The level of education in Laos is low and the illiteracy is relatively high. Partly this is due to lingering problems after the civil war of 1954–1973, which hit the education sector hard.
Poor communication in mountainous sparsely populated areas also means that far from all children can go to school and many are also needed as workers at home. Another reason for the low level of education is that teaching takes place in the majority language lao, which not all children master. There is also a shortage of teachers.
- COUNTRYAAH: Country facts of Laos, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.
The five-year compulsory school is compulsory from the age of six. Almost all children start school, but there are many drop-outs. The tuition is free of charge, but the students themselves have to pay for school uniforms and textbooks. After compulsory school, two voluntary supplementary stages follow every three years. More than half of the students go on to these stages.
Since 1990, there are a few privately owned primary schools, but these are tightly controlled by the state.
Higher education is poorly developed. There are a few universities, the main one being Laos National University in Vientiane, founded in 1995. In addition, there are a number of higher education institutions, such as technical colleges. Only a small proportion of the Laotians receive higher education.
- Topmbadirectory: Offers information about politics, geography, and known people in Laos.
FACTS – EDUCATION
Proportion of children starting primary school
93.3 percent (2017)
Number of pupils per teacher in primary school
Reading and writing skills
84.7 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP
12.2 percent (2014)
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of the state budget
12.2 percent (2014)
Growing market for ivory
Nature conservation activists warn that Laos has become the world’s fastest growing market for ivory trade and that it undermines international efforts to put an end to illegal trade.