By Phaisythong Chandara
September 3, 2012
Education officials and concerned sectors from both public and private schools and institutes around the country need to pay close attention to improving education standards in order to achieve the target of wiping out illiteracy by 2015.
Minister of Education and Sports Dr Phankham Viphavanh outlined the ambitious plan on Friday to mark the new school year 2012-2013, which begins today.
In a speech delivered to media, Dr Phankham said that the most important thing was to advise all education departments, districts, teachers and village leaders around the country to work with local authorities to encourage illiterate people to return to school, especially in rural areas.
“By learning to read and write,” he said, “they will improve and develop their lives and their communities.”
“We should strengthen and expand our education system in order to make our ‘Education for All’ plan a reality,” Dr Phankham added.
“To reach the government’s target, we require all services and departments involved to work together to raise the standard of our education system in all parts of the country.”
The Minister stated that time is running short for the 2015 deadline, and officials emphasised the need for all groups to cooperate to overcome educational disparities in Laos and achieve quality education for all.
Making sure that everyone benefits from a good education is critical to unleashing the human resource potential in the country and achieving the goal of growing out of least developed country status by 2020.
During 2011-2012, the enrolment rate of children aged 3-5 rose from 24.50 percent to 28.6 percent while the national primary school enrolment rates have increased to 95.2 percent, up from 94.1.
At the same time, enrolment in national lower secondary schools rose from 62.90 percent to 64.7 percent and in secondary schools increased to 34.7 percent, up from 33.40 percent.
In addition, Vientiane and the provinces of Champassak and Xieng Khuang as well as 112 districts around the country have been awarded the status of being free from illiteracy. Despite these improvements to education around the country, through a policy formulated by the ministry under the lead of the Party and government, many challenging problems still remain, especially with regard to the education of girls in rural communities, many of whom are not entering or staying in school.
“ Providing a good education is important in developing human resources and equipping the next generation to build the country’s economy to international standards,” according to Dr Phankham.
For the 2012-2013 academic year, Dr Phankham also encouraged all concerned sectors to work together in order to ease the challenges, such as extending the education system to rural areas, addressing the lack teachers and improving the curriculum.
The ministry has set new enrolment targets to achieve. For children aged 3-5 years a rise to 32 percent, up from 28.6 percent, and for primary schools a rise from 95.2 percent to 96 percent, throughout the country.
The lower secondary school enrolment rate will rise from 64.7 percent to 66 percent and the rate for secondary schools will increase to 38 percent, up from 34.7 percent.
“The education system needs to progress so that our management and policies are in line with standards in other countries. Then we will have a new generation of workers to better develop our country,” Dr Phankham said.