EducationLao Economy

Private Schools’ Bid For Fee Increase Gets Green Light

Source: Vientiane Times

Education authorities will allow all privately owned educational institutions countrywide to submit adjustments to tuition fees charged for the academic year 2017-18, aiming to seek uniform sector-wide measures and avoid ad hoc or unduly steep increases mid year.

Privately-owned primary schools, secondary schools, upper secondary schools and colleges are permitted to seek fee increases for tuition each year in relation to the standards, mission and capacity of the school community.

An official from the Association Consulting to Private Education spoke to Vientiane Times yesterday about the approval for the fee increase.

The Ministry of Education and Sports could regulate only the regular annual tuition fees charged for education and it was permissible for the owners of private schools to raise other charges or levies, he said.

Before raising the tuition fee rates for students each year, school administrations notified the ministry of their intentions and about 90 percent of these were approved.

“We admit education authorities were concerned about the issue because last year some private schools in Vientiane increased fees to an undue extent without approval,” he said.

A teacher at a private primary school in Vientiane said that, in a general sense, the fee increases seen each year sector-wide were justifiable in aiming to improve school development.

It was obligatory for parents to pay these fees for their children according to the regulations of the school and the implementation of the education policy.

She said each year private schools in Vientiane found it necessary to increase fees to take into account the cost of tuition and administration and to make improvements to their educational offerings toward ensuring consistency and quality in curriculum and pedagogy as well as extra-curricular offerings.

The improvement of education required funds for the ongoing training of human resources in the form of teachers and administrators to deliver on these goals.

If parents of students are unable to pay and there is a lack of alternative financial support to a school, improvements and long term development will not be possible.

The government authorised the raising of fees in support of its policy on private investment in the education sector, the teacher added.

The mother of a student, Ms Noy of Nonghai village in Hadxaifong district, said the increases were to be expected and justifiable.

“I think it’s acceptable to pay extra for these classes.”

She said it was important to understand that additional tuition funding helps to ensure that children can deepen their knowledge and capacity for learning.

At the same time, schools need to make sure that students can develop their character and become disciplined, she said.

Another point is that all parents seek to ensure that their children study in a high-quality school environment.

“I think that 90 percent of parents whose children attend private schools have more than enough resources to allow them to pay a bit extra,” she said.

If some parents cannot afford to pay for their children to attend private schools, they can also choose from many worthy public schools, she added.