By: Vientiane Times, February 9, 2016
Business administration and law are the most popular subjects chosen by Lao students to further their studies abroad, according to the Ministry of Education and Sports.
The ministry unveiled its latest survey in regards to which subjects Lao students chose to study overseas, through both scholarships and their own funding.
The survey collected the data between 2011 and 2015 and found that 23 percent of the total number of Lao students studying abroad chose to study business administration and/or law.
This was followed by social science and information and communication while health and social welfare represented 10 percent of the total figure.
Education and teacher training, along with science, production, construction and art represented about 9 percent of the total figure.
Subjects with the smallest number of students studying abroad included services; transport and defence which made up only 1 percent of the total figure while agriculture, forestry and fisheries and veterinary medicine represented only 3 percent of the figure.
Laos will continue to face challenges in relation to having more skilled people in some sectors but lacking skilled human resources in other sectors.
A senior official from the Ministry of Education and Sports' Student Affairs Department Mr Bounxom Khemmanyvanh told Vientiane Times last week that “Our main challenge is that we produce human resources based on scholarships given by foreign countries and other international organisations.”
“We have not yet produced human resources based on the development needs of our country because we have yet to invest our capital in sending students to study overseas in sectors we need.”
Mr Bounxom said the sectors which require development and skilled resources include engineering, technology, agriculture and railways.
Every year, Lao people win scholarships to study bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees as well as attend training abroad to further sharpen their knowledge and skills.
In 2015, some 5,260 students went to study and attend training in 25 countries abroad, of which 2,151were women.
Mr Bounxom was unable to confirm the issue in regards to where students work after their graduation. “What I know is that many students work with the government while some others work with international organisations or launch their own businesses,” he said.
“We are developing a programme to identify which jobs students intend to pursue after graduation abroad and see whether they work in the areas they studied or in other areas.”
There are five forms of scholarship programmes given to Lao students to study abroad. The first are those given in the form of government cooperation projects between Laos and foreign countries.
The second are those given through the support of international organisations. The third are those offered through bilateral cooperation between government sectors of Laos and foreign countries.
Meanwhile the fourth includes scholarships given by education foundations and the fifth group includes those who fund their own studies abroad.