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The Government Aims to Address the Issue of School Dropout Rates

Source: Vientiane Times

Student enrolment in every grade has fallen, while the dropout rate has increased in both primary and secondary schools.

Addressing the problem at the National Assembly on Monday, Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone said the reasons for the alarming decline in school attendance were rooted in various factors, including personal circumstances, school conditions, and financial hardship on the part of parents.

Dr. Sonexay reported on the matter and outlined plans to address the problem over the next six months.

The dropout rate in primary schools has increased markedly since 2021, while the dropout rate in secondary schools has been on the decline since 2017.

The premier noted that some schools in rural areas do not have dormitories, while others are a long way from children’s homes, discouraging regular attendance.

The Prime Minister said the education ministry would assist disadvantaged students by providing them with basic educational materials and waiving the payment of school fees.

The plan for the next six months also includes providing more vocational training and encouraging applicants to choose a course that will enable them to get a job and be self-supporting when they graduate.

Education authorities will carry out more monitoring of teaching and learning outcomes, while schools and colleges will be improved, and student dormitories will be built in rural areas.

There will also be more vocational skills training in the non-formal education sector.

The government will speed up enacting a law on education, which will require parents to be responsible for ensuring their children get an education.

Education officials will publicize this law among students and their parents to ensure it is complied with, in cooperation with local education authorities and parent associations.

In addition, the government will take steps to reduce the student dropout rate in both urban and rural areas by expanding inclusive education in schools and vocational training institutions.

More secondary school students will be encouraged to enroll in courses at vocational and technical schools so that they learn practical skills that benefit both them and employers, Dr. Sonexay said.

photo credit: Basile Morin