We are happy to announce the new page “SKU lecturers” on our “TheLaosExperience” blog, where the lecturers of Savannakhet University who participate in the cooperation between Savannakhet University (SKU) and the University of Education Karlsruhe (KUE) as well as the SKU project leaders and coordinators introduce themselves to our readers.
SKU and the KUE Karlsruhe have been cooperating under the “Erasmus+ Mobility Programme” and a “Volunteer Programme” for over two years now. Regular readers will already “know” some of the people involved in the project through their articles on the blog, e.g. Dr Sitha Khemmarath, Dr Phetsamone Khattiyavong, Ms Phetsavanh Somsivilay, Ms Viengvilaiphone Botthoulath, Mr Napha Khothphouthone, Mr Thaithanawanh Keokaisone, Mr Phongsavang Xaikhongkham, Mr Chanthalakone Souydalay, and, on the German side, Prof. Dr. Isabel Martin, Dr. Martin Remmele, and Jun.Prof. Dr. Bernhard Standl, David Schrep, Rebecca Dengler, and Miaoxing Ye.
However, the project has been steadily expanding since the initial period, and now there are many new lecturers at SKU who joined in the cooperation on-site. All these lecturers wrote a short introduction about themselves, and some of them will participate even more actively in our next Erasmus+ project (2020-2022), which will carry out joint teaching, training, and research in “Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship”. You can get to know them on the new page now.
The partnership between SKU in Savannakhet and KUE in Karlsruhe was set in motion in 2017 when Prof Dr Isabel Martin visited SKU to make a first contact and the leaders of SKU returned the visit later that year. Since 2018 both universities have had an official cooperation under the “Erasmus+ Mobility” programme and students and staff from SKU have come to Karlsruhe to study or for staff training. Mr Napha Khothphouthone and Mr Thaithanawanh Keokaisone were the first from SKU to come to study at KUE in 2019 for half a year on “student mobilities” and Ms Viengvilaiphone Botthoulath visited for two months on a staff training mobility. One year later, in the spring and summer of 2020, Mr Chanthalakone Souvydalay and Mr Phongsavang Xaikongkham from SKU also spent one semester studying at KUE in Karlsruhe.
On the other side, lecturers from KUE have visited SKU within the project. Besides Prof. Dr Isabel Martin (English Department), Dr Martin Remmele (Biology Department) joined the project in 2019 and visited again in 2020, and Jun.Prof. Dr Bernhard Standl (KUE IT Department) spent two weeks at SKU in February/March 2020 for collaborative research and teaching and training. We are hoping our Lao collegues Mr Sompasong Khemmarath (Faculty of Economics), Ms Phetsavanh Somsivilay (Faculty of Linguistics), Mr Sitsanou Phouthavong (Faculty of Education/Physics), and Ms Somsanouk Xayyavong (Faculty of IT) can return the research and teaching/training visits at KUE in the spring of 2021 again, after the forced long Covid-break in 2020.
Mr David Schrep was the first KUE volunteer to go to Savannakhet for a longer period in 2018/19 to work together with the English teaching staff at SKU (cf. his introductory posts part 1, part 2, part 3).
I was the first PhD student to go to SKU to do research, and I also volunteered to continue the “Teaching Methodology” course for the English staff that David had started in 2018. Most of the teachers who introduce themselves on the new page took part in David Schrep’s English class in 2018/19 as well as in the course I conducted at SKU before I had to abruptly return to Germany in March.
I hope to get back to continue working with my Lao colleagues soon in 2021.1 Not only once was I astonished by their determination to improve, learn new things, but also share and exchange experiences.
The global pandemic has made it impossible to travel either to Germany or to Laos since March. However, we finally have reason to believe that the situation will improve next year, with a vaccine on the horizon and certain routines established. Together, Prof. Martin and Mr Saythong Insarn from the Ministry of Education and Sports also found out the 12 (!) steps that need to be taken to complete all the necessary paperwork to get approval from 3-4 ministries, the Lao Covid Task Force, 2 embassies, and finally, identified the person in charge of allocating seats on the government flights in and out of Vientiane.
We therefore sincerely hope the cooperation can be more than online meetings and emails again next year and cannot wait to fill our cooperation with live life again!
Text by R. Dengler, additions by I. Martin
Photos by R. Dengler & an SKU student
1 This time hopefully together with Ms Miaoxing Ye, the second KUE doctoral student and lecturer at Wuhan University, who also hopes to conduct research and teach a class at SKU next year.