Lao authorities say they need more foreign assistance and about 20.6 million dollars for the next two year to implement their plan to add one more scholastic year to their school system, and to develop more human resources to meet teacher shortages.
Education officials in Vientiane say the teacher shortage problem is a chronic and very serious one, because the number of positions alloted by the government for each year is less than half the number of teachers needed. They say more than 7,000 new teachers are needed each year to replace retirees and those who left for better pay in the private sector, but the government approves only some 2,000 to 3,000 positions because of budget constraints.
The Lao government has said it will add another year to middle school starting in 2010, to bring Laos school sytem to par with its ASEAN fellow members, which means it will need more schools, classrooms, and teachers to accommodate the increased numbers of students. It plans to get the 20.6 million dollars needed through a loan from the Asian Development Bank.
Listen to our Laos Today report for more details.