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11 Jul 2017 109 views
 
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photoblog image A short visit to Laos #7

A short visit to Laos #7

We are visiting a local Village School, about 15km up the hill from Pakse city.

 

Koen is a Travel Agent, and one of his roles is the inspection of places that are, or might be, included in a travel program experience offered by his company. This school is already part of a program offered to Tourist Philanthropists wishing to spend a few days of their travel trying to do good stuff for folks who are less well-off than they are. The school is in a poor Village, is in poor repair, and has almost zero resources. The idea is that tourists will spend a few days living in a house near the school, to get authentic local conditions awareness, and will assist in minor repairs of school buildings. Koen says the program has been in operation for a couple of years and attracts occasional paying customers.

 

I am a bit under-whelmed by it all.

 

The youngsters, of course, are lovely kids and put on a bit of a show for me when it becomes evident to them that they have my attention...industriously sweeping the classroom floors, collecting refuse in the yard, that sort of thing.

 

The kids all wear uniforms...the boys wear long black trousers and white shirts...the girls wear black sarongs with a broad white hem, and white shirts.

 

The teachers seem to be uniformly of the low-energy type, and the classrooms are bereft of any material that would indicate what the kids are taught or how they are taught, although I did find the following pictures on a wall in one room. [I cannot help but compare this to the scene at a Village school across the border in Thailand, where classrooms are...relatively...groaning under the weight of books and teaching materials].

 

Laos School

 

 

 

 

A short visit to Laos #7

We are visiting a local Village School, about 15km up the hill from Pakse city.

 

Koen is a Travel Agent, and one of his roles is the inspection of places that are, or might be, included in a travel program experience offered by his company. This school is already part of a program offered to Tourist Philanthropists wishing to spend a few days of their travel trying to do good stuff for folks who are less well-off than they are. The school is in a poor Village, is in poor repair, and has almost zero resources. The idea is that tourists will spend a few days living in a house near the school, to get authentic local conditions awareness, and will assist in minor repairs of school buildings. Koen says the program has been in operation for a couple of years and attracts occasional paying customers.

 

I am a bit under-whelmed by it all.

 

The youngsters, of course, are lovely kids and put on a bit of a show for me when it becomes evident to them that they have my attention...industriously sweeping the classroom floors, collecting refuse in the yard, that sort of thing.

 

The kids all wear uniforms...the boys wear long black trousers and white shirts...the girls wear black sarongs with a broad white hem, and white shirts.

 

The teachers seem to be uniformly of the low-energy type, and the classrooms are bereft of any material that would indicate what the kids are taught or how they are taught, although I did find the following pictures on a wall in one room. [I cannot help but compare this to the scene at a Village school across the border in Thailand, where classrooms are...relatively...groaning under the weight of books and teaching materials].

 

Laos School

 

 

 

 

comments (11)

Very good photo's to illustrate a rather sad (but all too common) story.
Ray: The positives are:
1. Girls attend the school
2. There is a school in the village, and it has some funding for Teachers' salaries.

Lack of resources is a worry, though, and I don't recall even seeing lights in the classrooms.
  • Philine
  • Germany
  • 11 Jul 2017, 05:55
Oh, I remember the village school where you are teaching English - and now this poor school - but I think that the children are learning something essential for their life.
Ray: One of the important learnings, even from a school so bereft of resources, is the opportunity for developing inter-personal skills, Philine.
  • Chris
  • Not Nowhere
  • 11 Jul 2017, 06:58
This is all rather sad. Is the country quite this destitute?
Ray: The country is the poorest in SE Asia, Chris. The political environment is communist, but in actuality all is skewed heavily to the enrichment of a very small "elite".
  • Lisl
  • Bath, England
  • 11 Jul 2017, 06:58
It must have made you want to use your own teaching skills to add some interest to their day
Ray: I was nearly tempted to get the kids together and teach them a happy song, but had been told we were observing only.
  • Alan
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 11 Jul 2017, 07:31
Sounds like chalk and cheese. It is a great shame that a seemingly arbitrary line on a map can make such a difference to the resources available to schools. I can just imagine the outrage in UK schools if it suggested that perhaps the children should help with the cleaning. The philanthropists sounds like they are just tinkering around the edges.
Ray: Thailand's Education System is hardly competent, Alan, but is way ahead of that of Laos.

I am all for expecting the kids to contribute to the running of the school by doing a bit of tidying and cleaning...but with the officials rather than instead of the officials. There are no cleaning/maintaining staff...only teachers.

I don't support this pretend philanthropy.
  • Philine
  • Germany
  • 11 Jul 2017, 07:38
The children have to help with the cleaning in our school, too, but not in this way. I see that the children don't have shoes. A very sad story!
Ray: Some of the children wear shoes to school but, in keeping with behavioural standards in this part of the World, do not wear them in the classroom.

No-one wears shoes in our house.
I am not sure that turning a school into a tourist attraction is a very good idea.
Ray: It does not work for me, either, Bill.
  • gutteridge
  • Somewhere is deep space
  • 11 Jul 2017, 10:14
Fascinating again Ray. Great series.
Ray: I am pleased you are finding it interesting, Chad.
They obviously are teaching the kids some house cleaning skills.
Ray: It looks like "Domestic Science" is on the agenda for sure, Mary, but little evidence of other subjects.
It sounds as though the children in the school aren't really being given much of a chance.
Ray: Laos has a long way to go before the 99% are regarded as being treated well by the 1%, Brian.

Despite this, I find the 99% to be mostly very decent and likable people.
And a rather restricted curriculum, I imagine.

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