About half of all public and private colleges around the country are likely to meet the standards required by the Ministry of Education and Sports and will be allowed to resume their degree courses, although about 80 are yet to be assessed.
The ministry is expected to complete its review of the more than 100 institutions by the end of the year after it suspended their degree courses for this academic year.
The colleges that meet the standards set by the ministry will be able to re-open their courses in the 2014-2015 academic year, while those that don’t may not be able to offer degree programmes until they are judged to have improved.
The standards cover: vision, mission and goals; governance and management; human resource development; curriculum; teaching-learning effectiveness; students and support services, environment and learning resources; management information systems; quality assurance; scientific research and consultancy services.
Each standard includes a number of indicators against which the review determines whether or not the standard has been met.
This information was revealed by the ministry’s Director of Quality Assurance, Mr Vanxay Noraseng, when he attended a training course on ‘Minimum Standards of Higher Education Institutions’ held yesterday in Vientiane.
“Improving the standards and quality of these institutions is part of the ministry’s national education reform initiative, encouraging them to meet the current standards of the Asean region,” he said.
Mr Vanxay told Vientiane Times yesterday that, whilst they had 10 standards and 50 indicators they expected the institutions to achieve, they were prepared to tolerate minor failings provided at least seven standards and 35 indicators were fully satisfied.
“The selection and recruitment, allocation, retention and continuous professional development of teaching and support staff are of paramount importance to every higher education institution,” Mr Vanxay said.
The key responsibility of the teaching staff is to achieve the best possible results from the academic programme being offered.
To facilitate success in this responsibility, Mr Vanxay said the teaching staff must have appropriate qualifications, ethics, relevant knowledge and capacity, a sense of accountability as a teacher and, preferably, teaching experience.
One example is that each institution should have on its teaching staff at least one person with a PhD, six holders of master’s degrees and three people with bachelor’s degrees.
In addition, the curriculum should have been created with the expectation of producing graduates who are able to meet the demands of a rapidly developing nation.
Each institution must be located in an environment conducive to education with open areas for sports, arts, relaxation and other activities. The institution should be located far way from entertainment venues, noise and other distractions.
Mr Vanxay said he strongly believed that if colleges meet these standards they will be able to add to the country’s human resources with well qualified and knowledgeable graduates.
The training course was also attended by the ministry’s Director General of the Higher Education Department Dr Phonphet Boupha, President of the Association of Private Education Dr Somphet Rattanasim, and representatives of other institutions in Vientiane.
By Phaisythong Chandara
(Latest Update August 23, 2013)