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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Laos to Pay Volunteer Teachers in Bid to Resolve Teacher Shortage

This Week

In a move to alleviate a severe teacher shortage in rural areas, the government of Laos is to provide equal pay for volunteer teachers and civil servants.
Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone issued a new Resolution on 17 July ensuring that volunteer teachers would receive the same remuneration and overtime pay as government teachers.

They are to be placed on the same wage scale as civil servants based on their educational qualifications. This move is expected to alleviate the hardships faced by many volunteer teachers and foster a more supportive environment for educators across the country.

Lawmakers spent significant time discussing the alarming teacher shortage during a recent National Assembly session, where representatives from various provinces emphasized the need to hire more state employees and allocate sufficient budgets to pay teacher salaries.

The shortage had been most acutely felt at rural primary schools, where volunteer teachers had stepped in to fill the void. Regrettably, many of these dedicated educators left their positions upon learning they would not be able to transition into paid roles.

In response to these pressing concerns, Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone outlined a comprehensive plan aimed at increasing the number of qualified teachers in underserved areas. The government’s strategy involves increasing the quota of allocated teachers and postponing the retirement of experienced educators.

Meanwhile, inclusive teaching methods and vocational training will be encouraged to reduce the student dropout rate in both rural and urban areas. Moreover, schools lacking instructors will be transformed into private schools, boosting early childhood education opportunities.

While the government’s plans represent a positive and promising step towards enhancing education access for all students, the success of these measures hinges on close monitoring and diligent implementation. Budget constraints have resulted in reduced civil servant positions over the years, further exacerbating the teacher shortage.

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