L'évaluation de l'éducation pour tous à l'an 2000 : Rapport des pays


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INTRODUCTION Background Following up with the World Conference on Education for All: Meeting Basic Learning Needs (Jomtien, Thailand, March 1990), in August 1990, the Ministry of Education of Lao PDR, held a national meeting. The meeting was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Planning and Finance, the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Information and Culture, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Lao Women’s Union, and the Youth’s Union. The meeting set forth the needs of the establishment of the National Committee for Education for All. In December 1991, the National Committee for Education for All (NCEFA) was established. The Chairperson of the NCEFA was the Vice-Minister of Education with members from concerned ministries and departments. The NCEFA set up goals and objectives to the year 2000, determined the strategies and the National Action Plan for EFA. The NCEFA also set up guidelines and main measures to be undertaken by the different concerned parties to participate in the EFA action plan according to their respective responsibilities. On the 4th February 1997, the Prime Minister issued a decree on the establishment of the National Committee on Basic Education for All. The National Committee on Basic Education for All composed of: Central Level: 1. Member of Polit-bureau of the Central Party, Chairperson of the Human Resource Development Central Committee as Chairperson. 2. Minister of Education as Vice-Chairperson. 3. Vice-President of the Lao Front for National Construction as member. 4. Vice-Secretary of the Lao Youth Union as member. 5. Vice-President of the Lao Women’s Union as member. 6. Director of the Pre-school and General Education Department as member and secretariat. 7. Director of the Non-Formal Education Department as member and secretariat. Provincial Level:

Provincial Governor as Chairperson. Head of the Provincial Education Service as ViceChairperson. Deputy Head of the Provincial LFNC as member. Deputy Head of the Provincial Youth Union. Deputy Head of the Lao Women’s Union. District Level (same structure as the provincial committee but at 1. The roles and responsibilities of the committee at each level: Central level. Monitor and supervise the implementation of the Basic Education strategies, coordinate between the local authorities and the concerned departments to accomplish the planned activities. Motivate the citizens for their participation and contributions, including the motivation for loans and grants from international organizations to implement the Basic Education Programme. Monitor and evaluate the activities that have been implemented. Provincial level. Monitor and supervise the plans set by the central committee. Supervise and the coordination between the authorities and the concerned departments in the province. Motivate the citizens in the province for participation and contributions in kind, labor or cash for the implementation of the Basic Education programme in the province. Assist and monitor the implementation of the activities to accomplish the targets. Report the activities implemented to the central committee each 3 months, 6 months and annually. District level. Same responsibilities as provincial level but at district level. Meetings of the committees at each level. The Central Committee, meets once a year. The Provincial and District Committee, meet twice a year (every 6 months). The concerned organizations in the committees have the duties to implement the Basic Education Programme in accord to their roles and tasks. Country Profile Lao People’s Democratic Republic covers an area of 236,800 km 2 in the

center of the Southeast Asian peninsula. It is a landlinked country bordering China and Myanmar in the North, Vietnam in the East, Thailand in the West and with Cambodia in the South. A large part of the country land is mountainous. Mountains and plateaus cover approximately 80% of the country. In the northern and eastern regions, mountains and plateaus above 1000 meters cover about 30%, mountains and plateaus between 200 meters to 1000 meters account for about 50% of the area, and elevation below 200 meters and floodplains compose 20% (Lao Geography, 1989). The country extends over 1,700 km in a north-south direction, with the widest part of the country from east to west, reaching 500 km and the narrowest part, only 150 km wide. It consists of 18 provinces, 141 districts and about 11.697 villages. The provinces can be grouped into three regions: (i) the northern region comprise of Phongsaly, Luangnamtha, Oudomxay, Bokeo, Xayabouly, Luangprabang, and Huaphanh; (ii) the central region comprise of Xiengkhuang, Xaysomboon, Vientiane Province, Vientiane Municipality, Bolikhamxay, Khammuane, and Savannakhet; (iii) the southern region comprise of Champasack, Saravane, Sekong, and Attapeu (see Map). 1. According to the most recent population census, in 1995, the total population of the Lao PDR is 4,574,848. The female:male ratio was 50.6:49.4. The average population density of 19.4 person/km2 is relatively low especially in Asia. The population growth rate is 2.6% per year, during the period 1985 to 1995. The recently projected population will reach 5.34 million in the year 2000 and 6.73 million in year 2010. 2. The Lao PDR is a uniquely multi-ethnic state. According to the 1995 population census, the Lao ethnic account for only 52.5% of the nation’s population and are the largest ethnic group in only 8 of 18 provinces, namely Vientiane Municipality 92.6%, Champasack 84.8%, Vientiane province 64.8%, Saravane 60%, Khammuane 59.4%, Savannakhet 57.5%, Xiengkhuang 44.3%, and Attapeu 36.9%. In 10 other provinces ethnic minorities are the plurality. Phutai are the largest ethnic group in 2 provinces namely, Huaphanh 31.5% and Bolikhamxay 41%. Leu are the largest ethnic group in Xayaboury 26.9%. Khmu are the largest ethnic group in 5 provinces, namely Oudomxay 57.7%, Luangprabang 45.9%, Luangnamtha 24.7%, Phonsaly 24.4% and Bokeo 23.8%. Hmong are the largest ethnic group in Xaysomboon 53.7%. 3. In a country as ethnically diverse as the Lao PDR, it is probably impossible to arrive at a classification that captures the true ethnic richness of the country. The existing official classification is by no means definitive nor is it final. The first definitions used by the government classified the population by topography, with three categories: Lao Loum (Lowland Lao), Lao Thueng (Midland Lao or Upland Lao), and Lao Soung (Highland Lao). While this definition is has been used semi-officially, it falls far short of capturing the diversity in the country. The 1995 census categorizes the population into 47 ethnicities and lists 2 groups, "others" and "not stated" who represent 0.2% and 0.5% respectively. In the 47 ethnic groups there are 4 major ethnolinguistic superstocks. These major superstocks are broken

down into six main language families (see Chart 1): Tai-Kadai comprising Lao-Phoutai (66.2%); Austroasiatic comprising Mon-Kmer (22.9%) and Viet-Muang (0.1%); Hmong-Yao (7.4%); and Sino-Tibetan comprising Tibeto-Burman (2.5%) and Hor (0.2%).

Table 1 Percentage of Ethnic Groups by Province Province Vientiane Mun. Phongsaly Luang Namtha Oudomxay Bokeo Luangprabang Huaphanh Xayaboury Xiengkhuang TaiKadai 95.9 20.1 32.1 25.0 40.8 37.4 61.5 58.2 54.8 Austroasiatic 1.0 24.9 29.6 57.9 35.6 46.0 16.7 26.5 9.9 HmongYao 1.4 5.7 7.7 13.3 13.2 15.7 21.1 14.8 34.2 SinoTibetan 0.2 47.6 30.1 3.5 10.1 0.2 0 0.1 0 Others 1.5 1.7 6.5 0.3 0.3 0.7 0.7 0.4 1.1

Vientiane Prov. Borikhamxay Khammuane Savannakhet Saravane Sekong Champasack Attapeu Xaysomboun

78.5 81.3 81.8 76.4 61.7 8.9 86.1 37.2 26.0

12.3 8.0 16.0 22.6 37.8 90.8 12.4 62.3 17.2

8.4 9.2 0.2 0 0 0 0 0 55.7

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

0.3 1.5 20 1.0 0.5 0.3 1.5 0.5 1.1

Source: National Statistic Center Population Census, 1995 & LFNC Dept. of Ethnic Affairs, 1999. 1. The Lao PDR is officially recognized as a least developed country. The country relies heavily on external aid. According to the 1998 UNDP Human Development Index, the Lao PDR ranked 136th out of 174 countries investigated. Its development level falls in between that of Myanmar (131 st ) and Cambodia (140 th) (HDR 1998). According to the 1995 World Bank study, 22% of the population falls below "the food poverty line" (defined as the level of income sufficient to buy 2,100 calories per person per day). An estimated 50% of the population lives below the higher poverty line (defined as an allowance for non-food expenditures sufficient to buy basic goods)(World Bank, 1999). Despite recent economic progress, Lao PDR is still a very poor country with average per capita income of only US$400 (World Bank 1999), respectively to some US$370 according to the IMF statistics 1998. According to the State Planning Committee Report, the GDP for 1998-99 has decreased to US$262.9 from US$280.1 in 1997-98. 2. Achieving the "graduate" status from the ranks of the least developed countries by the year 2020 will require sustained annual growth of about 9%, higher than the 7% annual average achieved over the last five years. The government has itself set a medium term growth target of 8-8.5% during 1997-2000. Achieving this level of growth would not only be unprecedented in Lao PDR’s history but is also made more difficult by the much less favorable economic environment currently prevailing in Asia (World Bank, 1999:33). 3. The social dimensions of the crisis in Lao PDR stem mainly from the deep depreciation of the local currency, the Kip,





and from the consequences of this serious devaluation. The most widespread and noticeable effect of the crisis has been on prices, particularly for basic commodities and goods on which much of the population, especially the poor, depend for survival. Annual inflation rose to 26.6 percent by the end of 1997 and has continued to increase in 1998, reaching over 142 percent in June 1998 (World Bank, 1999). The Lao PDR economy is predominantly agrarian. Agriculture, including forestry, represents about 50% of Lao PDR’s GDP. Outside of forestry, agriculture has not been significantly impacted by the crisis because its linkages with the regional markets are limited. Production in the sector is largely for subsistence. A large share of the sector’s exports (mainly coffee) goes to market outside the region. Lao supply of agricultural produce for agro-processig industries in the Northern and Northeastern provinces of Thailand has been increasing. The forestry sub-sector has been severely impacted by the crisis. Forestry contributes about 5 percent of Lao PDR’s GDP but is the leading export sector, providing an average of 33 percent of total exports annually over the last five years. The hydropower sector has not been significantly impacted as its contribution to GDP is still very small, under 2 percent. The key garment industry has not been adversely affected, as over 70 percent of garment exports go to destinations in Europe (World Bank, 1999). Overall, economic activity in Lao PDR has not experienced a major slowdown following the crisis. Growth was estimated at 6.5 percent. It appears that with inflation, the entire population is sharing the pain of the crisis. However, this pain may have a disproportionate effect on the poor. Even though the effects of the crisis have been small compared to those in other countries, given the level of poverty in the country, even a small change can have serious consequences. Tourism is now the biggest contributor to national income. National tourism earnings in 1998 topped income generated from the export of garments and electricity. In 1998 the country earned US$ 79.9 million from the tourism sector. According to the National Tourism Authority, tourism has seen a continual rise in arrivals from all over the world, from 102,946 in 1993 to 463,200 in 1997. In 1998, the number rose to 500,200. Tourism in the Lao PDR has been developing continually and its role and status has grown in importance to the country’s socio-economic development. (Vientiane Times,Vol. 6,No. 69,Aug.31-Sept.2 1999) Overall living standards in Lao PDR , following decades of wars and destruction, are still very low. Life-expectancy (1995) is 52.2 years. According to the HDR 1998, 33% of the population does not have access to health services. This can be interpreted as those ethnic minority villages having no access to roads in the northern provinces for

example. 1. Poverty and economic opportunities 1. Although the precise definition of poverty differs from society to society, poverty reflects the lack of access to critical goods and services such as food, shelter, and health care. Poverty is many ways a reflection of the lack of access to education and health care services; the poor suffer from the lack of access, and the lack of access contributes to their poverty. 2. The previous study of poverty is the Lao Expenditure and Consumption Survey (LECS) conducted by the National Statistics Center in 19921993. Although this study did not specifically focused on the poverty within different ethnic groups, it is still a useful starting point in measuring poverty throughout the country. The LECS sample divided the country into three geographic areas: the North, the Center ( including the capital of Vientiane), and the South. Although the population of the Lao PDR is diverse, the North and the South both have a generally high proportion of ethnic minorities. The information in Table 2 shows the distribution of poverty by these geographic regions, desegregated into urban and rural sectors. Two separate poverty lines were defined. The first is the basic poverty line, which measures the household’s ability to purchase a variety of goods beyond food and dwelling needs. The second is the extreme poverty line, which measures the household’s ability to purchase only the most absolute necessities: food, shelter, and clothing. The headcount shows the percentage of the population falling into the categories of poverty and extreme poverty. The poverty gap index measures the average transfer of resources that the poor need to escape poverty. It measures the depth of poverty but does not put any special weight on the poorest of the poor. Using the poverty line, the national incidence of poverty is estimated at 46%, while for rural areas the incidence is 53%. The incidence of poverty is 53%in the rural North, 47% in the Center, and 66% in the South. Extreme poverty is especially prevalent in the South. As is common in most countries, poverty is far more common in rural areas than in urban areas. Indeed, the level of urban extreme poverty is quite low. The poverty gap index confirms the general trends in the head count ratio. The South is the poorest region, with especially heavy poverty in the rural areas. Since the survey did not identify poverty by ethnicity, it is difficult to make many inferences about poverty among ethnic minorities. However, poverty is highest in areas that also have a large proportion of ethnic minorities. Table 2: The Incidence and Depth of Poverty, by Region and Sector, Lao PDR, 1992-1993 POVERTY


Head-Count Ratio Rural Urban 0.160 0.257 0.288 0.239 Total 0.464 0.404 0.598 0.461

Poverty Gap Index Rural 0.129 0.118 0.224 0.144 Urban 0.025 0.060 0.017 0.045 Total 0.111 0.100 0.188 0.121

North Center South All

0.527 0.469 0.662 0.530

EXTREME POVERTY Region Rural North Center South All 0.246 0.216 0.373 0.260 Head-Count Ratio Urban 0.021 0.112 0.006 0.076 Total 0.207 0.184 0.310 0.216 Poverty Gap Index Rural 0.045 0.042 0.098 0.055 Urban 0.003 0.015 0.001 0.010 Total 0.038 0.034 0.081 0.044

Source: Lao PDR Social Development Assessment and Strategy, World Bank 1995 1. Often the most serious limitations to access, and hence the most severe forms of poverty, are economic in nature. On the supply side, the scarcity of funds may result in entire communities that lack basic services. The nearest social service may be prohibitively distant. 2. Even where services are available, members of ethnic minority groups may face severe economic constraints, caused by low income. This may manifest itself through the inability to pay for services or through other effects of low income, such as malnutrition. 10. However, economic conditions are not the only factors that influence access. Many other factors contribute to the constraints of access and the use of social services by ethnic minorities. Some of these factors have a very definite economic interpretation, whereas others are more clearly related to cultural and political barriers. EDUCATION SYSTEM The education system is comprised of General Education, Technical/Vocational Training (including teacher training), and Tertiary Education. Likewise, the education system of Lao PDR

can be conceptualized as three interrelated systems, through which both children and adults acquire knowledge and skills. The three systems are formal education, non-formal education, and informal education. Each of these systems has differing but overlapping goals, organization, curriculum, and pedagogy. Formal Education 1. General Education: General education consists of: a. Pre-school which consists of créche for children ages 02, and Kindergarten for children ages 3-5. b. Primary Education consists of 5 years of schooling for children from 6 -10 years and is compulsory. c. Lower secondary education covers 3 years of schooling and for children of ages 11– 13. d. Upper secondary education is three years of schooling, accepting children of ages 14-16. 2. Vocational Education (including teacher training): Vocational education students are admitted after they have completed either grade 8 or 11 study at this level for 3 years in order to receive certificates. Students who completed 11th grade can receive technical certificates in two years or higher level certificates in specialty areas in three years. Students who completed 8th grade attend classes for the same certification as above but for a longer period (8+3+2) and (8+3). 1. Teacher Training Secondary students who want to become teachers have five options. To become a preschool teacher, they can enroll in a one-year program at the end of upper secondary school (11+1). To become a primary teacher they can enroll in a three-year training course at the end of lower secondary school (8+3 option) or they can enroll in a one-year training program at the end of upper secondary (11+1 option). To teach at the lower secondary level, they can enroll in a three-year training program upon completion of the upper secondary school (11+3 option). To teach upper secondary, they must enroll in the Faculty of Education at the University of Laos (11+4 option). The consolidation and strengthening of teacher training has been a national priority throughout the 1990s, with considerable success. In the late 80s, teacher training was provided by 59 small training schools that had little common curriculum and offered generally low quality preparation. In the mid-1990s, the MOE raised the minimum educational requirements for primary and secondary teachers and

began closing and consolidating these small schools into larger teacher training centers. These larger centers were able to achieve economies of scale and offer a stronger, more consistent training program. By 1998 the 59 schools had been reduced to 10 (plus the Faculty of Education at the National University). Teacher training colleges (TTCs) are under the general supervision of the Department of Teacher Education within the Ministry of Education. Each school has a Director who oversees the operation of the school. The Faculty of Education at the National University of Laos Reports to the Ministry through the Rector of the University. 2. Higher Education: Students who are admitted to higher education courses have completed grade eleven. They study in each faculty for 47 years depending on the subject area. For example, Engineering takes 7 years and to become a medical doctor takes 6-7 years. In parallel with the Public Education system, the Private Education system is becoming increasingly important and has a growing role in the education system. Private crèches, kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, vocational/technical schools, and colleges are growing in numbers, and are concentrated primarily in urban areas. Non-Formal Education The objective of the non-formal education system is to provide learning activities to meet the needs of adults to acquire knowledge and skills. Considering the isolation in many parts of countries and the years of fighting and involuntary migration, there is a large group of adults who have limited or no formal education. The Non-Formal Education policy of the MOE targets on 3 age groups: those between the ages of 6-14, who are not attending schools; those between 15-25 years of age who do not have definite vocations; and those between the ages of 15-40 who are illiterate and have not completed primary school, or those over 40 years old who are interested. Until recently, the major components of non-formal education were literacy programs and formal education equivalency programs for adults, with a particular focus on government personnel and staff. While these programs still operate, non-formal education also focuses on other educational needs outside of the formal education system. The non-formal education system provides a combination of anti-literacy and basic education for the illiterate, and programs to raise the education levels of the population. It has a particular focus on vulnerable groups: the poor, women, and ethnic minorities. The activities and goals for non-formal education are: Eradication of illiteracy for the population countrywide, especially for women and ethnic minorities in remote areas; Raising the primary and secondary levels of education for government

employees, military personnel, police; and In conjunction with the two responsibilities above, the promotion of basic vocation for educationally disadvantaged and low-income populations, in order to increase income levels and to improve livelihood. In conjunction with its activities to raise the education levels of the population with some basic education, the non-formal education department of the Ministry of Education maintains an equivalency program for adults (Table 3). There is an accelerated program for senior officials. This program presents 3 months curriculum for each grade and is not intended for university enrollment, but for education equivalence purpose only. Table 3: The Equivalency Curriculum Level Primary Level 1 Primary Level 2 Primary Level 3 Lower Secondary 1 Lower Secondary 2 Lower Secondary 3 Upper Secondary 1 Upper Secondary 2 Upper Secondary 3 Equivalent Grade 1 and 2 Grade 3 Grade 4 and 5 Secondary 1 Secondary 2 Secondary 3 Secondary 4 Secondary 5 Secondary 6 Duration 340 hours (45 units) 180 hours (23 units) 120 hours (17 units) 462 hours 506 hours 506 hours 484 hours 484 hours 506 hours

In addition to the equivalency curriculum, the NFE department also has developed special curriculum for vocational training (i.e. sewing and weaving and many other supplementary materials). NFE with the assistance of GTZ are in the process of developing vocational training curriculum. Also with the assistance of UNESCO the NFE is developing a curriculum for distance education. The continuing education curriculum for lower and upper secondary has also been developed. Informal Education The informal education system that transmits indigenous knowledge to populations is an extension of the traditional learning system that has always existed in Laos. It operates primarily through the family/clan, and ensures the socialization of both males and females as productive members of society as well as the survival of the ethnic group as people. Of importance to a large percentage of the population of Lao PDR, there is also the religious education provided by the monks in the monasteries to

the masses and novices. The first official policy about the education of monks and novices was introduced in November 1998. Administration and Management In the Lao PDR, the administration and management of education consists of three levels: At the central level, the Ministry of Education government staff determines policy guidelines, strategy, law, regulations, rules, monitoring and control of education. At the provincial level, the Provincial Education Service (PES) implements education policy guidelines, programmes, and projects defined by the Ministry of Education for the province. At the district level, the District Education Bureau (DEB) implements, and manages primary schools and kindergartens in each district. Non- Formal education or adult education provides education to 15-40 years old population group. KEY POLICIES IN EDUCATION Human Resources Development Policies The Leading Committee of Human Resource Development (LCHRD) was established in November 1993. The Lao Government has highlighted the importance of this committee by appointing the Head of the Party’s Organizational Central Committee as chairperson and including several ministers as members. The duties of the LCHRD are to draw plans, policies, projects, and measures to implement human resource development, monitor and direct the implementation, and to study, analyze, and resolve problems in the implementation. The LCHRD has a permanent secretariat to implement its daily duties. The following is the Government’s definition of human resource development (HRD): HRD is a constant development of a human being for the development itself, starting with birth (i.e. starting from the family planning) to the last minute of life. In each stage of the life cycle, there should be attention and concern placed to each aspect of the human life, particularly from whether there will be live birth which is related to family planning activities and then maternal and child care activities to assure child survival. Once a child was born, the new born baby should receive hygienic and sanitary care, immunization and good nutrition. In the next stage of life cycle, the child should receive education; especially in Lao PDR, this is basic education for all, followed by secondary education, vocational, technical and tertiary education or short term training courses or skill development courses for upgrading the technical capabilities in different disciplines. For those who are without formal schooling, they should be educated through informal education starting from eradication of illiteracy to the level equivalent to completion of higher secondary school. Concurrently with the provision of scientific-technical education, the population should also be provided with education and training on the value and significance of the national tradition, custom, art and culture in order to gain understanding of development along the era, to cultivate the

senses of a human being, the values of lives and preferences which are in conformance with the development of the country in a progressive and continuous manner. During his/her lifetime, a person should be entitled to an appropriate remuneration for his/her work in order to enjoy a proper life, appropriate welfare policies, a pension at old age retirement, and proper allowances to the spouse and children, when that person dies. From the above reasons, it could be seen that human resource development is a broad activity involved activities in the areas of development and training of man power, education, labor and social welfare, public health, culture and information, science and technology, and environment, and youth, women, worker and ethnic minorities development The definition states that HDR is a life long process, intended to create citizens who live good lives(i.e. enjoying health, having access and quality education and opportunities for employment, and contributing productively to society). The definition involves the whole Services Development, which is not in the list of the seven priorities of the national socio-economic development plan. In August 1996, a National Review Conference on HRD was held. The conference identified both progress and weaknesses in the sector. The major weaknesses causing obstacles identified in the conference were problems reaching remote rural areas and the heavy bureaucracy still in place. To counter these weaknesses, more attention needs to be paid to HRD, the planning must be better and more coordinated, training sessions should be continuous and coordinated, mobilization and management of funds needs to be more efficient and also equitable. HRD efforts were identified: Formation and training of civil servants Quality of education Building of labor force Culture and information Health Mass organizations: Youth, Women, Trade Union, National Front. 1. Strategies and Policies of the Government Regarding Human Resource Development of the Education Sector Education Strategies The Lao government considers that the education of the masses is necessary for the development of the country. Despite considerable achievements since 1975, the government recognizes that much remains to be done. Despite the exceeding excellent growth of economy in the previous years, the situation of education indicates the imbalance and conflict between socio-economic growth and that of the education sector. Therefore, the Government adopted an education strategy reform as follows: Determine the role and function of education toward the cause of

national development. Link education with socio-economical goals and two strategic tasks. Encourage the general population to achieve primary education level. Upgrade the quality and efficiency of education. Raise prestige of teachers-professors in the society. Mandate contributions from the entire society toward education. Enhance the management of administrative committees toward educational work 2. Education Policies The resolution of the Fifth Party Congress and the resolution on human resource development can be summarized as follows: Enforce compulsory education for children and youth by using mainly the State fund. Completely eradicate illiteracy among the illiterates and neo illiterates. Promote and expand private education both formal and vocational. Reorganize the lower and upper secondary schools, and vocational schools in consistence with the actual capacity of the country and give examination at every level. Develop personnel for all socio-economic sectors and not only for state apparatus. Gradually raise the quality of education to an international standard. Expand education to reach the remote, isolated, and mountainous areas, build ethnic boarding schools in certain appropriate areas to establish conditions for children of the ethnic minorities to attend schools. Improve the system of monks’ education by providing knowledge in dharma, linguistics, and literature and clearly outline policies for monks’ education. 3. Education Objectives and Targets Overall objectives: To build young generation with global scientific knowledge, patriotic values, a spirit of solidarity with other ethnic groups in the country and friendly countries in the world, to know their rights and interests and obligations as citizens, know how to preserve and expand fine tradition and culture of the nation, to be self-dependent and self-strengthening, to be economical and know how to harmoniously combine the personal interest with that of the collective, to equip with general knowledge and specialized fields, in science and techniques, to be moral and disciplined, responsible for duties, to be healthy and innovative, to have a civilized mind and be prepared to contribute in the defense, construction and development of the nation. Overall targets: Expand and improve crèches, kindergartens according to the capacity of each locality. Expand primary education to be able to accept more children at the age of schooling from 63% (1990) to 80% (2000) while reducing class

repetition and school drop-outs. The anticipated outcome is to increase the rate of surviving students enrolling in grade 1 to grade 5 from 27% (1990) to 63% (2000). Expand and improve lower and upper secondary schools to be able to accept more students: first year lower secondary from 30% (1990) to 40% (2000) and upper secondary school from 12% (1990) to 17% (2000). Eradicate illiteracy among the population and the re-illiterates of 15 to 40 years old to increase the literacy rate from 60% (1990) to 80% (2000); provide training and upgrade the recent graduates of illiteracy class to primary level to reach 50% of the total number, and offer the general population necessary basic skills training. Encourage private sectors to establish more schools, particularly vocational training schools, and improve the management and monitoring system. Develop and train teachers to satisfy the requirements of the expansion of formal education, aiming to produce teachers equipped with good personality, good level of knowledge, and good moral values, who will be responsible toward their duties, strive to overcome all difficulties, enjoy their profession, and have affection for children; increase student per teacher ratio: primary school from 28:1 (1990) to 33:1 (2000); lower secondary school from 13:1 (1990) to 25:1 (2000); and upper secondary school from 12:1 (1990) to 25:1 (2000). Expand and reorganize vocational schools and tertiary facilities to conform with the actual capacity, and establish National University and Polytechnic colleges in each region of the country to supply labor force for socio-economic development. Steadily raise the quality of all levels of education, particularly the formal education that is the basic fundamental of the national education system. Though these education targets have been set relatively high, to date, education attainments quantitatively were very close to achievement in general. Qualitatively, a lot needs to meet the targets in the very near future year 2000. BASIC EDUCATION: 1. The Constitution and Definition of Basic Education With reference to Article 19 of the Lao PDR Constitution, on 19 July 1996, the Prime Minister issued the Decree of Order on Compulsory Primary Education in Lao PDR. Article 19 of the Lao PDR Constitution stated: The state emphasis the expansion of education in conjunction with the building of the new generation to be good citizens. The education, cultural and scientific activities are focus to raise the level of knowledge, patriotism, love of the people’s democracy, the spirit of solidarity between ethnic groups, the spirit of independent. Pursue compulsory primary education. The state permits private schools that follow the state curriculum. The

government and citizens jointly build schools of all level, to make the education system complete. Put emphasis on the expansion of education in ethnic minority areas. The state promotes the culture that is the beauteous heritage of the nation and the progressive culture of the world, eliminate all those actions that reflect unprogressive ideology and culture. Promote cultural, artistic legacies and mass media including mountainous areas. Preserve the nation’s historical heritage sites and assets. The following are the general principles stated in Chapter I of the decree: Article 1: Primary education is one of the levels integrated in general education with 5-year schooling system. It is the basic level of education that needs to be completed by all the Lao citizens. Article 2: All Lao citizens regardless of race, religion, sex, ethnicity, social and economic status residing in Lao PDR with the ages ranging from 6 years onwards by December of each academic year must receive primary education thoroughly and equally. Article 3: All pupils whose enrollment is stipulated in Article 2 must complete their schooling. If not they shall otherwise continue the schooling without dropping out or leaving school until the age of 14, except for those with physical and mental health problem and cannot continue their schooling even though sufficient care has already been provided. Article 4: Education services can be provided in the form of either public or private; however, the content must be ensured with the aim to develop children physically and mentally with high capability in comply with the curriculum designed by the Ministry of Education. Article 5: The Government and the people will join efforts to be responsible for education management and services in all public primary schools. The services in schools are free of charge. Presently, a high percentage of ethnic minority children do not attend school, and the illiteracy rate among ethnic minorities is very high. The quality of primary education is still relatively low, due to inadequate textbooks and the low-quality teacher training. There is a large proportion of untrained teachers in the teaching force. Enforcement of compulsory primary education alone will require more efforts and more flexible strategies. 1. Lao PDR Basic Education for All Programme. Based on the Framework for Action to Meet Basic Learning Needs adopted by the World Conference on Education for All: Meeting Basic Learning Needs (Jomtien, Thailand March 1990) the Ministry of Education and various sectors and concerned ministries formulated the Lao PDR Framework for Action Plans on Basic Education for All 1990-2000 and set up strategies, goals and objectives as follows: 1. EFA goals and targets

Primary Education. To increase the net enrolment of six-year-old children to 80 % and gradually reduce the attendance of over-aged children. To reduce the repetition and dropout rates and increase retention rate from 40% to 80%. To improve pupil performance by upgrading the quality of teaching and the teaching contents, and thus enable the student to gain knowledge and skills relevant to the needs of the community. Non-formal Education or Adult Education. To provide opportunities for people of all ethnic groups ages 1540 years who are illiterates or have relapsed into illiteracy to become literate, increase the number of literacy rate among this population age group from 60% in 1990 to 80% by the year 2000. To allow up to 50% of the new literates to continue in complementary education to acquire basic education and vocational skills that would enable them to contribute in the development of the communities. To raise the level and quality of education of the learners. 2. EFA Strategies and Plan of Action Strategies on raising the enrolment rate. Promote primary education in an extensive way in order to carry out the compulsory primary education principle. Recognize the need for primary school networks to create favorable condition for better student enrolment and access. Continue to undertake multi-grade teaching in the remote rural areas and the double-shift system in urban area where the density of the population is high so as to remedy the shortage of classrooms. Provide more incentives for teachers especially those who are assigned or who volunteers to teach in remote rural areas; and Establish and support the activities of Students’ Parent Associations and mass organizations which work for the promotion of basic education for all. Strategies for increasing retention Take measures to encourage regular class attendance of students Include programmes on sanitation, vaccinations and primary health care, nutrition… etc in the curriculum. Automatic promotion during the first three years of schooling and yearly revisions of examinations for promotion to the higher grades. Make schools more attractive and provide more basic teaching materials. Strategies for improving students’ performances

Improve the relevance of the curriculum, the textbooks, the teaching materials and make them more responsive to the real situation in the regions. Review the control principles of examinations used to ensure the regular and continuous learning of the students; and Improve the skills of teachers by organizing training programs for their upgrading and strengthening the supervision system both from outside (district) and inside the school cluster. Strategies for the use of educational resources more effectively: Setting up the school maps and organize the primary school clusters in order to share more effectively all available facilities (personnel and material); Improving the organization and school management system; Setting up the Education Management Information System (EMIS). Strategies on disabled groups Admit a certain number of disabled children in the formal mainstream general education schools, and request teachers to pay special attention to handicapped students. Set up an experimental class for handicaps who need special curriculum (e.g. for blind people); Identify and examine the mentally and physically handicapped children from the beginning in order to orient them properly; and Set up training for special education teachers. 3. EFA Decision making and management Strategy and Action Plan to achieve goals and targets were formulated during the National Meeting of the Senior Education Administrators in 1990 and officially published by the National Committee for EFA. The Action Plan were implemented by concerned departments and ministries from central to grass-roots level. Annually, the progress of the implementation of the EFA action plan were reported at the National Meeting of the Senior Education Administrators and the adjustment of the action plan were then formulated for the forth-coming year. The members of the NCEFA comprised of: The Minister of Education, Chairperson Department of General Education Department of Non-formal Education Department of Planning and Cooperation Department of Teacher Training The State Planning Committee The Ministry of Public Health The Ministry of Finance The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry The Ministry of Industry and Handicraft

The Lao Women’s Union The Federation of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Youth The main roles of the NCEFA were to determine the strategies and National Action Plan for EFA as guidelines, and main measures to be undertaken by the different parties concerned in accordance to their respective responsibilities. Coordinate with the different parties concerned in order to encourage, support and facilitate their action. Supervise, monitor and evaluate the annual progress in the implementation of the programme and projects.


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