SEAMEO INNOTECH facilitated the study visit to the Philippines of five high officials from the Lao PDR Ministry of Education and Sports (MoEYS) on 20-22 March 2013 to learn from the country’s experiences and practices on teacher training and development programs, as well as on quality assurance and accreditation system. The study visit was undertaken through the program on “Capacity Development for Education for All (CapEFA) for Lao PDR: Capacity Building Support for Teacher Education in Lao PDR” sponsored by UNESCO Bangkok.

The Center arranged for the visit of the small Lao delegation to several government institutions including the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the Philippine Normal University (PNU), the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), the National Educators Academy of the Philippines (NEAP), and the Teacher Education Council (TEC). Among the areas covered during discussion with the officials of the said institutions were best practices, programs and mechanisms in teacher education and continuing professional development.

The three-day interaction with local education officials provided the Lao delegation with opportunity to reflect on the existing teacher development programs and mechanisms in their country. They also had the chance to identity some potential areas for improvement. During the feedback session, the Lao officials talked about their most significant insights.

Mr. Chandy Phommabouth, head of the Lao delegation and director general of the Department of Teacher Education under the MoES, remarked on the many institutions collaborating for teacher development in the Philippines. Mr. Phommabouth was convinced that the presence of the National Competency-based Teacher Standard (NCBTS)—a unified framework for teacher development, made this arrangement possible. He also pointed out the important role of the TEC in bridging the pre-service with the in-service teacher education programs as it ensures that products of teacher education institutions (TEIs) match the competency requirements of the DepEd. Further, he said, CHED’s recognition of some TEIs as Centers of Excellence and Centers of Development through very specific performance indicators was a good way of ensuring the quality and continuous improvement of TEIs.

Similar to Mr. Phommabouth, Ms. Varadune Amarathithada, deputy director general of DTE for In-Service Education, also took note of the many institutions working together to develop and establish standards for effective Filipino teachers. She appreciated that each agency has clear roles and responsibilities guided by the Teacher Education and Development (TED) Road Map which serves as a guidepost for total teacher development programs in the country.

Mr. Maaly Vorabouth, director of Teacher Education Evaluation Division, shared that they learned many interesting teacher development programs and systems, including the teacher certification program, the teacher licensure examination administered by PRC, and the teacher education curriculum of the PNU. He said these were valuable lessons which he and his co-delegates plan to bring back and share with their colleagues in the MoES.

The other two members of the delegation, Mr. Keth Phanhack, Deputy Director General of DTE for Pre-Service Education and Mr. Vanhsay Noraseng, Director of Education Standards and Quality Assurance Center, shared the same insights and also expressed gratitude for all the generous sharing of experiences and ideas by the officials of the institutions they visited.

It is expected that the visiting high officials would engage other stakeholders from the MoES into a series of conversations upon their return to share their findings and ideas, and eventually come up with a common understanding of the next steps towards improving teacher education in Lao PDR.

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