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Rural Ethnic Teacher Project (RET)

     Lao PDR is one of the world’s most ethnically diverse countries. According to Census 2005, there are 49 recognized ethnic groups. Although this diversity can be seen as a very valuable asset for the country, the vast diversity of ethnic groups creates significant obstacles for Government and development partners due to different languages, different cultural belief systems and practice. Education is one example, specifically in the remote rural areas where the ethnic minorities reside. The education system fails to take into an account the educational challenge for the schools in theses rural area is the recruiting, retaining, and supporting of ethnic minority teachers. Shortage of teachers has been the most concern in these areas; there are a lack of highly qualified or certified teachers and lack of teachers representing ethnic minority groups.
  
     Rural Ethnic Teacher Project started in 2004 according to condition and requirement of remote areas. The objectives of this project are:
1) Gradually increase the number and cultivate local ethnic teachers in rural areas.
2) To develop the quality of education.
3) Enhance teaching and learning in communities where the number of teacher is minimal, especially in rural remote areas and lastly.
4) To raise education awareness among teachers, parents and people in rural remote communities.

 
  
 
     The project was set up to support and provide scholarships to students from ethnic minority group from remote areas of Savannakhet, Champasak and Sekong Provinces. The project targets ethnic minority students who are going to complete their secondary school and wants to stay in their village and have a profession in teaching. These ethnic minority scholars are carefully screened with specific criteria and selected to study at Teacher Training College (TTC) in cities of Savannakhet and Chapasak Provinces. After graduation, these students who are now teachers, are then hired and employed to teach in a school located in their home area. Since 2004, 114 secondary school graduates were recruited and received financial support to study at TCC. The course varies from 1 to 3 years pending area of study; subjects include Primary School Teacher, Math, Biology-Chemistry, Physics, English and Science. This project is unique in that it is 100% successful thus far. Our scholars have all graduated and returned to their villages; they were granted priority from Lao Government to teach and all of our Ethnic Minority Scholars our now either primary or secondary school teachers.
 
  
 
   One Scholar said it best, “I am ready to come back home and develop my village.” The lack of both teacher quantity and quality is recognized as a chronic problem working against socio-economic development through rural education improvements in Laos.Finding effective ways of supplying teachers to schools in the rural remote areas is a concern but EDF-Lao has a solution. If you are interested in supporting this project, please contact us. You can help make a huge difference in one’s life, in one’s community, in one’s country. Make a difference today!


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