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Policy Research on Early Childhood Care and Education Practitioner’s Status and Professional Development in Lao PDR

Awareness is growing in Asia-Pacific around the importance of Early Childhood Care and Education. However, despite the expansion of these services in the region, there is still an acute shortage of evidence upon which to base effective policies and programmes that support ECCE teacher training in developing countries.

Lao PDR is a case in point. The country’s government is committed to achieving the Education for All (EFA) goals and, with a view to meeting the first one, the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) has formulated several key policy and strategy documents on or related to ECCE. Nevertheless enrolment rates in ECCE programmes in Lao PDR remain low.

UNESCO Bangkok has been working with the MoES to remedy this situation. The office has been supporting the ministry in its efforts to analyse existing ECCE policies and practices as well as identify concrete policy options to improve the quality of ECCE in Lao PDR, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children.

This research will specifically focus on the status and professional development of ECCE practitioners, including caregivers and teachers, based on the country research guidelines developed by UNESCO Bangkok and UNICEF EAPRO.

Along with their skills and knowledge, the level of motivation of practitioners is essential to the successful delivery of ECCE in any context and the professional status they are accorded has a direct impact on this. By investigating and analysing stakeholders’ perspectives on ECCE practitioners in Lao PDR, this research will also inform policies and practices that are likely to raise practitioners’ status, thereby motivating them and making them more effective in their work.

The research is undergoing and is expected to be completed in July 2014.