The end of the pilot teaching project over the last eleven weeks was crowned by a high-ranking visit on Tuesday, 5 January 2016: the Vice Minister of Education and Sports, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kongsy Sengmany, and the German ambassador in Laos, Michael Grau, visited the schools supported by Angels for Children, accompanied by several officials. We had invited them in order to present the field work done in our project “Teaching English in Laos” and to discuss possibilities for extending our work to the Lao education system in the future.
Prof. Dr. Isabel Martin and her team of graduates from the University of Education Karlsruhe showed a range of the new modules that they had developed during the project, aimed at both Lao pupils and their English teachers, so the visitors could get an impression of the changes and progress for themselves. Among the lessons visited were an individual English language lesson with one of our Lao English teachers, an English pre-school lesson as well as some activities for children from all grades, and of course, regular lessons following the state curriculum, enhanced by communicative teaching methodology.
Prof. Dr. Kongsy commended the project as well as the modern infra-structure of the schools in general and sees the “model school” status of the AfC schools as a basis for trying out and using modern teaching methodology throughout the country.
To help kick-start this cascading effect, our involvement in teacher training programmes and curriculum development would be asked for, which would require a larger organisational basis. For this, new partnerships and funding options need to be investigated and coordinated with the work done by the GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit), the Australian Institute, the US Embassy, and various NGOs.
Through Prof. Dr. Kongsy and his team, our project and the cooperation between the Foundation and the University received a seal of approval by the highest level of the Lao education system after only eleven weeks.
We see this as a milestone and further incentive to try and reach our new goal of helping English lessons to become more communicative, effective and modern not only in Ban Sikeud and Ban Phang Heng, but also beyond.
We cordially thank Prof. Dr. Kongsy Sengmany and Michael Grau for their visit, their interest and support, and we look forward to working together henceforward.
Text by J. Zeck