment rate) the quality of education is problematic. For example almost 20% of young women are still illiterate. Many students do not go on to secondary or tertiary education due to poor outcomes at primary level.
This project takes a different approach to education than other development agencies. Whilst many agencies focus on enrolment, our approach looks at quality of education and does that through engaging with teachers. Union Aid Abroad - APHEDA and the PTTC both believe that in order for Laos to develop, the focus must move from simply making sure children attend school to ensuring they receive quality education and this means supporting teachers.
We call this program the Teacher 2 Teacher program, with the objective being to link Australian teachers, educators and those with an interest in education with teachers in Lao PDR to make a difference in the lives of students and teachers alike.
Each year, hundreds of trainee teachers go through the one or two year course and are then sent out into rural and remote areas. Many of these teachers are deemed to be 'non permanent' for the first one to two years, meaning they receive no salary. Some teachers in our project are expected to teach classes as big as 60 students, and are often the only teacher in the village.
Teacher2Teacher provides teachers a resource kit of teaching materials, such as pencils, a dictionary, mini-blackboards and chalk to improve the quality of education in Laos. The program will also develop a mentoring and support system for teachers sent into isolated rural locations, including an induction program for teachers to share their experiences and strategies of teaching.
The first year of the project focused on developing an induction booklet that will be approved by the national ministry of education. This booklet will then be distributed to teacher training colleges around the country. Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA and the PTTC will then decide on priority areas to support teachers to deliver quality education in Lao PDR into the future
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