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Lao PDR Discusses How to Expand Vocational Education

(c)I.Phetsiriseng

19.07.2011

Vientiane, Lao PDR: Ministry officials, representatives from provincial education services, school principals, international experts and development partners met on 4-5 July 2011 at a policy workshop entitled “Expansion of Vocational Education at the Secondary Level” organized by the Department of Secondary Education, Ministry of Education, Lao PDR with support from UNESCO Bangkok in Vientiane, Lao PDR.  The purpose of the workshop was to discuss and determine how best to expand vocational education at the secondary level in Lao PDR.

Recently, the Government of Lao PDR has set an unprecedented goal of enrolling 25% of upper secondary students in the vocational stream by 2015.  This goal is based on the need for an increased supply of skilled workers, which is essential for the accelerated economic growth and the reduction of poverty in the country.

International experts were invited to discuss their experiences and practices within their countries/areas of expertise in the provision of technical and vocational education and training (TVET)—including those from Australia, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Thailand and UNEVOC (Bonn, Germany).  For instance,  Ms. Sally Leavold of RMIT University of Australia shared how Australia allows students to easily transfer school credits from general education to TVET and vice-versa—a practice that might be valuable not only in Lao PDR, but other countries as well.   Also, Mr. Shyamal Majumdar of UNEVOC pointed out that the expansion of vocational education through the vocationalization of general schools would be a great challenge given that some countries have been unsuccessful in its implementation, which indicates the need for more concrete strategies and implementations plans. UNESCO Bangkok also presented preliminary costing projections on the expansion of TVET at the secondary level in Lao PDR as well as from other countries in the Asia-Pacific region to provide context and discussion.

Participants discussed how to deliver TVET at the secondary level including via comprehensive/integrated schools (i.e., TVET being part of schools that provide general education) or via separate TVET schools with a separate curriculum.  Also discussed were preliminary plans in conducting a pilot to determine how best to expand TVET.

As a result of the workshop, Lao PDR is now reviewing the lessons learned from the international experts and workshop discussions to determine the appropriate next steps within the country, and UNESCO will continue its support to country in this regard.

For more information, please click here to access the presentations and documents presented at the workshop or contact Mr. YoungSup Choi (ys.choi(at)unesco.org) or Mr. Hai Tiet (h.tiet(at)unesco.org).