The Education and Sports Sector Working Group (ESSWG) is the main platform for exchange between the government and development partners in Lao PDR and organized in various working groups. In the beginning of the year 2023, the Department on Non-formal Education (DNFE) and DVV International were included as key stakeholders and Co-Chairs in the Focal Group on General Education.
On 5th September a meeting of the afore-mentioned Focal Group on General Education took place in hybrid format gathering a total of 70 participants in Vientiane and online. The objective of the meeting was, among others, to inform about structures, responsibilities, programs and challenges of the non-formal education sector. The Regional Director of DVV International, Christoph Jost, spoke about community learning centers (CLCs), addressing developments at the global and regional policy level as well as the current situation and prospects in Lao PDR. At present, the are 95 officially recognized CLCs in the country providing non-formal education at the local level. The Deputy Director of the Department on Non-formal Education (DNFE), Philany Phisaamay, informed the audience about the next steps for implementing the Lifelong Learning Decree. Last but not least, Margarete Sachs-Israel, Chief of Section for Inclusive Quality Education (IQE) from UNESCO Bangkok provided a most interesting input as regards flexible learning pathways that require stronger linkages between the formal and the non-formal education system.
Following lively discussions it was stressed once more that the meeting was important to raise awareness about the non-formal education sector and that putting lifelong learning into practice can only be achieved through a strong cooperation between all government stakeholders and development partners.