Minister stresses need for education reform

By Phaisythong Chandara
June 14, 2011

Dr Phankham Viphavanh ( second right ) and other education officials chair the meeting.

Hundreds of education officials are gathering in Vientiane this week to evaluate progress towards targets set under the education development plan for 2010-2011.

The four-day meeting opened yesterday and will continue until Thursday under the chairmanship of the Minister of Education Dr Phankham Viphavanh.

The aim of the meeting is to give participants the opportunity to share ideas, experiences and lessons learned regarding the plan, according to the ministry.

During yesterday’s session participants listened to a speech by Dr Phankham on bolstering education reform.

He encouraged participants to continue working hard to improve the nation’s education system by holding regular teacher training courses and by providing vocational education options for students.

“We should regard this as central to improving the quality of teachers and students who will one day become government officials – they should be taught good morals and to be diligent,” Dr Phankham said.

“Improving the quality of education has long been considered one of the most effective means of helping poor countries to develop, as it ensures a better future standard of living.”

Education development must focus on improving teaching quality and curriculums, training school administrators, building more schools and introducing new teaching and learni ng techniques, he said.

In order to achieve targets set out in the national educati on strategic plan, Dr Phankham encouraged officials to work hard towards the goal of making education accessible to everyone by 2015.

He said compared to the recent improvements in infrastructure, the development of technical and vocational education and training is poor, and the standard of education in rural areas remains low .

“If we want to improve the quality of education, we must do more to develop the general education system to bridge the gap between the rural and urban areas. We need to provide more learning materials – especially in rural areas,” Dr Phankham said.

The ministry’s recent focus has been on teacher, curriculum and textbook development, as well as the improvement of teaching-learning materials and methods.

Resources have improved at all levels in terms of both quantity and quality. Education services have expanded, particularly in remote areas, which historically have low enrolment rates.

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