Leadership and Advocacy

H.E. Mr. Bounnhang VORACHIT current Vice President of Lao PDR and former Prime Minister (center) and Sombath Somphone (left) visit the Quality Schools Program at Dongdok Kindergarten on Children's Day 2004.

H.E. Mr. Bounnhang VORACHIT current Vice President of Lao PDR and former Prime Minister (center) and Sombath Somphone (left) visit the Quality Schools Program at Dongdok Kindergarten on Children’s Day 2004.

Quality Schools Approach

Influencing policy direction and practice towards child-centered integrated education

Launched in Vientiane in 2002, PADETC developed the Quality School Approach program to raise the standard of education in primary schools. The Quality School Approach compliments the national curriculum and stimulates the use of child-centered teaching methods to make learning more fun and more relevant. The extra-curricular activities not only engage students but also involve parents, teachers, monks and other members of the local community.

Brief timeline:

  • 2004: 10 schools added to the Quality School Program.
  • 2006: 100 new schools added to the Quality School Program.
  • 2007: PADETC supported production of instructional videos for teachers.
  • 2009:
    • Instructional videos for teachers were approved by the Sisatanack Education Office for distribution. As a result, ten titles of instructional videos have been distributed to 1,440 teachers. The videos are now used in 75 primary schools benefiting at least 21,600 students.
    • 67 youth volunteers trained. 38 new schools added to the Quality School Program.
  • 2010:
    • The Ministry of Education began incorporating and disseminating the Quality School concepts and methods to all provinces, thus expanding the impact of the Quality School approach to many schools.
    • 32 youth volunteer leaders trained. 20 new schools added to the Quality School Program.
    • 70% of the “Teacher of the Year” awards were awarded to teachers in Sisatanack district, Vientiane Capital, the original target area of the Quality School approach.

International recognition for ‘Betting on Laos’

  • PADETC was instrumental in the production of the BBC Earth Report documentary ‘Betting on Laos’. A locally adapted Lao language version called ‘Gambling on Laos’ was also produced for the Lao audience.
  • The film convincingly highlighted to a broad range of viewers the development challenges of commercial mono-cropping versus more ecologically sustaining local resource-use alternatives. The film helped raised awareness and debate among the public and government officials around issues of land concession, land use and natural resource management.
  • PADETC’s leadership and facilitating role brought together diverse agencies to discuss environmental and resource management issues as well as local expertise to mobilize communities and schools to raise awareness about the importance of environmental conservation
  • The film was shown to members of the Lao National Assembly resulting in the National Assembly urging the government, policy makers and local authorities to carefully abide by the land use and environmental protection laws prior to making land concessions for investments.  The result was the issuing of a central government decree to halt further granting of land concessions for rubber and other mono-cropping activities until further study.
  • PADETC’s role in the film’s production, especially the adaptation and production of the Lao language version, and the participation at discussions during the screening of the film, has earned it respect and professional recognition as a critical voice on development issues.

Happy Laos Movie (ຄວາມສຸກຂອງປະເທດລາວ)

“Happy” (www.thehappymovie.com), the internationally acclaimed documentary that explores happiness around the world, was shown on World Happiness Day in February in three locations in Laos. It inspired a group of people living in Laos, including PADETC volunteer Sam Pike and founder, Sombath Somphone, to make a Happy Laos movie and involve Lao people in the happiness conversation.

Individuals and organizations from all across Laos have contributed footage including children, monks, government officials, development workers, weavers, farmers, and more talking about what happiness means to them. Over 100 people across 5 provinces of Laos told us about the things that make them happy using whatever device they had available, including mobile phones, digital cameras and video recorders.

We believe that this film will help stimulate much needed discussion about happiness, development and poverty alleviation, where poverty is 3-dimensional; emotional and spiritual not just economic.

Everyone involved in the Happy Laos project generously donated their time and energy and $4,000$ was raised on the online platform Indiegogo to cover production costs (particularly transport) in order to get extra footage, translation costs to assist in the editing process and to ensure that the film is accessible to the widest possible group of people, and editing costs. Lao New Wave Cinema, an up and coming Lao filmmaking group, were contracted to edit and produce the film.

The Happy Laos Movie was shown at the Asia Europe People’s Forum (AEPF) in Vientiane, Laos where it was screened to over 1000 people at the closing ceremony, and many follow up happiness workshops were held with schools and organizations in Vientiane.

Please see the instruction guides (below) to help you facilitate a classroom or workplace workshop using the Happy Laos movie.



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