Since 2015, the concept of lifelong learning has officially been introduced in the United Nations' Agenda 2030. Laos has now also adopted its framework on this basis. On 23 March 2020, Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith signed the Decree for Lifelong Learning, which has been developed in recent years with the support of DVV International.
The decree will allow a broader view on education and bury old ideas based on strict separation between formal and non-formal education. For teachers and policy makers, this is a great opportunity to try out new learning opportunities and to recognise all forms of learning; formal, non-formal and informal. The decree can now serve as a guide to rethink educational plans and programmes and to develop new innovative approaches that will benefit all people in the country in the long term.
DVV International supported the development process of the decree, which was steered by the partner department for non-formal education (DNFE) in the Ministry of Education and Sport (MoES). For many years, DVV International has provided expertise, organized advisory meetings with representatives of various Laotian ministries and connected DNFE with international partners such as the Centre for Lifelong Learning of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO CELL), the Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE) and the UNESCO regional office in Bangkok. All have been accompanying the development process since then.
With the final signing of the decree, the first steps towards implementation can now begin. The adoption of the decree is central for the work at macro level, on which the regional office of DVV International will build its work in the coming years. The first step will be the establishment of a national steering committee for the implementation of the decree. Subsequently, concrete approaches are to be developed which will contribute to strengthen adult education in Laos. In addition to continuing its cooperation with DNFE, DVV International is also planning further cooperation with the Faculty of Education of the National University of Laos in order to integrate the topic of lifelong learning more efficiently into teacher training. The official launch of the decree, which was planned at a conference, has had to be postponed for the time being due to the corona pandemic.