February 24, 2018

Study abroad attractive as degree candidates cross borders

By:  Vientiane Times, February 19, 2018

The number of Lao students and officials studying outside the country is on the rise.

In 2017, more than 6,100 students studied in foreign countries.  Some 1,023 people received government scholarships, 2,181 people received exchange scholarships, and 1,891 people financed their own tuition.

The figures reveal the number of candidates for a bachelor’s degree from institutions abroad increased from 1,496 people in 2016 to 1,725 in 2017.

Outside their homeland, some 1,032 candidates undertook courses and research toward master’s degrees in 2016 and some 1,066 people in 2017.

PhD research abroad attracted some 124 candidates in 2016 and some 97 in 2017.

According to a report from the Student Affairs Department, Ministry of Education and Sports, most students studied towards degrees in business management, administration and finance, covering 30 percent of all students in 2015 and 36 percent in 2016.

Lao students have taken courses in 29 countries, supported by various government-funded scholarships, exchange scholarships, self-finance or via state and private sector employers.

More than 5,000 people studied in foreign countries in 2016. Some 940 people received government scholarships, 1,357 people financed their own study abroad and 2,745 people received scholarships funded by state and private sectors.

The remainder was supported by several sectors.

More Lao nationals are studying in other countries and there have been several countries generously providing scholarships to students in Laos year-on-year.

In other cases, families pay for their children to study overseas. More students are self-financed, the Student Affairs Department said.

Over past three years, the average number of Lao students and officials who studied in foreign countries was some 5,000 people per year.

A majority of students are interested in business management, administration and finance, and their numbers are expected to increase.

The Ministry of Education and Sports has been encouraging students seeking to study overseas to take courses in science, engineering, information and communications technology (ICT), and agriculture so that these areas can be strengthened in pursuit of national social and economic development.

According to an official report, some 507 took courses in engineering, construction and production in 2015, while 584 people registered for these subjects in 2016.

The number of students enrolling in ICT and agriculture courses has decreased in recent years.

ICT students decreased from 381 in 2015 to 218 in 2016, while 104 students took courses in agriculture and veterinary studies in 2015 and 97 in 2016.

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