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NEW UPDATES Asean Affairs 16 December 2014  

TU-organised event offers plenty of material for intellectual pursuits

Lao students and teachers recently enjoyed a book fair in Vientiane thanks to a collaboration between Thai and Laotian universities.

Thailand's Thammasat University (TU) and the Laos' National University of Laos (NUOL) joined forces to organise the 4th Book Fair in the latter's stadium from 8-12 December.

Another TU book fair was also held for two days at the National Health Science University of Laos this month.

Available at the fair were books on science, health, the law, computers and many other subjects covering a wide range of intellectual pursuits for students and teachers.

NUOL has some 30,000 students at its 11 faculties.

Environment student Chinda Sombatsavan, 25, said she came to the book fair to buy a Japan-language textbook as well as books on how to raise catfish and organic agriculture. Most of the books were in Thai with a few in English.

"There are no such textbooks in Laos for sale. Sometimes, I may run into some but not at affordable prices like at this book fair," he said.

He said he and many other Laotian students could read Thai.

Laotian-language major and second-year student Soudavone Intavong said she wanted to buy English books and Thai cookbooks.

"I want to learn Thai cooking because I like tom yam and other soups," she said, adding that she wanted to read English grammar to boost her academic capacity.

Fellow Laotian-language major Saengphet Xaiyaket said she wanted to buy agriculture textbooks for her parents and elder brother, as they had a farm while she chose for herself Japanese-language learning books.

"This book fair is really good. I can get many books," she added.

NUOL vice president Assoc Prof Phout Simmalavong said students would be able to expand their knowledge via the book fair.

The goal of the fair was to promote a learning and academic environment among Laotian instructors, students and members of the public.

The event, which also aimed to strengthen the bond between the TU and NUOL, included seminars that provided greater opportunities for Laotian students to pursue their studies at TU while emphasising TU's role as an international educational institute.

During the book fair, TU provided new books for the NUOL library and held training courses for NUOL officials.

TU bookstore chairman Prof Dr Surapon Nitikraipot said the event enhanced the ambience of learning among instructors and students and deepened the country's love of reading.

"This has also strengthened the network of cooperation between TU and the Lao PDR, which was in line with both governments' policy of educational and human resource co-operation," he said.

The event was held after the huge success of the first three book fairs.

Surapon said the 2013 event generated about Bt1 million in sales, just enough to cover the cost of staging it.

He said the best-selling books were about language learning and economics.--The Nation

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