Vientiane will turn a number of state owned primary schools which face a shortage of students into nursery and kindergarten schools, as one of the measures to keep the educational institutes running.
The capital's Education and Sport Department Director, Mr Somphou Keopanya told local media last week that many parents now send their children to study at private primary schools, leaving a number of state owned schools empty.
Vientiane authorities have agreed with the idea to turn the empty primary schools into nursery and kindergarten schools after learning out that demand for baby care is rising in the capital as mothers now have to work and have no time to take care of their babies at home as in the past, he said.
He said that the capital authorities had learned that demand for nursery and kindergarten schools had seen rapid growth over the past several years, creating possibilities for them to change the role and duty of the empty state owned primary schools.
Capital authorities were discussing the possibility of allowing the transformed nursery and kindergarten schools to be run as businesses to ensure their sustainability amid rising competition from the primary sector, Mr Somphou explained.
However, the state owned nursery and kindergarten schools would offer lower service fees compared to the privately owned schools, so as parents with low incomes will find the school service fees affordable, he said.
Some of the primary schools will also be merged if they face shortages of students while the empty schools will be turned into nursery and kindergarten schools.
Other educational officials said that the primary school mergers will strengthen their management as they will receive larger administration budgets because the government now allocates budgets to schools depending on number of students they receive.
They also said that one of the main causes that state owned primary schools are unattractive among parents is the low standards of tuition. In comparison, the private schools have a large amount of money to invest in their educational facilities and to improve teaching so as they can attract more student numbers.
Minister of Education and Sport, Dr Phankham Viphavanh told a national conference last month that the ministry would encourage the establishment of kindergarten schools nationwide as one of the measures to improve the educational system.
He said that the kindergarten schools would help make the students ready to continue their primary school lives and further their education at a higher level.
The minister also said that the ministry would expand school meal projects as part of efforts to attract the students to study at primary schools, one of the main conditions to ensure that most Lao children finish compulsory education.
Source: Vientiane Times