Improving and Expanding of Equivalency Flexible Learning Programmes for Primary in Lao PDR and Myanmar
In June 2015, the workshop was conducted with 9 countries to develop the action plans to improve and expand current FLS/NFE/ALS programmes. By looking into country contexts and situations of the current programmes, UNESCO Bangkok decided to focus on 3-4 countries, namely Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and the Philippines.
In March 2016, UNESCO Bangkok has issued an agreement with Department of Non-Formal Education (DNFE) of Lao PDR to expand the implementation of Primary Education EP and scale up non-formal education program in five provinces for the 2016-2017 NFE Academic year. The activities this year focused on increasing participation rate of primary school dropouts and overaged learners by enrolling in after-school Primary Education EP, strengthening capacities of teachers in the equivalency program (EP) and the development of teaching and learning materials. UNESCO Bangkok will continue to support DNFE in 2017 and intends to expand the support to cover all 18 provinces in Laos PDR by 2018.
In addition, UNESCO Bangkok is currently on talks with the Department of Preschool and Primary of Education of Lao PDR (DPPE) to expand the flexible learning program and alternative learning strategy to cover more OOSC in the country. The project aims to assist DPPE in identifying and reintegrating OOSC in school. In order to come up with an action plan, UNESCO Bangkok have supported DPPE in organizing the National Consultation Workshop in 18-19 August 2016. Those who attended the workshop consisted of Directors of all 18 Provincial Education and Sports Service (PESS) Offices, for 18 provincial offices and Heads of the Pre-School and Primary Unit. As a result of the National Consultation Workshop, talks with DPPE for collaboration is currently undergoing.
In Myanmar, the activities started in November, 2015 to prevent students in the Non Formal Primary Education (NFPE) Programme from dropping out in 5 townships and expand the programme in two additional townships after several consultations with the government and implementing partners. From July, 2016, UNESCO Bangkok expanded its support for the 2016-17 NFPE Academic Year, covering approximately 1,475 OOSC from 12 townships. This support included the provision of 1) stipends for students; 2) honorarium for facilitators; and 3) capacity development training for facilitators and programme staff. UNESCO Bangkok’s support for the second semester will continue from January to May, 2017, focusing on the same aspects. Monthly school visits were made to monitor progress and identify any unforeseen challenges in implementing the programme.
Additionally, the Myanmar MoE established a new Department of Alternative Education (DAE) in October, 2016. The DAE is currently at the early stage of developing an alternative education policy framework and standards with key actors in the country. UNESCO Bangkok agreed to support the development of the policy framework by 1) identifying a qualified international consultant and 2) providing financial support. The development of the policy framework is expected to start from January, 2017. UNESCO Bangkok has made its efforts in every possible way to build and strengthen partnership with the DAE.