Authorities in Vientiane Capital have admitted that many schools and students face difficulties accessing or using online learning facilities.
KPL reports that low internet penetration and budget constraints have made the transition to online education difficult for public schools in Vientiane Capital.
Deputy Director of the Vientiane Capital Department of Education and Sports, Mr. Somphone Sonedara, says authorities were unable to reopen schools with in-person classrooms due to the community spread of Covid-19, with online learning commencing at the beginning of the new academic year.
“While teachers were well prepared for the new academic year, many schools face difficulties with online learning systems due to an insufficient budget for supporting the infrastructure required,” said Deputy Director Somphone.
“The greatest obstacle faced by the teachers as well as students is low internet penetration in some parts of the capital, as well as insufficient education equipment, with many students unable to afford smartphones or laptops,” said Mr. Somphone Sonedara.
Because of these issues, the quality of online learning may be below the standard of in-person learning, according to the Department of Education.
“Authorities are currently collecting data on how online learning is being implemented in Vientiane Capital and will try to find a better long-term solution,” Mr. Somphone added.
Private schools have been less affected by the transition to online learning, with teachers and students making use of online conferencing platforms such as Zoom.
The Lao Ministry of Education and Sports scheduled the reopening of schools online across the country, including Vientiane Capital on 6 September.
Teachers and employees of general education institutions and students are able to access the “Edu-Sport TV online” channel via Facebook and ESTV’s LaoSAT channel.