Basic Education Quality and Access in Lao PDR (BEQUAL) is a two-year activity funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). USAID partners with the Government of Laos, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the European Union to improve literacy outcomes in primary schools by strengthening reading instruction, materials, curricula and assessment.
Lao PDR has made good progress in improving access to primary education over the past decade, reaching a primary enrollment rate of 98.8 percent in 2015-2016. Despite this achievement, high dropout rates, poor school facilities and a lack of teaching and learning resources are limiting education outcomes.
Increasing Access to Quality Materials for Teachers and Students
USAID supports the Lao Ministry of Education and Sports in its efforts to develop a new primary school curriculum as well as teaching and learning materials that are gender sensitive and inclusive of disadvantaged groups through knowledge-based and student-centered approaches. The curriculum renewal and development of associated textbooks and teachers’ guides are led by the Research Institute of Educational Science (RIES) with technical assistance from the BEQUAL activity.
Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes
The project helps RIES manage and implement a Grade 3 learning outcome baseline for mathematics and Lao language. This baseline study uses assessment instruments adapted and based on international best practices, with technical support from the Australian Council for Education Research.
Materials Development and Procurement
USAID assists the Lao Ministry of Education and Sports assess and develop reading and pronunciation materials and teachers’ guides and textbooks for distribution to schools nationwide.