Lao PDR: Educating teachers on child rights
In the provinces of Vientiane and Oudomxay, in The Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), teachers from 30 schools have been trained on child rights with the aim to change their teaching methods, and the school experience of children in the country.
Ms. Nangmany, a teacher at Natiew primary school in Vientiane province, participated in the training in August 2021, and is now ready to advocate for child rights. “I will spread this knowledge to students as well as to caregivers as they should be concerned about the rights of children, child protection, child care, child development and positive discipline,” she said.
Violence against children: a common reality in Lao PDR
According to the 2019 Violence against Children Survey in Lao PDR one in six children experienced at least one form of physical violence before the age of 18. Corporal punishment is still a reality in pre-primary and primary schools in Lao PDR and many teachers are not aware of child rights and child protection laws. To reduce violence in schools, and foster better learning environments in schools, Aide et Action has been training teachers on inclusive education, basic child rights and participation, and child development since 2019 as part of the organisation’s objective to provide inclusive and child-friendly pre-primary and primary school environments.
Mr. Daobandone, a 40 year-old teacher at Konkham primary school in Vientiane province was delighted to learn new positive discipline techniques. “It was so beneficial to learn about child rights, and about positive discipline. Now that I am trained, I prefer to use positive discipline, and I won’t make the same mistakes again,” he expressed.
Mr. Sengsouk, who teaches at Phonsavath 3 primary school in Vientiane province, also thought the workshops were useful. “I will apply the lessons learnt from this training session such as encouraging students to read and write from Khmu language to Lao language,” he said.
Looking at the future
Ms. Ngoykham, a 36 year-old teacher at Phonsavath 1 primary school, in Vientiane province, also enjoyed the training which strengthened her knowledge of child rights and positive discipline and she is already thinking about the next training that Aide et Action will offer. “For the next training, I would like Aide et Action to hold longer training sessions to exchange ideas and learn about new games for children,” she said. Word or picture connecting games would be great because it helps children to develop their imagination, and I would also like to learn more about how games like football can be used to teach lessons. Finally, I would also like to be trained on helping children with disabilities, and get technical training on how to teach them.”
Following the participation of teachers in the two-day training sessions, their behaviour changes and practices toward inclusiveness, child interaction, and communication are monitored and discussed during future school visits. Through the education of teachers, Aide et Action is providing a better and safer learning environment for children in Lao PDR so that they stay in school.