EducationLao Economy

Bachelor Decision Pending As Ministry Considers Draft Act For Colleges

Source: Vientiane Times

Students, teachers and administrators of state and private colleges and other educational institutions await official confirmation on whether courses of study can be accredited towards Bachelor and higher-level degrees for the coming academic year.

The Ministry of Education and Sports has not yet confirmed whether it will permit state/private colleges and educational institutions to recommence offering bachelor and higher level courses after they temporarily lost their permission to do so in the 2013/14 academic year.

Thousands of senior students across the country have now completed their exams and now wait with high hopes of scores sufficient to allow them to apply for university and college entrance exams.
Many of them still worry about the chance to undertake bachelor level studies at state and private colleges if they are not able to gain entry to the top educational institutions such as the National Universty of Laos (NUoL).

There has been wide speculation that bachelor and higher-level courses may restart this academic year but authorities must still give the final go ahead.

Many state/private colleges and educational institutions, primarily in the capital, have proposed to recommence bachelor and higher level courses, an official in charge of the Higher Education Department under the Ministry of Education and Sports told Vientiane Times.

The Higher Education department has submitted its proposal to the Ministry and is awaiting a final decision, an official in charge said.

If the Ministry finds the sector is not yet up to the required level, the status quo will have to prevail until the following academic year.

The suspension to bachelor and higher degree courses in 2013-14 may have come as a surprise move to many but was made in alignment with the county’s education reform strategy.

In that year the Ministry of Education and Sports announced in would re-evaluate the qualification of state and private colleges and institutions, meaning that they faced temporary bans to accrediting their courses as bachelor or higher level degrees.

At the heart of the proposal by education officials of relevant departments is a draft legislative act on educational management in Laos towards improved regulation of the sector in compliance with international standards. The official in charge said that it had proposed the draft act to Ministry of Education and Sports and was awaiting consideration by superiors before announcing.

The draft act sets out various critical standards for higher education management in Laos.

For example, state and private colleges including schools who wish to offer bachelor and master’s degree courses must be in compliance with the outlined levels for quantity and quality of teaching personnel.

All schools must also comply with national standard curricula of Ministry of Education and Sports as well as relevant codes around educational infrastructure sites, equipment and facilities.

It is hoped by codifying these standards the quality and reputation of the Lao higher education sector will increase, leading to improved outcomes for students, the institutions and wider society.