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The Ministry of Education and Sports has played a central part and worked hard to improve education in line with the “Education for All” and the “Millennium Development Goals.” As a result, elementary school education has improved and enrollment rate has reached 94%, but only in the urban areas such as Vientiane, the capital. In the areas where many minorities live and in the rural areas, there remain a lot of problems such as lack of classrooms, shortage and poor quality of teachers, and insufficient educational materials.

The Viengkham District of Luang Prabang Province will be our new project area. More than 85% of its population is composed of minorities and this area is the 13th poorest among 143 districts in the country. About 30% of the schools in this district are “incomplete schools,” where children cannot complete all grades at one school. In addition, the ratio of combined classes, in which children in more than two grades take lessons in one classroom, is over 80% (127 out of 157 classes), far exceeding the national average of 30%. These circumstances are making it difficult for teachers to manage the classes and for students to maintain their motivation to study.

Over the three years starting in 2014, the SVA will conduct a project intended for 169 teachers and 6,995 pupils in Viengkham District, which aims to improve the quality of and access to primary education. In terms of office management and operation, we will establish a new local office near the project area in Luang Prabang Province in addition to the Vientiane Office in the capital, which will give us a two-office system. Moreover, we will provide capacity building training so that the local staff will be able to implement projects and manage offices on their own.

2015 Activity Report

Project for Promoting Libraries and Reading

Storytelling in mobile liberary, [How Animals' Tails Work] Fukuinkan Shoten Publishers, Inc. ©Yoshifumi Kawabata

Elementary school in Viengkham District ©Yoshifumi Kawabata

In Laos, the gap in the availability of education between urban and rural areas is significant. For example, Vienkham District, where 90% of the population is composed of ethnic minorities, is in constant poverty and many people cannot speak Lao, the official language.

In order to improve such conditions, SVA is working to make it easy for children to receive education by providing seminars to teachers with the aim to upgrade the quality of education (Project to Improve Capacity of Teaching), developing and producing supplement teaching materials (Project to Improve Educational Facilities), and conducting mobile library activities.

Also, the Project to Improve Educational Facilities to construct school buildings and install bathrooms developed as a community participatory project. In addition, we created two titles of picture books and paper theaters on folktales of ethnic minorities. We also initiated the production of “flash cards (word cards)” to teach Lao, the official language of Laos.