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Phonesavanh Thepphasoulithone

SFU degree will improve education in Laos

October 8, 2009

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Leaving her family in Laos for three years while she pursued a PhD in education at SFU wasn’t an easy experience for Phonesavanh Thepphasoulithone. She was alone in a foreign culture and researching and studying in a foreign language. "There were times when I have been so sad, weak and hopeless," she admits, "but I have met so many kind and helpful friends and staff who share their feelings, insights and experiences."

Thepphasoulithone is one of five PhD students and 25 master’s students from Cambodia, Thailand and Laos to participate in SFU’s Adult Education for Economic Development project, funded by the Canadian International Development Agency, to strengthen continuing education programs in South East Asia.

A member of Champasak University’s faculty of education in the Paske province of Laos, Thepphasoulithone’s new PhD in curriculum theory and implementation guarantees her a key role developing teacher education and continuing education in Laos. Her thesis examiners commended her for producing an outstanding thesis with a stellar review of research into teachers’ learning and professional development in both western and Asian contexts. She is only the fifth faculty member at her university to obtain a doctorate.

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