COVID-19 response

Allocation: US$7 million

Years: 2020-2022

Grant agent: UNICEF

Key documents:

In Lao, the grant will support the following interventions:

  • Provision of hygiene and cleaning kits for schools via the school block grant mechanism. Provision of handwashing facilities, clean water, and promoting hygiene practices in schools
  • Developing and disseminating learning materials for ECE and basic education students, including for children with disabilities through various platforms
  • Printing and disseminating textbooks and learning materials to students in remote areas
  • Providing a TV and satellite receiver and dish set for selected rural schools, including connecting schools to the power grid
  • Developing an online & offline teaching and learning platform where education resources and materials are compiled for students, teachers, school principals and pedagogical advisors. Developing training materials for teachers to effectively support remote learning
  • Developing a catch-up/remedial program for children lagging behind including for those who could not access online media, radio or TV and children with disabilities
  • Providing psychosocial support to students, teachers and education staff in partnership with relevant government bodies and partners

GPE funding also supported the development of “My House” – an early childhood development TV series – which received a UNICEF global award for being among the 10 outstanding UNICEF programs in the world.

Explore My House

The initiatives above are based on the Ministry of Education COVID-19 response plan.

In late March 2020, the UNICEF office in Lao PDR received a GPE grant of US$70,000 to support the Ministry of Education. The grant was used to:

  • develop an online system to facilitate COVID response monitoring and coordination among partners
  • prepare a back-to-school campaign
  • develop education content for TV, radio and online platforms.

Education in Lao PDR

The government of Lao PDR recognizes education’s importance in achieving national development goals. The country relies heavily on external funding; however, it has shown improvements in recent years. According to government figures, in 2013/14, the education share of the government budget was 15.5%, up from 13.4% in 2009/10.

The country has made significant progress, achieving 98.6% primary net enrollment and a gender parity rate of .99 for primary education. The major challenges that the education system faces are: reducing the high grade 1 dropout rate, enhancing equity, and improving learning outcomes.

The ESDP 2016-2020 has set the following areas of focus:

  • Achieve compulsory primary education and expand compulsory education to include lower secondary education
  • Eradicate illiteracy, across all ethnic groups, by supporting relevant lifelong learning
  • Expand, strengthen, and promote secondary education, technical and vocational education and training, and higher education to respond to future demands of the labor market and improve economic outputs
  • Improve the responsiveness of the technical vocational education and training system
  • Ensure that graduates have competence to enter the workforce through improving the quality of higher education and technical vocation
  • Ensure that technical, professional, and academics have knowledge and are capable of using modern technology and science
  • Improve quality and relevance of education to provide youth with the knowledge needed for socio-economic development
  • Apply ICT as the tools for improving education administration and management and education quality
  • Expand education policy research and evaluation from the central to local level
  • Expand physical education and sports from central to local level.

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Latest grant

Development objective: Improve learning outcomes in primary grades in target districts and strengthen teacher and system performance
Allocation: US$17,500,000
Years: 2021-2026
Grant agent: WB
Utilization: US$810,490

The grant supports the “Lao PDR Global Partnership for Education III: Learning and Equity Acceleration Project (LEAP)” program. This program is a continuation of the previous one  and has the following three components:

  1. Prepared and motivated learners: Provide early learning opportunities for young learners of 3–5 years old to be prepared and motivated for entering grade 1. Through a focused geographic approach, the program will provide early childhood education (ECE) interventions in 1,339 villages in 71 districts. The component has 5 subcomponents:
    1. Child community development group
    2. Multiage teaching
    3. Development of play-based contents and activities for children of ages 3 and 4 years
    4. Reading readiness program
    5. Childhood disability screening.
  1. Prepared and motivated teachers. The objectives of this component are to:
    • prepare and support teachers to perform better in class. Trainings on the new curriculum will be nationwide and will focus on grades 1–3 mathematics and Lao language. More in-depth support will be provided to teachers in 40 priority districts.
    • improve teacher management. The project will finance nationwide guidelines and improvements in teacher allocation in 40 priority districts. This component has 2 subcomponents.
      1. Improving the quality of teacher professional development through activities like:
        • training on the new curriculum, including the appropriate use of existing structured teacher guides, for grade 1 to 3 teachers in Lao language and mathematics (national)
        • developing a system to monitor the effective implementation of the curriculum
        • establishing ongoing school-based professional development systems so that pedagogical advisors, principals and peers can observe and provide feedback to teachers on the use of teacher guides and specific pedagogical practices in the classroom (40 priority districts).
      2. Improving teacher management by facilitating equitable allocation of teachers.
  1. Effective school governance for improving teaching and learning to:
    • strengthen school governance to facilitate better teaching and learning in pre-primary and primary schools in target districts
    • ensure better education decision-making nationwide through more and better use of data.

These activities build on the Ministry of education-UNICEF-World Bank framework on effective school governance:

  • assess schools, teachers and student learning to identify those who are performing well and those needing additional support
  • act to make schools work for all learners
  • align actors and policies to make the whole system work for learning.

Components 1 and 3 build upon interventions from the World Bank-supported ECE Project and GPE II Project, whereas Component 2 either supports interventions that are new or scales interventions based on lessons learned. Component 2 and 3 use expenditure-based financing as well as a results-based financing approach with performance-based conditions.

The program will not use GPE funds to support for-profit provision or not-for-profit non-state provision of core education services. The program will pilot mechanisms to sustain community child development groups’ caregiver salaries through community contributions, which will be funded entirely by IDA.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Utilization Grant agent  
COVID-19 2020-2022 7,000,000 6,345,470 UNICEF  
Program implementation and Multiplier 2021-2026 17,500,000 810,490 WB  
Program implementation 2015-2021 16,800,000 16,574,228 WB Progress report
2010-2014 28,268,034 28,268,034 WB Progress report
Sector plan development 2014-2015 239,520 239,520 UNICEF  
2012-2013 246,631 246,631 WB  
Program development 2020-2021 200,000 123,414 WB  
2013-2014 199,977 199,977 WB  
  Total 70,454,162 52,807,764    
Data last updated: May 26, 2023
Last updated September 09, 2021