The head of a major private education body has urged parents not to worry about options for their children’s higher education despite the recent suspension of bachelor’s degrees at private colleges.
Under a Ministry of Education and Sports move to improve the quality of tertiary education, bachelor’s degrees at private colleges across the country have been suspended until a government review can be undertaken.
Parents have raised concerns that unless their child is accepted into one of the country’s five main public universities, they would not be able to obtain worthwhile qualifications or degrees.
However, the President of the Association of Private Education, Dr Somphet Rattanasim, said students could still enroll in higher diploma courses at any of the private colleges and institutions and, after the first one or two years, it was likely they could transfer back to bachelor’s courses.
Dr Somphet said parents could still have confidence in private education and the review would only strengthen the sector, and qualifications received by students would still be sought after by potential employers.
Many parents remain apprehensive about spending money on their children’s education while the future of some colleges hangs in the balance.
Dr Somphet recommended parents send their children to the country’s more reputable colleges and institutions.
“There are many colleges in Laos, but it is unclear yet as to how many will pass the review,” he said.
The suspension of bachelor’s degrees in private colleges is part of the Ministry of Education and Sport’s education reform initiative, and aims to encourage private colleges to meet the standards set by the ministry.
The review on colleges will run until 2015 and those that pass will be allowed to offer bachelor’s degrees once again.
“However, many could apply to the ministry to recommence their degree courses before they are approved,” Dr Somphet said.
While the suspension has affected the number of students applying to private colleges, many who fail to pass university entrance exams are still expected to take the private option.
After passing an entrance exam, more than 10,000 students out of the 44,490 who passed their final secondary school exams this year will be accepted into bachelor’s courses at the five public universities, according to a report by the ministry’s Planning Department.
The National University of Laos alone will take on 6,694 students, with the most successful students accepted into their faculty of choice and lower-performing applicants encouraged to switch to other subject areas.
S ouphanouvong University in Luang Prabang province will enroll 1,297 students and Savannakhet University will accept 1,125, while Champassak University will take on 834 and the University of Health Sciences will accept 208.
By Phaisythong Chandara
(Latest Update August 22, 2013)