Australian Embassy
Lao People's Democratic Republic
Km 4, Thadeua Road, Watnak (P.O. Box 292)


Memorandum of Subsidiary Arrangement Signing Ceremony
Basic Education Quality and Access in Lao PDR (BEQUAL) Project

HE Dr Phankham Viphavanh, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education and Sports.
HE Michelle Goffin, Charge d’Affaires, Delegation of the European Union.
Our partners and friends from the Ministry of Education and Sports, from NGOs and from development partners. Ladies and gentlemen.

I am delighted to join you today as we formalise our commitment to work together over the next four years and beyond, to ensure more Lao boys and girls complete a quality basic education.

Education is at the very heart of Australia’s aid program in the Lao PDR. It is a sector in which Australia has worked hard for over 15 years to build close relationships and understanding with the Lao Ministry of Education and Sports, and with our other partners.

I believe we are well placed to capitalise on this cooperation to support Laos’ next generations of business people, teachers, community leaders, tradespeople, engineers and officials.

Through this program, Australia will provide assistance - both technical and financial - to support the core business of the Ministry of Education and Sports.

Australia will work side by side with the Ministry to develop the curriculum, teachers and schools needed to ensure children go to primary school, and stay in primary school.

We will also draw on the expertise of the World Food Programme, UNICEF and non-government organisations. These partners are well placed to help break down barriers to education, including in some of the most remote and disadvantaged areas of the country.

Finally, I am delighted this program will benefit from an exciting, new collaboration with the European Union.

As joint co-chairs of the education sector working group, Australia and the EU share a commitment to ensure our support for the education sector remains relevant, well-coordinated and coherent.

I would like to congratulate all involved in the development of this program. I thank Dr Phankham in particular, and his staff at the Ministry of Education and Sports, for their leadership and support. And I acknowledge the important contribution of all our partners.

I look forward to working closely with you all to ensure more Lao children receive a quality education, and are given the opportunity to reach their potential.

Thank you and good luck.