United States Hands Over Supplementary Reading Books to the Ministry of Education and Sports

VIENTIANE PROVINCE, LAO PDR — Continuing the United States’ ongoing support for education in the Lao PDR, U.S. Ambassador to the Lao PDR Dr. Peter M. Haymond presented supplementary reading materials on behalf of the United States to Dr. Daravone Kittiphanh, Director of Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) at Saka Primary School in Phonehong District, Vientiane Province on September 15, 2020.  The event, attended by more than 100 people, including representatives from the Ministry of Education and Sports and teachers and students, commemorated International Literacy Day.

The materials, which consist of 29,000 copies of pre-primary story books together with high-quality teaching and learning materials, are being distributed to 227 classrooms.  This school year a total of more than 81,000 materials, supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), will be delivered to 584 schools in four provinces.

“Today’s handover reaffirms our commitment and shared goal, under the U.S.-Laos Comprehensive Partnership, to improve reading outcomes and basic education for all children in Laos, and to promote inclusive education,” said Ambassador Haymond.  “We are proud of our continued support of Laos’ greatest resource — its children. 

To date, the United States has invested more than $120 million to improve basic education in the Lao PDR through a wide range of initiatives, including Learn to Read.  Learn to Read, funded through USAID and implemented by Save the Children, in close partnership with MoES, improves the reading skills of 65,313 students at 850 schools in the provinces of Attapeu, Champasak, Vientiane, and Xiengkhouang.  Learn to Read improves reading outcomes and reading readiness by providing storybooks and supplemental teaching and learning materials, teacher training and support, and community engagement to help parents and caregivers support the education of their children.

In addition to providing learning materials, the United States continues its large-scale School Feeding Program, funded through the United States Department of Agriculture, and implemented by Catholic Relief Services and the World Food Programme.  The U.S. School Feeding Program improves the literacy skills and dietary practices of students in more than 1,700 schools throughout the Lao PDR.

The United States also partners with the Lao PDR on a wide range of activities in other sectors, to improve health and nutrition, facilitate trade and investment, strengthen the rule of law, and counter trafficking in persons.