Lao PDR: The Ministry of Education and Sports officially launches a national digital teaching and learning platform to support children’s learning during the COVID-19 pandemic
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Happy children in a primary school in Lao PDR. Credit: GPE/Stephan Bachenheimer
Happy children in a primary school in Lao PDR.
Credit:
GPE/Stephan Bachenheimer

Vientiane, 05 October 2021 – The Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) today officially launched the country’s first national digital teaching and learning platform, Khang Panya Lao, which has been developed with the support of UNICEF and in collaboration with the European Union (EU)and the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).

The platform has been developed to facilitate distance learning for students and teachers to ensure the continuity of learning during the COVID-19 pandemic and other emergencies. It is also designed as a supplementary teaching resource for use in face-to-face classes. The platform can be accessed online either via the web or as an app for Android devices, which enable users to access content without internet connection.

The virtual launch event was chaired by H.E. Associate Professor, Dr. Phouth Simmalavong, Minister of Education and Sports. In attendance were also H.E. Ms. Ina Marčiulionytė, the European Union Ambassador to the Lao PDR, Dr. Pia Rebello Britto, UNICEF Representative in Lao PDR, Mr. Rob Jenkins, Global Director of Education for UNICEF, Mr. Larry Nelson, Regional General Manager of Education for Microsoft Asia, as well as representatives from provincial education offices and development partners.

“I would like to thank the EU, GPE and UNICEF for their support in developing Khang Panya Lao. With a wide selection of teaching and learning materials, the platform will be an invaluable resource for both students and teachers,” said H.E. Associate Professor, Dr. Phouth Simmalavong.

Khang Panya Lao includes digitalized official curriculum textbooks for Grades 1-12 and pre-primary curriculum materials, as well as resources on COVID-19 and online safety practices. It also contains various other learning materials developed by partners, including Aide et Action, Australia-DFAT and BEQUAL, ChildFund, Humanity & Inclusion, JICA, Room to Read, Save the Children, UNESCO, UNFPA, USAID, WFP and the World Bank.

In addition, Khang Panya Lao contains international learning resources on topics such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics, which are available in both Lao and English language. New content is continuously being added, with the platform now having over 23 different learning categories and over 4,400 different lessons.

“The EU, alongside our partners, is proud to support MoES and its digital teaching and learning platform, Khang Panya Lao. Although the platform has been developed in part to facilitate distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, we hope that it will also prove useful beyond, during other emergencies, helping students to continue their learning which is of vital importance,” stated H.E. Ms. Ina Marčiulionytė.

“The pandemic has caused an unprecedented disruption to children’s education in Lao PDR and around the world,” said Alice Albright, CEO of the Global Partnership for Education. “The Khang Panya Lao digital platform is an important tool to provide learning continuity while advancing transformative changes in the education system during this especially challenging time.”

Khang Panya Lao also contains curriculum-based teaching materials and resources to promote the professional development of teachers, ranging from teacher guides to online courses. Trainings for teachers on how to use the platform for blended learning and in-classroom teaching have already been conducted in Vientiane capital as well as in Vientiane and Xiengkhouang provinces, with more upcoming trainings in other provinces. Furthermore, UNICEF, GPE and the EU will support MoES with provision of tablets and other IT equipment to schools in Lao PDR.

“Khang Panya Lao represents our efforts to leverage the COVID-19 recovery process and transform the education system adapting it to the new-normal and actually going beyond - to rebound and reimagine how education can work for children. It will help expand learning for Lao students beyond the walls of the classroom and promote digital literacy among Lao students and teachers,” said Dr. Pia Rebello Britto.

Khang Panya Lao is modeled after the Learning Passport, an education platform created by UNICEF and powered by Microsoft. Khang Panya Lao can also be paired with other internet-based programs that allow for real-time connection and interaction, such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom among others.

“We are proud to have been contribute the platform that enables blended learning and can help students and teachers work together online and offline whether on a PC, tablet or phone. Adjusting to this transition despite the COVID-19 pandemic is a testament to the commitment, resilience and energy of teachers in the country and wanting to meet the needs of their students whether in or out school,” explained Larry Nelson, Regional General Manager of Education for Microsoft Asia.

The platform has been tested for use in Lao PDR since late April 2021 and have so far over 30,000 registered users, with one user possibly having 2-3 children accessing the platform.

Access the platform.

About the European Union

European Union is a partnership of 27 European countries and a friend of the Lao Government and people working together to end poverty. For more information about us, visit https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/lao-pdr_en

To learn about European Union's work in Laos, please follow Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and our website.

About GPE

GPE is a shared commitment to end the world’s learning crisis. It is the only global partnership and fund dedicated entirely to helping children in lower-income countries get a quality education, so they can unlock their potential and contribute to building a better world.

Since 2002, GPE has mobilized partners and funds to get 160 million more girls and boys in school and improve learning in 76 partner countries around the world. GPE’s “Raise Your Hand” campaign aims to raise at least $5 billion by 2025 to help transform education systems in up to 90 countries and territories, which are home to more than 1 billion children. Visit: www.globalpartnership.org

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit www.unicef.org

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Happy children in a primary school in Lao PDR. Credit: GPE/Stephan Bachenheimer
Happy children in a primary school in Lao PDR.
Credit:
GPE/Stephan Bachenheimer

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