On the morning of 29th September 2020 in the Secondary Vocational Technical School of Pingdu, China, Mr. Zheng Tongsheng, a teacher specialized in mechatronics was holding a capacitive proximity switch to his computer camera, trying to demonstrate how to install it. 2690 km away in Laos, 19 vocational school teachers were watching him from their computers and mobile phones.
This training session on Sensor Technology and Application Cases was the last topic of a 7-day training series. From 21st to 29th September, 9 Chinese teachers from the Pingdu Secondary Vocational Technical School successfully delivered online theoretical trainings on 13 different topics ranging from planting and breeding, food processing, to agricultural electro mechanics, and mechatronics. 26 Lao vocational school teachers from the Vocational Education Development Institute (VEDI) of Laos, the Dongkhamxang Agriculture Technical College, and the Technical College of Vientiane Province participated in the trainings.
The training series are one of the project activities in the project Technical Vocational Education and Training for Rural Jobs in Laos, the first triangular cooperation project announced under the umbrella of the Sino-German Center for Sustainable Development in May 2019 (click here to learn more about the project launching event). Aiming to increase the knowledge and skills of Lao vocational teachers in agriculture-related occupations, the Pingdu Secondary Vocational Technical School, GIZ, and VEDI work closely together to identify and organize training participants from Laos, develop training curricula, and conduct capacity development measures tailored to the needs of Laos. The first pilot trainings were concluded in August 2018 in Pingdu for 20 Laotian teachers.
During the Covid-19 pandemic when international travel is a rarity, innovative approaches were adopted by the partners to keep the project running. The theoretical trainings were conducted through CISCO Webex where trainers and trainees, though separated by distance and time difference, were able to “sit” together in one virtual classroom, thanks to high-speed network and modern communication technology.
Challenges arose from time to time–the trainees were not able to practice during trainings which made it more difficult to comprehend; quite a few of the trainees from Laos were new to online training tools and the unstable Internet in Laos wasn’t helping. However, both of the teachers and trainers tried their best to make the sessions more interactive and lively. The trainers brought not only the presentation slides but also the teaching equipment to the class, and all the questions from the trainees posted in the Chat Box could get responded to whenever there was one.
“Although I can’t visit Pingdu due to Covid-19, the training this week showed me a new approach how to carry out similar ones through internet”, said Ms. Latdavan BOUNYAVET from the Pedagogy for Agriculture Teaching Department in VEDI. “The teachers were very professional. They tried their best to make us understand through different approaches including experiment and demonstration.”
The online theoretical trainings will be followed by Phase II practical trainings once the international travel is safe and resumed. All the teaching materials prepared by the teachers from Pingdu were translated into Lao and will be made available for more Laotian teachers.
To read the news article on the training by Pingdu Secondary Vocational Technical School, please visit here.