Khang Panya Lao, a digital learning platform, was created to ensure the continuity of education during the Covid-19 pandemic and has reached 100,000 registered users in Laos, a milestone celebrated by Laos and European Union authorities.
The sudden closure of schools and educational institutions to minimize the spread of COVID-19 risked the continuity of learning for over 1.7 million children and young people living in Laos.
To make sure students could catch up and remain on track in times of emergencies, the Ministry of Education and Sports launched “Khang Panya Lao” (Lao Wisdom Warehouse) in October 2021 with support from the European Union and UNICEF.
This learning and teaching platform, which is also designed as a supplementary teaching resource for use in face-to-face classes – has reached 100,000 users in Laos this month, including students and teachers from Grades 1 – 12 and pre-primary children, and is projected to expand even more throughout the year. The app is as relevant today as it was through the pandemic still providing support to users in a variety of ways.
“Digital tools were key for teachers and students to continue with education during the COVID-19 pandemic. Khang Panya Lao has become essential for all users, for teachers, for researchers, for students. We celebrate the expanded reach of this tool and hope it continues strengthening the digitalization of the educational system in Laos”, said the European Union Ambassador to Laos, Ina Marčiulionytė.
The platform centralizes teaching materials to support teachers’ professional development, along with textbooks, interactive quizzes, videos, and learning materials for students. It can be accessed from a computer or downloaded as an application with a phone, tablet, or any other mobile device. This allows access to people with limited internet connection – a reality that affects most impoverished provinces in Laos.
“Khang Panya Lao contains learning resources and knowledge about international education. I am happy to see that many are already receiving the benefits and I encourage all teachers, parents, and students to use our digital learning platform”, said the Vice Minister of Education in Sports, Khahthaly Siriphongphan.
To make sure teachers have the tools needed to perform their daily tasks, the Ministry of Education and Sports, with EU and UNCEF support, has started the national roll out of teacher training on how to use Khang Panya Lao in the classroom and at home. More than 200 teachers have already participated in the training, which will continue in prioritized provinces.
“I am very impressed to learn about the digital program “Khang Panya Lao. This is because it contains teaching methods, as such there are various teaching manuals from primary to secondary school, teaching materials and equipment needed for experiments are available. There are a lot of tools to support teaching, especially in physics”, said Mr. Ya-Vang Jia-Leu, a Physics teacher from Chomphet Secondary School, where one of the training sessions on the APP took place.
With this platform, students have been able to actively participate in their learning processes through interactive teaching tools. “What I like the most about this application is that we can do experiments in physics and chemistry courses, and it is like a game to have fun and learn at the same time”, explained a youth representative, Paniphone Vongmala.
To make sure content is accessible to everyone, including children with disabilities, the platform includes a category for inclusive education materials for students and teachers. This category will contain Lao sign language courses and inclusive education manuals. Some of the content is also sub-titled and includes content with audio files, including Read Aloud Storybooks.
The EU supports quality education in Laos
The EU has provided EURO 53.5 million (LAK 642 billion) to Lao PDR in 2021 to address various priorities in the education and nutrition sectors including the response to the Covid-19 pandemic’s impacts.
Of this amount, EURO 26.4 million (LAK 318 billion) was made available for the EU Education Budget Support Program in line with the Lao Government’s Education and Sport Development Strategy 2021-2025.
The EU remains strongly committed and works closely with the Lao Government to support the sustainable and effective adaptation of the education and training systems in the digital age.