A Lao education official has called into question the attainment of Lao PDR's 2015 education targets, according to state-run daily Vientiane Times Monday.
The unnamed official said that some areas in education were lagging behind, which might prevent the Ministry of Education and Sports from achieving its education related goals by 2015.
Laos has made steady progress in the education sector in recent years. Since 2011, primary school enrollment has increased from 94. 1 percent to 95.2 percent and the gender gap in enrollment has fallen from 7 percent to 2 percent.
According to figures from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), student survival rate has increased from 48 percent in 1992 to 70 percent in 2012. Despite gains in student retention Lao PDR still lags behind its neighbors and is well off the 2015 target.
According to the source, senior education officials will meet with development partners and donors here in capital Vientiane later this week to discuss matters relating to education reform. The official emphasized the need to remove barriers that prevent children, specifically girls from isolated or rural communities from staying in school.
The Ministry of Education and Sports agreed to education related goals in 2000 along with 160 other countries. Intended outcomes are the expansion of early childhood care and education, free and compulsory primary education, the promotion of life skills, increased adult literacy, gender equality and an increased quality of education in general.
Malnutrition during early childhood is a continued concern for the expansion of education in the country. Poverty in isolated communities may lead to a general lack of nutrition which in turn impairs brain development as well as a child's ability to learn.
The expansion of secondary education is also high on the agenda as is the improvement of literacy rates amongst women. Disparity between the quality of education for rural and urban areas is also of concern.
Development partners, policy makers and donors have been encouraged to show strong leadership and commitment towards putting education at the heart of the developmental agenda.