PADETC marks two years

Remembering the 2nd Anniversary of the Disappearance of PADETC’s Founder, Sombath Somphone and Celebrating the progress of PADETC’s Vision of Education for Sustainable Development was held at the PADETC’s office on December 15th, and attended by over 100 people. A summary description is available here, and more pictures here.



Sombath on EIAs

The people who have the money tend to determine which consultants to hire. If they don’t report in a certain way, they get fired. The two are working together, the government and the private sector. The public is on the receiving end.

Remarks by Sombath at a panel discussion held at the FCCT in Bangkok, Thailand, 10 November 2008.

Sombath on Ecology & Linkages

How far can we live on the ecological credit card before we hit the ecological crisis? When we hit the ecological crisis, I don’t think anyone can bail us out.

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Remarks by Sombath at a panel discussion held at the FCCT in Bangkok, Thailand, 10 November 2008.

Nature & Materialism

Sombath-bamboo-02Our children have no time to exercise their innate curiosities and capacities to explore their world and its links with nature. They have no encouragement to develop their innate emotions of love and care of life and for nature. Time spent by children for nature walks and studying in the open are now replaced by spending time either in extra tuition classes (more cramming and rote learning), in shopping malls, in digital gaming parlors, or in front of the TV. The models of success for children are largely determined by what money can buy. No wonder, their aspirations are all geared around materialism and short-term gratification, and eventually mindless greed.

Sombath, from Talking Points for panel discussion at FCCT in Bangkok, Thailand, 10 November 2008

Sombath on Civil Society in Laos

Civil society does exist in Laos, but in a rather different form. The West tends to see it more legalistically, and we tend to see it more socially. Instead of having a legal contract, we tend to have a social contract where we help each other.

Of course, now we are at the stage where there is the push for legal recognition of the social contract, and I think the most important thing is if people are well-informed; they can voice their opinion. That is the key, how you call it doesn’t matter.

Remarks by Sombath at a panel discussion held at the FCCT in Bangkok, Thailand, 10 November 2008.

Lao national wins Asia's most prestigious prize

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor his tireless efforts among the youth and in community development in the countryside, he has received Asia’s most prestigious award. It is only the second time during its nearly 50 year history that the Ramon Magsaysay Award has been bestowed upon a Lao national. The first one was Keo Viphakone in 1967, for Government Service.

Vientiane Times, 10 August 2005.

Materially Rich and Spiritually Poor…

Let’s look at our model of development as it exists today. The development model that is widely practiced today is not very sustainable. So many things do not fit, thus so many “failures” just like in our “schooling”. For example, the world is so rich and yet there is widespread poverty. Unprecedented advances have been made in agriculture and aquaculture, yet more people go to bed hungry each day than ever before. Some nations have become so powerful, but the world has become ever more insecure. One can be so rich in materials but yet so poor emotionally and spiritually. And the list goes on.Bust

Sombath, in “The Interdependencies Between Education and Sustainable Development,” presented at the 10th Asia-Pacific Programme of Educational Innovation for Development (APEID) in Bangkok, Thailand, December, 2008

Education is too Important…

sombath_fishing_skillsEducation is too important to be left only in the hands of teachers and bureaucrats at the Ministry of Education. Educators and teachers need to work hand-in-hand with parents, the community, the private sector, and most especially, children themselves to transform the business of education.

Education has to become more participatory, experiential and stimulating. It has to be more fun. Both the process and content of education have to unleash the potential of every child to solve life problems. Education should be able to integrate information and knowledge into a coherent whole.

Sombath, in “Experiential Learning in Lao Rice Fields,” SangSaeng, Summer, 2008.