France enhances support for Lao-French bilingual classes in public schools

Lao and French officials gather in Vientiane last week to launch the education project.

LAO PDR (Vientiane Times) - The Ministry of Education and Sports has launched a new project supported by the French Embassy to reinforce Lao-French bilingual classes in line with the government’s plan to improve the quality of education. A ceremony to mark the launch was held at the Ministry of Education and Sports last week. The event was co-chaired by the Deputy Minister of Education and Sports, Dr Khamphay Sisavanh, and the Head of the Development of Cooperation and Culture and Director of the French Institute of the Lao PDR, Ms Bénédicte Deschamps. In his opening speech, Dr Khamphay thanked the French authorities for their continuous collaboration in building up the Lao education system, reinforcing students’ abilities to contribute to the country’s development, and supporting student mobility to France.

The Lao-French bilingual section, created in 1995 within the public schooling system of the Lao Ministry of Education and Sports with the support of the French authorities, has grown significantly to achieve nationwide coverage through 13 public schools (nine primary and four secondary schools). These are in Vientiane, Savannakhet province, Pakxe in Champassak province, and in Luang Prabang.

This successful educational programme is very popular among students, parents and teachers. Today, 3,000 students, aged eight to 18, benefit from reinforced teaching of the French language and the teaching of science subjects (mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology) in French. The newly endorsed project is meant to provide teaching-learning material France enhances support for Lao-French bilingual classes in public schools in science subjects, including textbooks and laboratory equipment, to train a new generation of science teachers, to further enhance the teaching practices of in-service teachers, and eventually to improve learning outcomes.

Ms Deschamps, who is in charge of the French cooperation, thanked the various departments of the ministry involved in this ambitious project for their active participation in discussions, and their commitment to the project’s implementation. The project will start very soon, and in three weeks, 40 science teachers will attend their first training course at the French Institute.