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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Laos Records Decline in University Enrollment Across the Country

This Week

The National University of Laos (NUOL) is widely preferred by students seeking higher education across the country, but this year the enrollment number has been the lowest since 2018.

A recent report from the Ministry of Sports and Education highlights a striking difference between high school graduation and university enrollment numbers. While over 49,000 students successfully passed out from high schools across the country in 2023, fewer than 10,000 students managed to register and/or secure a place at a university.

Not only are there less students enrolling in university, enrollment numbers are at a four-year low according to a recent report. In 2020-2021, more than 9,000 students were enrolled in the National University of Laos, in Vientiane Capital but in 2023, only 6,688 students will attend an undergraduate program at the university, a drop of 26%.

The main reason for this crisis is the current economic situation of the country. The escalating cost of living, inflation, and the devaluation of the local currency has collectively impacted the higher education pursuits of students.

A World Bank report highlights the situation’s seriousness, revealing that nearly half of the affected families in Laos have decreased their expenditures on education and healthcare, as purchasing power has lessened.

On the other hand, the proliferation of broadband and online platforms has facilitated easier access to scholarships and educational opportunities abroad, which may have an impact on the low enrollment rate for this year as well.

The Laotian Times reached out to the Ministry of Education and Sports in Laos, along with the National University of Laos, to get more information on the matter and is waiting to hear back.

Laos has also seen an increase in school dropouts and the Lao government has outlined some measures to combat the worrying trend, with plans to expedite the enactment of an education law that will hold parents accountable for the completion of their children’s education. Provincial authorities and parent associations will also be roped in to ensure that this law is followed across the board.

Additionally, officials from the Ministry of Education will carry out assessments to ensure the quality of education being imparted, said Lao Prime Minister, Sonexay Siphadone.

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