Closing the Gap: Child Care and Education for Marginalised Young Children

What the situation is
In Laos, the educational system still suffers from wide disparities in enrollment between primary and preschool education. 9 children in 10 attend primary school (already an insufficient number) while only 16% go to preschool. Given that child development is a period of vulnerability that molds a child’s relationship to the outside world and ability to learn, it is not surprising to observe that one third of all children enrolled in primary school in Laos drop out before completion. This ‘early childhood gap’ is compounded by girls’ and rural ethnic children’s own difficulties of access to primary schooling.

What we wanted to achieve
To improve access to quality education for young children at the preschool and primary school level.

What we achieved
This project reached an end in 2014 and met with great success. We improved the quality of teaching and learning in preschools by training teachers in child care and child-centred pedagogy, and equipping schools with more teaching and learning materials. Simultaneously, we set up a tailored preschool curriculum, renovated classes and equipment, and convinced sometimes reticent parents of the role education plays in building free, successful lives. Target schools have become countrywide models for early childhood care and education: enrollment rates increased at both primary and preschool level, while we also observed a reduction in dropouts and improvements in child health.

The project was assessed in partnership with both the University of Geneva and the UBS Optimus Foundation, with an experimental research component that produced a novel impact measurement model as well as a model for easy replication of project mechanisms by the state across other areas of Laos.

Lieu du projet : Laos
Région : Asie du sud est
Domaine : Early childhood
Durée : 2011 - 2014
Le projet concerne : 6'000 children aged 3-5; 4'000 primary school students
Chef de projet : Ounheuane SAPAKDHY
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