U.S. Ambassador and Minister of Education and Sports Sign Letter of Agreement on English Teaching Assistance

VIENTIANE, Lao PDR – U.S. Ambassador Rena Bitter and Minister Sengdeuane Lachanthaboun signed a five-year Letter of Agreement on U.S. Government assistance for English teaching in Laos.  This agreement between the U.S. Embassy and Lao Ministry of Education and Sports will help strengthen English language instruction and offer cultural insights for students in Laos.

In 2018, the U.S. Embassy plans to continue sponsoring ten Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (ETAs) and two State Department English Language Fellows (ELFs) to jointly work with Lao counterparts at Ministry of Education and Sports, Teacher Training Colleges, National University of Laos, High Schools, and other learning institutions within the country.  The American ETAs are assigned to jointly teach English at Lao learning institutions and the American Center in Vientiane, while the ELFs primarily work with the Ministry of Education and other Lao partners on curriculum review, advising and development to enhance the capacity of English teaching and mutual understanding among in-service and pre-service teachers.

“English language skills are important for Lao students, teachers, business people, and government officials to uncover new opportunities for cooperation with people from the United States, as well as people from other countries in Asia and throughout the world,” said Ambassador Bitter. “This program represents a joint effort between the United States and the Government of Lao PDR as we support the country’s efforts to meet its development goals.”

Since 2011, the U.S. government has assigned a total of approximately fifty ETAs to teach English in Lao schools as part of this program, starting at National University and gradually expanding to a half dozen educational institutions in Vientiane Capital and other provinces. The number of ELFs has also grown over time, and primarily offers curriculum development advice and teacher training for the Ministry of Education and Sports, and related organizations in Laos.

This agreement will help ensure steady and predictable administration of U.S. English teaching assistance for Lao educational institutions, which will deepen the impact of the exchange experiences for Lao participants.