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Lao PDR

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Implementing agency

Department of Non-formal Education
Ministry of Education
Lanexang Road, B. P. 67, Vientiane
Phone:  856-21-213980
Fax:  856-21-223489

 

Literacy situation

According to the literacy survey conducted in 2001 in the country, the literacy rate of age 15 and over is 68.7 %.  Although primary education is compulsory, it is reported that each year only about 70% of children 6 years old can enroll in school.  These children are in danger to become illiterate adults if there is no educational provision to them through NFE.

 

In view of the above, the NFE in the country has focused these two target population groups.  While the programme for out-of-school children focuses on academic activities for them to possibly return to school, the programme for adults provides literacy together with vocational skills to earn a living.

 

CLC initiatives

In Lao PDR, pilot CLCs were set up in Luang Nam Tha Province in 1990 with the support of UNESCO.  Since then, additional CLCs have been set up with the support of various international NGOs and UN agencies. During the initial phase of development, a variety of CLC models were tested to help identify the best and most effective models to replicate. As of April 2002, 269 CLCs are promoting literacy, continuing education and vocational training programmes in sixteen of the eighteen provinces in the country.

 

The National Education Policy, which was adopted in 1999, and the Rural Development Policy set the establishment of CLCs in Lao PDR as one of the priorities of the national government.  Most CLCs have targeted very poor ethnic minority groups and women, both of whom make up the majority of Lao PDR’s high illiterate population.  For example, four new CLCs in Phongsaly, Bonco, Vientiane and Bolikharnxai provinces target disadvantaged areas where most of the population has been relocated from mountainous areas and the literacy rate is only 43%.

 

Activities

CLCs are the venues for improving the knowledge through literacy classes and post-literacy programmes including reading corners.  CLCs also have met immediate needs in the community such as public heath, agriculture and other vocational skills.  Furthermore, CLCs have developed community forums for problem solving including organizing various workshops in cooperation with other organizations such as village learning committee, women union, youth union, parent association, etc.

 

Achievements and challenges

There are big numbers of CLCs in the country, which has strengthened the delivery of literacy and continuing education programmes at the grassroots.  The idea of CLCs has been well accepted and supported by community people in general.  Staff of NFE at the national as well as district levels has obtained better understanding about community oriented programme development and management.

 

On the other hand, many CLCs have not been able to sustain the activities once the external support is finished.  Because of poverty, many CLCs can not continue the activities financially particularly in rural and remote areas including the ethnic minority areas.  Another reason is due to the lack of capacity in the community people, CLCs can not be managed by the community after the project period.  

 

Future plans

To strengthen the functions and network of CLCs in the country, the DNFE plans to:

• Organize capacity building for existing CLCs in the areas of planning and management, teaching-learning methods, and local curriculum development.
• Develop a pilot CLC cluster together with model CLCs.
• Develop a video programme and a booklet about the development of CLCs.
• Develop teaching-learning materials at the grassroots level using APPEAL and ACCU developed materials.
• Improve continuing education programmes with particular focus on vocational training.