First UK English Language School Opens In Vientiane

Panyathip International School has partnered with the Wimbledon School of English, a British English language school, to officially open the Panyathip Education Centre in Vientiane.

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What Languages Are Spoken In Laos ?

Lao, also called Laotian, is the official as well as the dominant language in Laos. Migration and conflict have resulted in the present ethnic composition of Laos and to the geographical diffusion of its ethnic groups. 86 languages have so far been documented in the country as used by its various ethnic groups. French and English are identified as minority languages in Laos.

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Team BUG5 Becomes The First Laotian Team To Compete At Imagine Cup Regional

Team BUG5, a group of three young innovators from Laos has earned the nomination to represent Laos in the South East Asia Regional Final Round of 15th Microsoft Imagine Cup 2017, Microsoft’s global accelerator program to empower the next generation of computer science students. They will make history as the very first Laotian team to get qualified for Imagine Cup regional finals.

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Accidental Explosion Kills Lao Military Instructor, Injures 26 Students

A trainer was killed and 26 secondary school students suffered minor injuries in an explosion accident yesterday morning during a military-tactics training drill at a secondary school in northern Oudomxay province, a police officer said.
The tragedy happened as the trainer, Military First Lieutenant Somphone brought both real and fake grenades to the training course held at a secondary school in Xay district. The trainer accidentally took ….

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Education In Laos Feels The Financial Squeeze As Premier Wants Booze Out Of The Mix

Some students in Lao universities and teachers in central Laos are feeling a financial squeeze as scholarship students are facing increased fees while some high school teachers are still waiting for paychecks, RFA’s Lao Service has learned.
Students in pedagogical college and the Souphanouvong University in Luang Prabang province are questioning why they are being required to pay the fees while they are on ….

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Overloaded School Taxi-Trucks Cause Public Outcry

The Vientiane Traffic Police Department and local officials are issuing a joint warning to the drivers of tuk-tuks and pickup trucks who regularly ferry schoolchildren to and from classes each day at secondary schools in Naxaithong district.
Children’s parents expressed serious concern after seeing a photo of a large group of students piled onto a school taxi-truck on …..

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Laos Sees Dramatic Increase In Retailers Selling Improved Cook Stoves

The roadsides leading out of the main cities in Lao PDR are lined with numerous small retail shops, which are mostly owned by women, offering a variety of locally-made products, among them a selection of ceramic cook stoves. A vast majority of households in Laos cook on these portable stoves, using wood or charcoal.
Most of these small family businesses along the roadsides sell about ….

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English Classes Catch On in Laos

Some primary schools in Laos have started offering English lessons.
A group of primary students in Laos feels very excited and happy to learn English for the first time. The sounds of the ABCs and laughter can be heard from a long distance away.
In the small classroom with concrete walls and a zinc roof, a young teacher can be heard instructing her pupils to read as ….

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Degree Courses to Resume Again

The Ministry of Education and Sports has indicated that it will allow 24 qualified institutions to resume their bachelor degree courses for the 2015-2016 academic year after they met the standards set by the ministry.
A senior official from the ministry said the biggest problem facing the institutions was the lack of sufficiently qualified teaching staff. The institutions that are expected to resume their bachelor degree courses this academic year are as follows: ….

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Thailand Lauds Mobile Science Fair To Laos

Thailand has launched its first ever “science caravan” to Vientiane in a bid to provide Lao students with scientific and technological knowledge.
More than 500 Lao school and university students attended the opening of the event and took part in scientific activities and experiments, guided by Thai officials who joined the touring exhibition.
Thousands of Lao students are expected to visit the science and technology exhibition at the……

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Plastic Wastes A Challenge To Increasingly Prosperous Laos

Like many other cities of the world, the Laotian capital, with its improving economy and standard of living, is not spared from the scourge of urban living: the proliferation of plastics and products bottled or wrapped in plastics.
The biggest problem is that wrappers or bottles made of plastic materials are carelessly thrown just about anywhere. Most of them end up clogging canals and waterways or polluting the waters of the mighty Mekong River.
Hundreds of tons of garbage, that include plastic materials, are being scavenged in the whole city every day. And these include refuse from the ……

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Lao Children Are Better Educated Than Thai Kids

Thailand’s poor standing in a recent global survey on the quality of education has caused alarm among educators here and prompted the authorities to respond.
Thailand is ranked 87th in the world in the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report 2014-2015 – behind most other member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, including less economically developed neighbours such as Laos, which is ranked 60th. This is both embarrassing and ….

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Student Brawls Spark Outrage, Authorities Concerned

Over the last few months a new anti-social trend in Laos can be observed, with many videos being posted on social media: student brawls ! These videos show a group of young people beating up another person, using brutal force, often leaving the victims seriously injured.
The latest video showing students of the Vientiane Secondary School physically assaulting a fellow student has gone viral on ….

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University Graduates Face Uphill Battle In Job Market

While the latest batch of National University of Laos graduates celebrate their achievement, they are faced with the sobering reality of low prospects in immediate employment.
The number of new graduates this year stands at 8,162, adding to existing graduates who have already joined the job market.
There is a growing anxiety among final year university students about their job prospects, with some estimates putting the number of …

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Typing Lao In An Open Source Office Suite

LibreOffice, an open source office suite, is getting ready to release the upcoming version 4.3, bringing many new improvements.
One thing that you may not be aware of is that for some time now (since version 4.2), LibreOffice has native word detection support for Lao, a difficult feature to implement correctly. This allows for dynamic word-breaking, spell-check, and word count features in Lao that traditionally have not been possible with most office suites in the past without …..

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Laos Wants Teachers, Students To Boost English, IT Skills

The Laotian Ministry of Education and Sports and IIG Education are working together to boost English-language proficiency and information-technology skills among teachers and students to international standards.
The Ministry of Education and Sports will recognise TOEFL primary for use in the current English proficiency assessment system for primary school students in Laos.
The ministry will also approve TOEFL junior for use among lower secondary students, and TOEFL iBT or TOEIC for assessing English proficiency of higher school students aiming for admission to foreign …..

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Young Laotians Learn Chinese to Improve Job Prospects

On alternate mornings, in a sparsely furnished classroom at a private school in the Laotian capital, Liphakone Ratthida and a dozen of his classmates converse in Chinese and study China’s history and culture.
Though he goes by the Chinese name Li Panda, Mr. Ratthida is not of Chinese ancestry, nor has he been to China.
Like many other young Laotians taking Chinese classes, Mr. Ratthida, 19, is learning the language in the hope of working for Chinese companies, which are investing heavily in …..

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Thailand Ranks Near Bottom In English Proficiency; Laos Not Listed

Thailand ranks near the bottom in an English proficiency survey, showing the persistence of one of the key competitive weaknesses of the Thai economy.
Out of 60 countries and territories where English is not their mother tongue, Thailand manages only 55th place – outdoing only Panama, Kazakhstan, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, according to the EF English Proficiency Index. Laos is not included in that listing.
Poor English skills indicate the small base of competent adult English speakers necessary for a globalised workforce. The survey was conducted in the realisation that English is now a …..

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Laos Falling Short Of Education Development Goals

While Laos has made steady progress in education reform, universal primary education may not be achieved by 2015 as targeted due to the high dropout rate.
According to a recent joint report by the government and the United Nations, Laos is close to achieving the targeted 98 percent net enrolment rate for girls and boys but the overall efficiency of the education system remains low. Primary schools have significant numbers of over-aged and under-aged pupils because of early and late entries and grade repetition.
The survival rate to grade 5 has improved from just 48 percent in 1992 to 70 percent in 2012, but it is still low compared to other ….

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Private Colleges Face Financial Strife

Private colleges and institutions have expressed fears over their long-term financial viability after the government banned bachelor’s degree course intakes outside public universities until 2014-15.
The new academic year for the private education sector began this month but uncertainty around the future of college courses has seen a substantial drop in enrollment numbers, causing financial pressure.
Under the government’s policy, announced earlier this year, all students already taking a bachelor’s degree at a private college can ….

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Ban On Bachelor Degrees In Private Colleges

The ban on bachelor degrees in private colleges is part of the Ministry of Education and Sport’s education reform initiative, while encouraging private colleges to meet the standards set by the ministry. The ban will continue until 2015, meaning that only those private colleges that improve and meet the standards required will be allowed to reopen their bachelor courses at some point in the future.
The current situation in Laos is that most school leavers want to enroll for a bachelor degree, with few people wanting to undertake vocational studies. The ministry wants to reverse this trend by encouraging more people to apply for vocational training to ensure sufficient skilled labourers to meet the needs of ……

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Mandarin Asserting Its Dominance In North Laos

On a research trip along the Laos-China border recently, I was struck by the number of Mandarin schools that have popped up in the small towns and villages that lead to the border, and the number of Laotian families that have chosen to send their children there to study Mandarin.
The reason for this shift in attitudes is simple enough: China is the biggest investor in Laos at present, and the might of China’s economy is keenly felt among the small population of Laos, who see hundreds of Chinese lorries and boats go down the highways and the Mekong river.
Entire communities have sprung up as a result, and along the border, new Special Economic Zones have emerged where Chinese businessmen and tourists flock…..

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Laos Sees High Rate Of Teenage Pregnancy

Laos is suffering from a high rate of teenage pregnancy, with four out of ten women pregnant or already having given birth to their first child by the age of 19, according to a press release from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
In Laos more than 60 percent of the population is under 25 years old, and at least half of this group at girls. The UNFPA press release focused, in particular, on the high prevalence of teenage pregnancy in Laos. A recent survey in the country found that for every thousand adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 in Laos, there are …..

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Laos Views Development Gap As Major Challenge

Wealth distribution remains a major challenge despite the government’s efforts to tackle the development gap since 2011.
In the central region the figure stood at US$1,680 in the 2011-12 fiscal year, while in the north and south of the country it was US$985 and US$1,060 respectively, the planning ministry reported in its mid term report.
The lack of transport infrastructure also makes it difficult for people in the north to access government services such as healthcare and education, which are essential for …..

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LEOT – A Unique Educational Facility Opens In Luang Prabang

On 1 October a new and unique educational facility opens in Luang Prabang, the LEOT English Learning Centre. A purpose built Centre, with state of the art facilities and all graduate teaching staff, it will serve the needs of the underprivileged young adults who cannot afford fees to attend the existing language schools , by offering totally free enrolment and teaching.
The parent and funding body, LEOT (Lao Educational Opportunities Trust) has been operating in Laos for 6 years offering a scholarship programme, enabling young people to study at College and University. At any one time it has 20-25 students on its programme (see www.leot.org.uk).
The new Centre is funded by voluntary donations; mostly from UK but also, Australia, …..

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