Education System in Laos - An Overview
During early 17th century, Education in Laos was supplied through temple schools. These schools provided Buddhist Education to young people, which introduced certain level of basic Education and Literacy in the region. In 1917 the ruling French Government passed laws on Education, and led to a common Education structure based on French System.
After 1955, the Royal Lao Government with assistance from United States started to build Elementary and Secondary Schools. The Higher Education first came to Laos in 1958, when Sisavangvong University was established in Vientiane. By 1969 the University included three constituent colleges - the Institut Superieur Pedagogique, the Royal Medical Institute and the Royal Laws and Administration Institute. Regional technical colleges were also set up in Luang Prabang, Pakse (Champassak) and Savannakhet.
Facility of Arts training started in Laos during 1959 with the establishment of National School of Fine Arts, now, known as National Faculty of Fine Arts. National School of Music and Dance was also established. All these institutes came under the aegis of Ministry of Education, Sports and Religious Affairs.
Lao government made significant efforts in 1975 to strengthen Education System in Laos and provide Education to all. The government also launched an adult literacy campaign. But all these efforts were vanished because of the lack of qualified teachers in the country. Then Laos Government redesigned Educational objective in 1987, with a purpose to provide meaningful Education to all. At present the overall literacy rate in Laos is 50 percent.
The general education system in Laos is distributed in four segments,
- Pre School Education consisting Creche and Kindergarten,
- Primary School Education consisting grades 1 to 5.
- Lower Secondary Education consisting grades 6 to 8. And
- Upper Secondary Education consisting grades 9 to 11.
Education is mainly provided through Government settings. Though Private Schools and Colleges are constantly been encouraged 1990's onwards.
The Lao People’s Democratic Republic joined UNESCO on July 9, 1951. The country is covered by the UNESCO Office Bangkok, a Cluster Office which also covers Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. UNESCO Institute for Statistics has conducted detailed study on Education and Literacy Scenario in Laos.