Schools To Remain Closed Until At Least May 18

Source: Vientiane Times

Students and teachers nationwide will have to be patient as authorities have proposed that primary and secondary schools and tertiary education institutions remain closed with an expected reopening from May 18.

According to a resolution by a Ministry of Education and Sports meeting last week, students of Grade 5 primary school, Grades 4 and 7 secondary school and final year students at tertiary education institutions, colleges and university will return to their classes on May 18 and continue studying to complete the curriculum by mid-July.

Students of other grades are expected to begin classes on June 2 and complete their studies by the end of July. For early childhood education, kindergartens will remain closed for the remainder of the current school year.

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However, all schools must receive official approval from the government through the Ministry of Education and Sports before commencing classes.

During the suspension period, the ministry has advised state and private schools to provide online educational programmes to maximise learning opportunities and soften the impacts of school closures on affected students while lessening the risk of viral infection.

Schools have been closed temporarily since March 19 to prevent community transmission of COVID-19 amid the global pandemic. The ministry has produced study programmes for important subjects to broadcast on television and government online social media pages every day.

The online studies programmes include the key subjects of mathematics, Lao language and English.

Many schools have given students homework, and teachers are using social media apps to contact their students and support them in their studies.

To prepare for the reopening of schools, the Ministry of Education and Sports proposed the National Taskforce Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control direct concerned officials to clean and disinfect school classrooms and grounds to ensure the wellbeing of teachers and students.

The ministry also proposed the committee donate soap, hand gel, face masks, temperature monitors and build washbasins for schools nationwide.
The ministry has enhanced communication to the private education sector about payment of teachers’ salaries and school fees across the country.

Authorities have advised both private school administrators and students’ parents to negotiate the timing of school fee payments to achieve reasonable outcomes during the compulsory school shutdown.

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