1. Project phases
1.1. “Teaching English in Laos”
1.2. “Bi-directional Teaching and Learning”
1.3. “Education for Sustainable Development & Global Citizenship”
1.4. “Digital Citizenship & Future Work”

2. Funding

3. Formal cooperations 


1.1. First Project Phase: “Teaching English in Laos” (2015-2018)
Project leaders: University of Education Karlsruhe & Angels for Children Foundation

Project partners: Ban Sikeud Primary School, Ban Phang Heng Primary School, Ban Phang Heng Secondary School
Sunshine School, Lao-German Technical College

From 2015 to 2018, our Professional Learning Community (PLC) brought together Lao and German teachers and pre-service teachers at primary school, secondary school, and vocational college level to tandem-work and tandem-teach lessons in Lao classrooms twice a year for the duration of 2-5 months. As we are English teachers, we mainly teach English. However, we all have a second subject as well, so we soon also tandem-taught lessons in biology, chemistry, physics, maths, and – in the end – even German. In order to be able to communicate with our Lao tandem-partners in the first place, we taught them one English lesson a day.

Team I was a pilot and consisted of 5 German graduates and their two mentors, Prof. Isabel Martin, professor of English at the University of Education Karlsruhe (PH Karlsruhe), and Johannes Zeck, manager of the Angels for Children Foundation (AfC). The project snowballed quickly, so from 2016 on we sent larger teams (8-10) from Karlsruhe to four different Lao schools and the Lao-German Technical College (LGTC). We grew into a group of a few hundred people whose work and paths criss-crossed.

The cooperation contract between the two leading institutions PH Karlsruhe and AfC spanned five years, 2015 to 2020. Even if the contract was not renewed as Covid-19 had started badly affecting international working conditions, our partnership continued. We are in touch about education and Laos-related matters.

Angels for Children decided to channel their efforts into the education of apprentices of engineering who came from the supported schools. (The first candidates just completed their second year of vocational training at BHS in Germany.) The University of Education Karlsruhe set up their own cooperation with one of the partner schools (Sunshine School) and the LGTC. Our last two teams (Team X and Team XI) worked there on this new basis, but Karlsruhe had gained a new partner in the meantime, too: the Vocational Education Development Institute (VEDI), a vocational teacher-training college, close by the LGTC.


1.2. Second Project Phase: “Bi-directional teaching and learning” (2018-2021)
Project leaders: University of Education Karlsruhe & Savannakhet University

Volunteer project partners:
Ban Sikeud Primary School, Ban Phang Heng Primary School, Ban Phang Heng Secondary School (until 2019)
Lao-German Technical College, Vocational Education Development Institute, Sunshine School

During the 2017 “Fact-Finding Mission” – financed by the DAAD and approved by the Lao Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) – Prof. Martin and her research assistant visited 26 institutions of education in central and south Laos. In her research sabbatical in 2017/18, she visited colleges and the university in the north, which again was made possible by the official permission of the MoES. Possible cooperations were discussed and sometimes drafted, and a few were followed up by pro-active leaders of those institutions, most notably the University of Savannakhet (SKU) and the Vocational Education Development Institute (VEDI). The SKU leaders visited us in Karlsruhe 6 months later, so the next step was to write an application for an Erasmus+ Mobility project. We got it!

From 2018 to 2021, PH Karlsruhe and SKU researchers, doctoral students, and student-researchers from the departments of English, biology, IT, technics and physics worked together in the Erasmus+ project “Bi-directional teaching and learning”. We received attention and support by two Ambassadors, the Lao-German Friendship Foundation, the Lao Minister of Education and several other Lao Ministries, and, last, but not least, the Central Committee of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party. The two partner universities held an International Symposium together in October 2019 on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of SKU about “The Internationalization of Higher Education Institutions”.

Our PLC serves the “Agenda 2030” and – through transboundary tandem-work – contributes to “Quality Education”, which is key to tackling the global challenges of the 21st century. We teach and learn from each other and progress together through the different stages of Global Citizenship, and we improve our work as global educators. Three doctoral dissertations officially started within this project in 2019, 2020, and 2021, and new academic posts are published on this blog on a regular basis.

Three other Lao institutions of education invited Prof. Martin back for more talks in 2018 and 2019, and new tandem-teaching projects were planned for 2020 and 2021 at the Teacher Training College and Xaysombath Technical College in Savannakhet and the National University of Laos (NUOL) in Vientiane. Two universities in Sevilla and Zurich showed interest in joining these cooperations.
Three new partners in the Asia-Pacific planned to visit us in Savannakhet in 2020 in order to join our tandem-work and also do collaborative research. The partners in question – Deakin University (Melbourne), The Education University (Hong Kong), and Beijing Normal University (Beijing) – were then also stopped in their tracks by Covid-19, like us.

Dissemination and impact have become important – hence more academic articles on educational and global issues on this blog. As travelling abroad had become difficult if not impossible by the autumn of 2020, Prof. Martin’s students from her course “Global English(es), Global TEFL & Global Citizenship Education” also started writing articles. They now contribute to the series “Language Education & Global Citizenship”.

Only one student (Team XI.5) managed to get a visa for entering Laos in 2021, with much help from our partners in the Ministries and the Lao Embassy in Berlin. As Lao P.D.R. stopped issueing Certificates of Entry for foreigners again in August 2021, following high infection rates brought in from migrant workers, we will regrettably not be able to send our Team XII this autumn/winter, and it remains unclear when our doctoral students can travel again to collect their data.


1.3. Third Project Phase: “Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship” (202o-2023)
Project leaders: University of Education Karlsruhe & Savannakhet University

Volunteer project partners: Lao-German Technical College, Vocational Education Development Institute, Sunshine School

The second Erasmus+ Mobilities project application by PH Karlsruhe and SKU was also successful: We now run a project targeting the “Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship”. It could not have started at a better time in light of the current eco-political and educational global challenges. However, it could not have started at a worse time in light of the current immigration and quarantine regulations. We still hope to run this project at its fullest capacity next year.


1.4. Fourth Project Phase: Note to potential future partners
Anyone interested in our project: Feel free to contact us by email or invite us to your online Meeting Room. This was – from the very beginning – to be the projected Fourth Project Phase anyway: “Digital Teaching and Cooperation”. We had not planned to launch this before 2023, but we can always reverse the order of our plans. One day, we can meet up live in Laos once immigration is possible and plannable again.


2. Funding 

Angels for Children Foundation
2015 – 2020: 10 tandem-teaching teams at 3 schools in Ban Sikeud and Ban Phang Heng

BHS & German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
2016-2020: 8 tandem-teams at the Lao-German-Technical College (LGTC)

Erasmus+Mobility Programme
2018-2021: “Bi-directional learning and teaching”: University of Education Karlsruhe (PH Karlsruhe) and Savannakhet University (SKU)
2020-2023: “Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship Education”: PH Karlsruhe and SKU

2017: “Fact-Finding Mission in Laos”: PH Karlsruhe (Prof. Martin)
2020-2021: PH Karlsruhe volunteers (Team X and XI.5)

2019 -2021: PH Karlsruhe volunteers (Team X and XI.5)
2020-2021: PH Karlsruhe volunteers (Team X and XI.5)

Partners in Vientiane (accommodation, visa, lunches & transportation for volunteers)
2020-2021: LGTC
2020-2021: Vocational Education Development Institute (VEDI)
2022: Sunshine School

Stiftung der Deutschen Wirtschaft
2018-2022: Doctoral student Rebecca Dengler


3. Formal cooperations

Inter-Institutional Agreement with Savannakhet University (Savannakhet, Laos)
Agreement for Academic Cooperation & Agreement on Student Exchange with The Education University Hong Kong (Hong Kong, China)
MoU with the Lao-German Technical College (Vientiane, Laos) 
MoU with Sunshine School (Vientiane, Laos) (MoU)
MoD with the Vocational Education Development Institute (Vientiane, Laos) 

In preparation (planned for 2020, delayed by Covid-19):

with Deakin University (Melbourne, Australia)
with Beijing Normal University (Beijing, China)
with Wuhan University of Education (Wuhan, China)

Lao P.D.R.
with the Teacher Training College (Savannakhet, Laos)
with Xaysombath Technical College (Savannakhet, Laos)
with the National University of Laos (Vientiane, Laos)


I. Martin
(as of September 2021)

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