Australia helping more Lao children get to school
Mr Vanhkham Pommachanh, School Principal, and teachers and children of Viengkeo School. Our friends and colleagues from the Ministry of Education and Sports and from the District Education and Sports Bureau. Our friends and partners from UNICEF. Ladies and Gentlemen.
I am very pleased to be at Viengkeo Primary School today as we celebrate International Children’s Day – a timely occasion for us focus on how we can improve the learning environment for children.
Australia is delighted to be working with the Lao Government and UNICEF on the vital development challenge of improving the quality of, and access to, basic education across the Lao PDR.
Education remains the flagship of Australia’s annual $56 million development program in the Lao PDR.
We are committed to helping more Lao children go to primary school and to stay in primary school.
Inclusiveness is at the heart of Australia’s education work. We want to assist more boys and girls, including those with disabilities, to complete a quality basic education, in line with one of the Lao Government’s core development objectives.
This means we will be working in some of the most remote and disadvantaged regions of the country.
An important part of this work is to provide water and sanitation facilities and hygiene education in primary schools, along with school meals. We want to ensure more children can go to primary school, and are better able to learn.
Today, I am delighted to launch Australia’s new program of support for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Schools. This program will provide much-needed sanitation facilities and safe water supply to 400 schools and over 50 communities across the Lao PDR.
I want to highlight UNICEF’s central role. UNICEF experts have worked closely with Viengkeo School on these pilot water, sanitation and hygiene activities.
This pilot project has helped us learn and apply important lessons to ensure the new facilities we’re putting in schools around the country are the best possible. As a result of your good work, the program is now ready to be scaled up across 56 districts across the country.
Thank you to all those involved in making this pilot such a success.
To the principal, teachers, students and parents of Viengkeo Primary School, we wish you every success. Enjoy the new facilities. Maintain them. And we’ll be looking to your leadership to set an example for other schools to follow on the importance of safe hygiene for the health and wellbeing of the school community, and the education of our next generations.
Thank you and good luck.