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NUS English academic writing project in Laos a success

29 February 2012

Seated (left to right): Mr Stanley Lee (Director of Programmes and Sponsorship, Temasek Foundation), Ambassador Nair,
H E Mme Lachanthaboune, Dr Mithong Souvanvixay (Director-General, Department of Teacher Education) and Assoc Prof Wu. With them are CELC lecturers and representatives from various Lao Ministries.

The Centre for English Language Communication (CELC) at NUS and Temasek Foundation have successfully completed an English Academic Writing project with the Lao Ministry of Education and Sports. The 15-month initiative, started in December 2010, reviewed and enhanced existing teaching methodologies for English academic writing in teacher training colleges in the Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR).

The project aimed to develop the competencies and capabilities of 15 teacher trainers from five teacher training colleges in Laos in the teaching, testing and investigation of academic writing.

A closing ceremony to mark the occasion on 25 February was attended by Mr Dileep Nair, Singapore's Ambassador to Lao PDR; Her Excellency Vice Minister of Education and Sports Mme Sengdeuane Lachanthaboune; Assoc Prof Wu Siew Mei, Director of CELC; Dr Mithong Souvanvixay, Director-General of the Department of Teacher Education, Lao Ministry of Education; representatives from Temasek Foundation; CELC academic staff and the Lao teacher trainers.

Assoc Prof Wu attributed the project's success to the collaborative and mentorship approach adopted, as well as the combined teaching and research concept which focused on developing capabilities through a ground-up approach.

Temasek Foundation provided a grant of S$220,000 for the project, carried out in four stages. These comprised workshops, an observation cum co-teaching exercise in the Lao teacher colleges and at CELC, and a sharing session by the Lao teacher trainers. The final stage will involve joint publications and/or paper presentations at regional conferences end of this year.