Laos: MOU signed on inclusive education project with European Union

VIENTIANE, July 19 (Vientiane Times/ANN): The European Union (EU) and Humanity and Inclusion have granted more than US$1.4 million to fund a project named “Sowing the Seeds of Inclusive Education” for children with developmental disabilities.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the project was signed on Friday by the Country Operations Manager of Humanity and Inclusion, Reinier Carabain, and Director General of the Department of External Relations under the Ministry of Education and Sports, Dr Silinthone Saklorkham.

Carabain said the project would start on July 16, 2021, and end on September 30, 2024. It will be rolled out in Viengxay and Xamneua districts in Huaphan province and Pakxe and Bachieng districts in Champassak province.

The project will be implemented in 10 villages in Huaphan province and 10 villages in Champassak province.

Three of the key activities will be to strengthen the capacities of two Civil Society Organisations, namely the Association for Autism and the Intellectual Disability Association.

Another goal is to improve targeted communities and parents in advocating for the right to education for children with developmental disabilities, to increase their access to primary education.

The project will aim to strengthen the capacity of teachers, school principals and others to ensure that children with developmental disabilities have access to inclusive teaching and learning.

The total project budget is US$1,488,000, with the European Union providing US$1,116,000 and Humanity and Inclusion providing US$372,000.

The project will support 200 children with functional limitations in the target villages.

It will also benefit Village Education Development Committees, child care-takers, pre-primary school teachers, Grade I and 2 teachers, school principals and government education officials from the central to district level. The final beneficiaries are the children with developmental disabilities. Project staff will screen 200 children who are believed to have functional limitations, following discussions with local authorities.

Following the signing of the MOU, Humanity and Inclusion, the Association for Autism and the Intellectual Disability Association will hold provincial level meetings in Huaphan and Champassak provinces in order to map the children with functional limitations in the target districts. District officials will be invited to these meetings.

If the project cannot reach the target number of 200 children to be screened in the 20 target villages, screening may be expanded to other villages in the same districts. - Vientiane Times/ANN

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