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High-level Policy Dialogue on TVET and beyond in Lao PDR

Dr Qian Tang, Assistant Director-General for Education of UNESCO (left) and H.E. Mr Lytou Bouapao, Vice Minister of Education and Sports of Lao PDR (right) ©UNESCO/A.Tam

20.06.2013

Over 50 participants from various ministries, international development agencies and the private sector came together in Vientiane on 18 June 2013 to discuss the future education policy directions of Lao PDR.

The event, entitled the High-level Policy Dialogue on Education and Socio-Economic Development in Lao PDR, was organized by the Ministry of Education and Sports of Lao PDR with the support of UNESCO. The participants represented various departments within the Ministry of Education and Sports, other ministries (including Ministry of Planning and Investment, Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Ministry of Public Work and Transport, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Justice), international development partners (including AusAID, UNICEF, ADB, World Bank, GIZ, KOICA and DVV International) and the private sector (including the Laos National Chamber of Commerce and Industry).

The policy dialogue aimed at charting national education policy reform directions needed to strengthen the quality, equity and relevance of education and advance socio-economic development in Lao PDR.

In his opening speech, Dr Qian Tang, Assistant Director-General for Education of UNESCO, emphasized the importance of holding a high-level, inter-ministerial and multi-stakeholder dialogue on the future of education and training in Lao PDR. He said, “The event is timely for stakeholders in Lao PDR to build on past achievements, while taking fully into account the changing circumstances of the Laotian society and economy, embedded as it is in its global environment.”

H.E. Mr Lytou Bouapao, Vice Minister of Education and Sports of Lao PDR, stated that given the challenges placed on education and human resource development, the policy dialogue would formulate recommendations to help prepare Lao PDR for the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015 and for moving up its economic status from being a lower income country to a lower middle income country.

On the same occasion, UNESCO presented the report of the Lao PDR’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Policy Review. This report discusses the Lao education and TVET systems, and also provides policy recommendations.

Mr Shyamal Majumdar, Head of UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training, identified three priority areas for the development of TVET in Lao PDR, namely improving the quality of TVET, enhancing the management and administration, and strengthening public-private partnership. He also emphasized the importance of transforming TVET systems instead of merely scaling them up. This was earlier discussed at the Third International Congress on TVET held in May 2012 in Shanghai, China.

The highlight of the event was the breakout sessions, during which high-level government officials and other stakeholders discussed education development for the future. The topics of discussion ranged from public-private partnership to management and administration, quality improvement, increasing accessibility and public awareness on TVET.

The plenary session, while noting the significant progress made on TVET and education development in Lao PDR, recognized several areas in need of improvement, including the need to accelerate the development of a national vocational qualification framework and strengthen the effective implementation of a quality assurance system on TVET.

In closing, noting the fruitful discussion held and useful recommendations made at the event, H.E. Mr Bouapao said that the dialogue should continue to consider how best the recommendations, especially those priority areas identified, may be followed up.

For more information, please contact Kar Hung Antony TAM [kh.tam(at)unesco.org] at the Education Policy and Reform Unit.


Written by Kar Hung Antony TAM [kh.tam(at)unesco.org]


Related Link:

• Policy Review of TVET in Lao PDR - UNESCO 2013