On 8th February 2022, DVV International and the Department for Non-Formal Education of the Ministry of Education and Sports expressed their mutual commitments in their traditional hand-over and contract signing ceremony held at the Vocational Education Development Institute (VEDI). The ceremony, which was followed by a sharing-and-learning workshop on the future of non-formal education, was also attended by Dr. Phout Simmalavong, the Minister of Education and Sports and the German Ambassador to Lao PDR, Mrs. Annette Knobloch.
DVV International, the German Adult Education Association, supports the establishment of sustainable structures for adult education and lifelong learning in Lao PDR. For many years, the Department of Non-Formal Education (DNFE) in the Ministry of Education and Sports has been its main partner. In the ceremony, DVV International and the DNFE pledged their commitment to the mutual objectives and 2000 diaries, 1500 calendars, 500 wall calendars and 400 DVV newsletters were handed over to DNFE. The handing over certificate was signed by SIsana Boupha, Director General of the Department and Dr. Johann Heilmann, Regional Director for Southeast Asia of DVV International. The two sides further signed an agreement on the activities that will be carried out with financial support from the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development in 2022. These activities will focus on the implementation of the Decree for Lifelong Learning, further strengthening of the structures of the non-formal education system and the piloting of adult education approaches benefitting especially women in rural and remote areas.
In his speech, Dr. Phout Simmalavong congratulated the two partners and expressed his wish that the comprehensive concept of lifelong learning will further take root in Lao PDR. The German Ambassador, Mrs Annette Knobloch, stressed the importance of adult and non-formal education, especially in a time were the full consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic are not yet fully known. With reference to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) she emphasized that nobody should be “left behind”. Indeed, this is one of the crucial endeavours of non-formal education in Lao PDR. In his statement, Dr. Johann Heilmann stressed the importance of producing visible results in order for people to believe in non-formal education.
The ceremony was followed by a sharing-and-learning workshop which focused on the sustainability of Community Learning Centres, which are considered as the heart of non-formal education provision at village level and on possibilities for the use of online tools in non-formal education. On these and other approaches, DVV International and the DNFE will continue to work in the current three-year project phase from 2021 to 2023. Further partners contributing to the project are the Faculty of Education of the National University of Laos, the Non-Formal Education Development Centres and the Rural Development Agency.