Lao higher education turns 27 years old. With a quiet celebration, the National University of Laos (NUOL) marks another milestone.
Founded in 1996 as a gathering of just a few departments brought in from other existing colleges, over the past three decades NUOL has grown exponentially, not only in dimensions but also in quality education. Today, the university boasts 5 campuses and 13 faculties.
Although NUOL has often been criticized for limited resources and international competitiveness challenges, recent investments in new faculties and training facilities have accelerated the university’s progress.
“There are now more buildings, and various learning tools available both online and offline,” Chenoury Khomaivang said, a former Commerce-major student from the Faculty of Economics and Business Management.
Chenoury said she learned a lot of things over the past 4 years of her life at NUOL and had the opportunity to join several extracurricular activities, which helped her to gain both soft skills and hard skills.
NUOL’s global engagement has flourished over the years, establishing enduring partnerships with universities worldwide, including Hungary, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, Korea, Switzerland, France, Portugal, and Italy. Through scholarships and government funding, Lao students can now pursue double degrees and study abroad.
“My experience at the National University of Laos was, overall, a very positive one. I gained a great deal of knowledge that has made it possible for me to progress toward my professional goals,” said Phouthong Souniphone, a recent graduate in English.
However, students like Phouthong and Somnuek Chanthamith, a computer engineering student, believe there is room for improvement.
Phouthong emphasized the need for an “up-to-date” educational system, urging the university to adopt innovative teaching methods and offer more scholarships to underprivileged students.
“I want them to develop innovative methods of teaching. For instance, teaching subjects that are in high demand in society so that every student has something to offer to the country after graduation,” said Phouthong.
Somnuek also highlighted the importance of a modernized educational infrastructure, including updated laboratories and libraries, and suggested periodic updates to class materials to keep pace with evolving trends in various fields.
“As someone majoring in computer science, I would like to see a more modern educational system, especially laboratories and libraries. They should be more suitable for students,” said Somnuek. “I also would like them to update class materials every four years. I hope they will include a course about finance in every major, as it is essential to our daily lives.”
As NUOL reflects on its 27-year journey, the voices of its students echo a collective desire for continuous improvement and innovation of higher education in Laos.