(KPL) As part of the Partnership to Strengthen the Education System (PSES), the European Union (EU) and UNICEF have handed over to the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) equipment for a total value of US$ 121,000, including 40 motorbikes, 62 desktop computers and three laptops.

The handover ceremony was held at the MoES in Vientiane on Oct 3 between Mr Leo Faber, EU Ambassador to the Lao PDR, Mr Irfan Akhtar, Officer in Charge of Representative, UNICEF Lao PDR, and Ms. Khanthaly Siriphongphanh, Vice Minister of Education and Sports.

The supplies will be used in 40 priority districts, line departments and the Institute for Education Administration and Development (IFEAD).

“The equipment will facilitate the work of education clusters in each district to provide monitoring support to improve the quality of education and learning outcomes in the target districts,” said Ms. Khanthaly Siriphongphanh.

The PSES programme in the Lao PDR aims to support the country in achieving the objectives of the Education Sector Development Plan (ESDP) 2016-2020, in line with the 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP) and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 – Quality of Education. It is designed to complement the EU Budget Support Programme to Education which focuses its support on basic education quality improvement for disadvantaged children and reforms in teacher management, education planning and financing.

PSES is also meant to complement other ongoing support to the education sector by development partners, including international and bi-lateral organisations, and NGOs.

The programme focuses on strengthening education sector governance, planning and budgeting, enhancing teacher management and quality; and promoting evidence-based sector analysis and policy dialogue.

PSES activities support the Government’s ‘3-Builds’ (Sam Sang) policy, aimed at strengthening policy-based planning and implementation at province, district, and village level. PSES focuses on capacity and system strengthening at all levels of the education system. Specific support will be provided to the 40 priority districts of MoES.

“For the European Union, supporting the Lao government in its journey to reform the education sector and help enhance efforts towards implementing the Education and Sports Development Plan is a priority. It is our hope that the equipment distributed today will help MoES and, particularly, the low performing districts to better monitor activities and increase efficiency,” said Mr. Leo Faber.

The partnership between the EU, UNICEF and the government will contribute to reinforce key priority areas at all levels of the education system, including equitable access, and completion of basic education, with a focus on disadvantaged groups; 2) improvement of education quality and relevance; and improved governance of the education system.

“Today we have gone one step further in our efforts to ensure that every child in Laos learns and develops to his or her full potential, contributing to the overall development of the country. Our main goal through PSES is to build the capacity of the Government at different levels in order to effectively implement the Education Sector Development Plan. Proving the means to do this is essential and will contribute to make a lasting difference in children’s lives”, stated Mr Irfan Akhtar.

This programme is the result of common values shared between the EU and UNICEF as stipulated in the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the EU Delegation and UNICEF in the Lao PDR. Through the partnership support to MoES, the EU and UNICEF promote institutional, organizational and individual capacity development in a holistic manner, both at national and sub-national level, to ensure sustainability and national ownership.

KPL