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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        20  June 2011

Laos stresses educational reform

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Laos is making changes under a second education reform. Leaders of the socialist regime in Vientiane are aiming to lessen poverty and educational inequity as well as develop modern industry and value added agriculture. They are also seeking international financial support to overcome obstacles and reach these achievements.

Vocational graduates will play a crucial role creating value added agriculture when 10 special economic zones, due to be set up by 2020, come into being. These zones will enjoy trade in goods from neighbouring countries and local processed products will also be sold there.

Sengsomphone Viravouth, head of the Department of Planning and Cooperation at Laos' Education Ministry, disclosed the country's educational improvements on behalf of Lao Education Minister Phankham Viphavanh in a recent interview.

What is Laos doing under its second education reform?

The first education reform was between 2005-2010. The second started from 2011. We'll produce more vocational graduates to support the growth of industry, and some of them will support processed agricultural products for export, run by locals in different parts of the country.

Each province grows different plants. So, the vocational graduates will help add value to the agricultural produce.

Ten special economic zones will be established by 2020, where goods from neighbouring countries will be traded and local processed products will be sold.

However, we have a crisis in the education system. Vocational education produces about 15,000 graduates, while higher education generates up to 100,000 graduates.

Vocational fields are not attractive here because it is difficult to find a job after graduation. Salaries are low.

So, the salary structure will be adjusted to make vocational education more attractive. Infrastructure or the learning environment will be improved.

Teacher allocation to remote areas will help strengthen basic education in those areas and increase education access.

The trial is ongoing.


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